The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

School Columnists

May 17, 2012

Retiring educator has passion for written word

AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP —  When a graduate of Grand River Academy breezes through college writing, or finds himself using words like “nefarious” or “maladroit” in conversation, they are very likely to cite Robert Archer for the exposure to those words. And with Mr. Archer’s retirement at the end of this year, a long standing chapter will close. The face of GRA is changing.

The head of the English Department, Robert Archer has enlightened Grand River Academy students for the past 22 years. However, he has been teaching for even longer. Before coming to the academy, Mr. Archer taught English, Advance Placement American history and biology at the Leysin American School in Switzerland; and English at the Alexandria County Day School in Virginia. With all of his knowledge and teaching experience, his value to the community is evident to everyone with whom he interacts.

“I have many wonderful and fun stories to share about Bob Archer,” said Allen Fritz, GRA 1988 alumnus, “but funny stories aside, he always dedicated himself to his work and challenged his students to expand their intellect.”

Mr. Archer and his wife Diane live in a beautifully restored century home in Jefferson that they acquired after they moved here from Alexandria, Va. The home was recently featured in the premier copy of Ashtabula Living. 

At the academy, Mr. Archer has taught history and American literature. He also coached the cross country team and was the adviser to several championship Academic Challenge teams. Mr. Archer is clearly passionate about his job, and it shows in his stories about the graduates who still keep in touch with him.

“My favorite part of this job is knowing that by educating young men, I am turning their lives around,” he said.

Mr. Archer loves his job because he can educate and prepare young men for college. Respectively, GRA students love Mr. Archer because he prepares them so well.

Graduating senior Tim Livolsi may well have spoken for any student who has ever studied under Mr. Archer when he said the following: “Mr. Archer taught me the principles of grammar and writing at a more sophisticated level. He molded me into a better writer than ever before. I’ve never had an English teacher as brilliant as Mr. Archer, and I hope that my professors in college will push me to the same intellectual limits.”

“Bob Archer has been a wonderful source of inspiration to me,” said fellow GRA English teacher, Sarah Mundie Carroll. “His suggestions on course content and presentation were invaluable when I was a beginning teacher, and I will always be grateful for his help. I've never met a person with a deeper well of knowledge for literature.”

Several other academy teachers who are nearing retirement have dedicated their entire careers to education. Larry Wilson, Robert Archer, Jed Trombley and headmaster Randy Blum have a combined 131 years of working at the academy; and all of them have made tremendous contributions to the institution.

Despite Mr. Archer’s retirement, we may not have seen the end of his passion for the written word. He has a fascination with anything involving railroads, even publishing a book in 1977 called “Lehigh Valley Railroad: The Route of the Black Diamond.”

“I’ve been exploring some old railroad stations. I believe I have another book in me.” he said with a smile.

We all look forward to it, Mr. Archer.

 

1
Text Only
School Columnists
  • Edgewood High School Edgewood prepares for new academy-style classes

    As April rolls around, Edgewood is putting on more fantastic events.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Geneva High School GHS stuents share talents, tackle tough issues

    Geneva’s got talent! Need proof of that? The ninth annual Geneva High School Talent Show will be held at 7 p.m. April 22 in the high school auditorium. Anonymous judges in the audience will choose first, second, and third places from the solo and group acts, and the audience will get to choose their favorite. All winners will receive a prize.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand Valley High School Project Princess makes prom a possibility

    As prom season approaches, many teenage girls are in the pursuit of finding the perfect dress. However, sometimes the “perfect dress” can have an overwhelming price tag.

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Conneaut High School Conneaut celebrates the magic of Disney

    Before Conneaut students’ spring break, the high school choir and band members opened up the wonderful world of Disney to their audience.

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Jefferson Area High School JAHS band earns superior score at district contest

    After months of hard work, preparation and practice, the Jefferson Area High School Symphonic Band achieved their goal – the honor of receiving a Superior score of “I” at district contest which was held March 14 at Howland High School. Not only did the band receive a composite score of I, but they received a I from each of the four judges at contest. The phenomenal feat of receiving straight ones at contest has not occurred in at least three decades according to the available files at JHS, which date back to 1984.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand River Academy Ski trip makes the most of hard winter

    This winter has been hard. It's been hard on the roads and residents who have had to stay indoors.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lakeside High School Tournaments boost school-spirit

    The competitive nature of the Lakeside High School community is alive and well this spring, with the excitement of the annual class tournaments. The two-day event which took place March 27 and 28, pits grade levels against one another in a healthy battle for pride and bragging rights. These activities have been a tradition at the school since its inception in 2007, and even find their roots at Harbor High School long before. Planned and orchestrated by the Student Council, the tournaments are a definite way to boost morale throughout the school community.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pymatuning Valley High School PVHS making a difference

    Many obstacles appear every day in life, and Pymatuning Valley students are volunteering much time in order to help ease the burdens of others. Throughout the month of March and continuing Pymatuning Valley students are playing an active role in fund raising for local families. This has already taken place through a benefit dinner, Blackout Dance and Middle School Spirit Week. PV students are gearing up for the PV Laker Mini Relay For Life and the annual Ride 4 thEm event.

    March 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • A-Tech A-Tech student from Hungary preparing to become U.S. citizen

    Melinda Lastyak is a senior in the graphic communications program at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus and a former student of Jefferson Area Local Schools. What makes her interesting is that she is actually an immigrant from Hungary. Lastyak moved with her mother to the United States in 2008. She was born and raised in downtown Budapest.

    March 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • St. John School St. John drama club to stage 'Bye Bye Birdie'

    It has been a big year for St. John’s drama club, from a sold out play last spring, to new curtains and now preparing for their quickly approaching musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.”

    March 27, 2014 2 Photos

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video