Gwen Cash compares history to soap operas


Troylon Griffin II, Sports Editor

For over thirty years, Gwen Cash has worked at Clear Creek as a regular and the AP US history teacher. She teaches because she enjoys “imparting knowledge to young people about the history of our country” as well as for the personal interactions with students that keep her young.

“Teaching is fun because I get to decide how my day is going to be like.” Mrs. Cash said. “I think history is fascinating. History is like a story and each chapter has all the characters and actors and how they’re connected. So I tell my students to think of history as a soap opera.”

Cash’s love of history started in eighth grade. She recalled how she had an amazing history teacher who made history “come alive.” Every summer, her mother would make her and her siblings read a certain number of books based on their age. Most of her days in the summer were spent going down to the public library.

“I started reading historical books in the summer and I fell in love with it.” In college, she took quite a few World History classes, but was more concerned with the country that she came from. She received her degree in American History and began her teaching at Clear Creek High School. Despite only being a little bit older than the seniors, Cash was a firm teacher from the very beginning. “At first they didn’t know how to react,” she said. “But they didn’t have a problem because I treated them all equally.” Cash admitted it was hard the first few days, especially considering she did not even have an actual classroom. She had to walk around the school with her work and papers in a package. At the time, Creek had different sections based on the subjects being taught.

“As I look back, at it now, it was good because I came back. I had many job

offers but I stayed.” Cash said. “I think
I grew up with my students. I started with freshmen and by the time I got to seniors, they had matured and so had I.”

Cash, of course, has gained her recognition by doing what she feels she does best: teaching United States History. She revealed that she does indeed consider herself to be a good teacher when she was asked.

“Of course I do,” she said. “If I don’t think I’m a good teacher, why would anyone else?”

Cash feels that people should take the course because of how outstanding she feels it is. She notes that the class is indeed challenging. “Junior year is the year that separates the real top ten percent from the pretenders.” Mrs. Cash said. She told of how in her class, there is homework every night as it is the only way to truly embed the information into the students’ head for the AP test. Even on the first day the students are told they must read the first chapter of the textbook and that they have a quiz. She knows students don’t like all the work but she says that when they get their AP results in July, they realize it was all worth it.

“My job is to educate, the student’s job is to complain,” she said. “The work is worth it. Would you want to have a surgeon operate on you who has not done his prep work for his classes? You get out of America what you put in. you can prepare for college in high school by taking the correct course or you can attempt to learn on the fly in college.”

Ultimately, the students end up finishing the textbook in April and review for the rest of the month and into May. The students also spend the tear analyzing primary sources that will help them make historical connections. With Mrs. Cash having ninety percent of her students pass the AP test and having five stars out of five on, it seems Mrs. Cash’s methods are certainly working.

Since her coming to Creek, Cash has experienced many positive memories and highlights during her thirty plus years at Creek. One of these highlights included how Creek was rebuilt in 2007.

“That was fun to come back into a rebuilt school.” Mrs. Cash said. “But to me every year is great. I bring my joy with me so I enjoy everyday.”

She also recalled how she had a “certain birthday” in which her brother decided to cut George Washington’s face out of a one-dollar bill. He then put a picture of her in the place of the picture and made thousands of copies. After getting permission from Creek’s principal, he distributed the dollars to nearly all the students. All day at Creek, students came to her saying happy birthday, even students that she didn’t even have and never did have

In 2010, Mrs. Cash received the award for US History Teacher of the year. Since then, Mrs. Cash has continued to teach her students for thirty plus years, giving students insight and interest into the history of our country