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.


Text Only
School Columnists
  • Grand River Academy reporter GRA graduates offered thousands of dollars in college scholarships

    With the class of 2014’s graduation on May 24, seniors at Grand River Academy celebrated a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Students from many different backgrounds have had a year full of college applications, standardized testing, and periods filled with anxious waiting for college and university acceptances. Some may have applied to as few as two schools, others applied to as many as 16. Ranges of colleges include small liberal arts schools to large state schools, highly ranked universities to community colleges. While students may choose different paths to reach their goals, all have the opportunity to begin that path by attending college.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lakeside High School reporters Lakeside fund-raiser for cancer research has personal impact on those who have loved ones with the disease

    Every color of the rainbow was seen at Lakeside High School this month. The first Lakeside Loop, “Color for Cancer” took place on May 9 in honor of many special causes. Students could be seen racing around the campus, covered in various shades of powdered paint. Each participant possessed a personal story regarding his decision to take part in the event.

    May 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Jefferson High School reporters Jefferson High School students join with elementary classes for Friendship Walk activities to teach healthy eating, fitness

    The second week of May marks Wellness Week for the elementary schools of Jefferson Area School District. For an entire week the elementary students put a special focus on eating healthy and getting active during the school day. The students participated in a plethora of events including walks to the high school football stadium, games and outdoor activities, and listening to speakers from the Ashtabula County Health Department, as well as a physical therapist, on nutrition and taking care of the body. To make this week even more fun, district nurse Peggy Savarese, along with the faculty of Jefferson high school and Jefferson elementary school worked together to plan an event called the Friendship Walk.

    May 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • A-Tech A-Tech students learn practical tips on managing their personal finances

    The Social Studies Department at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus held their annual “Personal Finance Week” May 5 through 9. The week is designed to give students real-world experience in finance including their credit reports and credit score, checking and savings accounts, investment accounts and retirement savings, purchasing an automobile and obtaining a loan, the advantages and disadvantages of renting and buying a home, and obtaining a mortgage loan.

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pymatuning Valley High School Academic Boosters host breakfast for PV honors students

    Principal Dan Jackson in accordance with the Pymatuning Valley Academic Boosters hosted an annual Principal’s Breakfast to honor high academic achievement. Qualifications include being on the honor roll for the first three nine weeks, which means students must have a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average. Students must also have at least a 95 percent attendance record along with maintaining a clean discipline record. Students who meet the requirements then receive an invitation for both themselves and their parents in the mail.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. John School St. John seniors enjoying final days of high school

    Senior year is such a bittersweet time in one’s life. It is a huge milestone as well as a great accomplishment. There are so many things going on. As the end of the year is rapidly coming to a close, it is finally becoming surreal. The last month at school at St. John is all about the seniors.

    May 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Geneva High School Save lives by donating blood at GHS drive

    Geneva High School is giving its students and the community a chance to make a difference by giving blood today. Every two seconds, someone in America needs a blood transfusion, and just one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Geneva High School’s blood drives have earned it second place out of the high schools in northern Ohio for donations. This year, adviser Jessica George hopes to finally beat Sandusky High School, which has been number one for the past 10 years.

    May 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edgewood Senior High School Edgewood introduces new STEM program

    Edgewood Senior High School conducted its first ever STEM Fest on Wednesday in the Edgewood cafeteria. This “science-fair” based activity was held to introduce the new academy program that will be in effect next year. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The science and math departments conducted projects and experiments to take part in the fest.

    May 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand Valley High School reporters State-mandated evaluations a new way for teachers to set goals, review their students' progress

    Among the several other new additions to the Grand Valley High School this year are the Student Learning Objectives, otherwise known as SLOs. Student Learning Objectives are state-mandated evaluations to determine the proficiency with which students learn the material of the course. Essentially, they are goals teachers set for their students, and at the end of the school year, they reflect how well each teacher accomplished these goals.

    May 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Conneaut High School reporters Conneaut National Honor Society members celebrate spring with trip to the 'windy city'

    On April 25 Conneaut High School National Honor Society students ventured to Chicago. The trip was organized by NHS adviser Emily Wacker. Students returned home early in the morning on April 28. Despite the students being exhausted from the trip, they enjoyed many unique activities. Those who were not afraid of heights rode the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier and saw a spectacular view of Chicago from high in the sky. The John Hancock Observatory also provided one of the best views of Chicago and its skyline. A boat ride on Lake Michigan was also a highlight of the tour.

    May 8, 2014 2 Photos

House Ads

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