It’s that time of year again!Projects created by seventh grade students attending Tri-Valley Middle School are now on display throughout the halls of the Museum from now until April 25. Projects on display feature a wide variety of topics including local favorites such as Steak n’ Shake, the Gamma Phi Circus, the Downtown Bloomington Fire of 1900, and more!
Since 1998, the Museum has hosted projects created by seventh grade students attending Tri-Valley Middle School every spring. Many of these student-created projects featuring topics related to McLean County and Illinois History will go on to compete at Illinois History Day in Springfield on May 5.
The students, however, do not do it alone. They are led by veteran teacher and history buff Mr. Robin Roberts. Mr. Roberts, who has been teaching at Tri-Valley Middle School since January, 1984, is retiring at the end of the this school year.
In his 33 year career at Tri-Valley Middle School, most of Mr. Roberts’s time has been spent teaching seventh grade social studies. He also instructed eighth and ninth grades and taught physical education during his first 10 years of teaching. In addition to the History Fair, he coordinates a school-wide Civil War Daze event held in early May each year, among other history related school events.Outside of the classroom, he served as an IHSA basketball official for 30 years, a football official for 20 years, and was inducted into the Bloomington-Normal Officials Association Hall of Fame.Mr. Roberts has also coached track and cross country his entire 33 year career at Tri-Valley Middle School.He is even a part-time school bus driver for the district.
Mr. Roberts has been recognized locally and statewide for his outstanding teaching skills and commitment to his students, having received two awards and chosen as a finalist for a third: Golden Apple Award Finalist (2008), Bloomington Wal-Mart Stores Teacher of the Year (2008), and Illinois State Historical Society Olive Foster Award for Teaching Excellence (2009). Outside of his active school career, Mr. Roberts has been involved with (and is a charter member of) the McLean County Diversity Project since its inception in 2001.
Mr. Roberts graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1979. He began substitute teaching at area schools soon after.In addition to teaching, he also ran fitness centers in Bloomington-Normal, Urbana, and East Peoria from 1980-1983. And just for fun, he qualified for and completed SEVEN Boston Marathons between 1980 and 1986! He and his wife Cindy have been married for 30 years.They have three children (Courtney, Madison, and Chad), and two grandchildren (Nevaeh & Brooks Wyatt).
The Museum would like to thank Mr. Roberts for all his hard work teaching our local students.We especially would like to thank him for his tireless efforts promoting local history and in getting his students involved and interested in local history too.Thank you Mr. Roberts!