Tyson Thompson ’03 chose Shenandoah University when he was recruited to be a member of the men’s basketball team. He also liked the small school atmosphere on campus and the university’s student-to-teacher ratio. Thompson’s fondest memories of Shenandoah are of his time on the men’s basketball team and building lifelong friendships with his teammates.
In 2003, Thompson graduated from Shenandoah with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and sports medicine/exercise science. This was a huge accomplishment for him and something he will always cherish, because he is the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Thompson is a physical education (PE) teacher at A.R. Ware Elementary School in Staunton, Virginia. He says it’s the most fun job he has ever had, and it is really rewarding to him when he sees how excited his students get when they see him in the stands at their sporting events. Thompson has worked for Staunton City Schools for six years. Prior to becoming a PE teacher, he was an instructional assistant in a classroom for emotionally disturbed students at the middle school level. In this position, Thompson helped transition students from the alternative school setting back to the public school setting. The most rewarding part about this job for him was watching students go from struggling, to making it through a half day of school, to being able to learn and finish a full day of classes.
Thompson believes his Shenandoah education not only helped him in his career, but also in his life. “So much is predicated on who you know and the connections that you make,” said Thompson. “Those connections are what helped me, and to this day I have more connections than I can count that are just a phone call or text away – connections that I’ve made from attending Shenandoah University and living in the Winchester community.”
Thompson’s advice to students is: “In the teaching profession you truly need to be in it for your students. You have to be genuine with them, because the relationship you build with the students will influence how they work. If a student truly feels that you’re invested in them, that you care and you ultimately want what’s best for them, then they might not always like you, but they will respect you, and I feel that they’d give you nothing but their best.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs