Don Young definitely has a passion for education. He was the first in his family of six brothers and sisters to attend college and is still one of only two of them to graduate with a college degree.
Young followed up his undergraduate degree in elementary education with a master’s degree in education in 2010 from Vitterbo University. In order to complete his degree, Young spent many weekends sitting in a classroom, although this time he was a student instead of a teacher.
After starting his teaching career in Illinois, Young moved to Iowa and joined the Ankeny School District. He taught elementary at both Terrace Elementary and Crocker Elementary. Three years ago, Young moved into his current role teaching sixth grade social studies and seventh grade American history at Prairie Ridge Middle School. The position was created as a result of the Ankeny split.
The opportunity to teach history appealed to Young.
“I have always liked history,” Young says. “I have a passion for it. I think it makes it more exciting for me to bring that to the kids.”
Students in Young’s Prairie Ridge classes learn everything from ancient cultures up to the Civil War. Getting students to have an appreciation for history is a matter of making it relevant for the students, according to Young.
“I try to make it relevant to them,” he says. “When we are talking about a particular situation I try and relate it to Sponge Bob or something like that.”
Young’s role as an educator goes beyond the four walls of his classroom. He also serves on the Ankeny Community Education Advisory Council and on the district’s Bullying Task Force. When not at school he enjoys spending time traveling with his wife and twins, Maddie and Trevor.