Interviewed By: Katie Slanina
Thomas Stringfellow, “Mr. String” as his students know him by, a veteran teacher of seven years—four with them being at Cherokee, currently teaches AP Human Geography and is well-known throughout the halls of the Freshmen Academy. Students may often see him leaning on a lacrosse stick between classes as he smiles and greets students whether they have him for class or not. It is not an uncommon sight to see a small crowd around him. He is known for his encouragement as he is for teaching.
Although Mr. Stringfellow teaches AP Human Geography this year, he also has experience teaching Honors World Geography and a freshmen “US History Through Film” course.
In addition to academic courses, Mr. Stringfellow—or rather Coach Stringfellow—has coached football, both JV and Varsity. Mr. Stringfellow says, “I had to give it up [this year] due to an AP class schedule; however, I still run stats for football. I also coach track for the long jump and triple jump events.”
If it seems that his schedule could not fit in anything else, considering lesson planning, coaching, or following stats, Mr. Stringfellow also co-sponsors the Alpha Gamma service organization with Ms. Smith as WELL as sponsers Model UN.
When asked why did he choose the work he did, Mr. Stringfellow said, “I like what I do because of the students. If they are taking part in an extra-curricular activity, they are there because it is for something they enjoy and have fun with. No one forces them to do it, so they are there because of who they are and this is where you get to know the student on a personal level—know what drives or motivates them. It’s also where you start to see a lot of their personalities.”
Before CHS, Mr. Stringfellow taught three years at Creekland Middle School, but he simultaneously coached football at Cherokee, which created a travel challenge between schools. He had student taught at Cherokee, so knew the school well; when an opportunity was offered to teach at CHS, he took it.
“I was lucky enough to get a job here,” says Mr. Stringfellow.
One question we had to ask: At the end of every class period, Mr. Stringfellow closes with his signature phrase, “Make good choices!” Why this phrase?
“This goes back to student teaching here. I taught in the room next door to Ms. Smith and she taught several of the students who were also football players. She made the comment one day in class and it stuck. For many of the students I come into contact with, they will end up have Ms. Smith for a class during their junior or senior year, hopefully if they hear it enough it will sink in with them and when given the option of making a choice they choose the “good” one.”
We also asked if there was one other piece of advice he’d like to give students—what would it be?
Mr. Stringfellow said, “There is a huge world beyond Canton, GA. Go and experience it. Be the one in the picture not the one swiping up just looking at the picture.”
A very appropriate response for a geography teacher!
Thank you, Mr. Stringfellow, for giving us the opportunity to interview you. Who will be next?
Random Fact: Stringfellow’s favorite food is homemade chili