Answering the call

Elton teacher earns A+PEL honor
Thursday, November 8, 2018

ELTON - Teaching classroom lessons is not the only purpose educators have in life. Many go above and beyond when it comes to not only children, but their community as well.

One such person has received a prestigious award for all she does. Elton High School (EHS) teacher Amy Gobert has earned the title of Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) Volunteer of the Year.

Gobert has been teaching since 1999, her career beginning at Jennings High School. She is currently an English teacher at EHS.

Gobert was nominated by EHS Principal John Gay and Assistant Principal Debbie Bruchhaus for her dedication to her students not only in the classroom, but whenever they need additional support or a listening ear.

“Many of our students come from troubled situations,” said Gay. “She makes it her mission to help them when they are depressed, going through hard times or dealing with the stresses of being a teenager. This caring extends past school time.”

Gobert did not always dream of becoming a teacher. Her own mother made her realize that she was meant to become

“My mother insisted year after year and through her persistence and a lot of praying, I knew I had to become a teacher,” she said. “This is the job I feel God has called me to do.”

After dealing with many of the same issues that her students deal with today, Gobert learned the importance of having someone in your corner who is understanding and supportive.

“Because of the support system that I had at home, church and school, I was able to understand that the door of opportunity was open wide and all I needed to do was be willing to do the work I needed to do to step through it,” she said.

Gobert said she does her best to help her students realize what she learned herself.

“Education was the key for overcoming my own obstacles and can be for my students as well,” she said.

Gobert graduated from EHS in 1991 and went on to receive an bachelor’s degree in business administration. Later she obtained an English certification and then her master’s in principalship and supervision from McNeese State University.

Gobert enjoys the relationships she has built with her students, their families and her fellow colleagues. She said she is compassionate about the needs of others and realizes that she gets more from the students if they understand she is there to support them.

“If students know that I legitimately care about them, they will also understand that the work I am asking them to do is important and has value,” said Gobert. “As a result, we work hard and celebrate those successes, no matter how little they may seem.”

Gobert said it is important to her for her students to know that she is their biggest cheerleader and that she wants to see them be successful.

Gobert said she appreciates being nominated for the award. She feels it highlights valuable assets that individuals possess.

“The award recognizes in us the things that make God smile, things like compassion, love and sacrifice,” she said.

She extends her support to her colleagues as well.

“We share each other’s triumphs and roadblocks both personally and professionally and never miss a chance to help each other, both inside and outside of the classroom,” she said.

Gobert is not only an award-winning educator, but she is also a mother and wife. She has been married to Morris Gobert for nearly 22 years. They have four children, Gabrielle, 20, Abbagail, 18, Isabella, 12, and Aaron, 8.

Gobert has been volunteering her services to students and her community for 18 years.

“She has literally saved the lives of students,” said Gay. “She mentors them, mothers them and listens to them in all aspects of their lives.”

She participates in various activities throughout the year. She tutors students at the Coushatta Tribe’s reservation, as well as former students who would like to pursue their Graduate Equivalent Diploma, college or other certifications. She provides ACT tutoring to those who may not have the financial means to afford assistance otherwise.

Last year, Gobert volunteered to help raise over $4,000 for EHS’ Safe and Sober Prom event by assisting with numerous fundraising efforts. She also helped parents organize games and gathered prizes for students to enjoy at the event.

Gobert supervises student workers at the monthly Coushatta Farmers Market and after school when they practice for club contests.

Gobert donates her time to provide transportation for and chaperone class trips for various high school club events and retreats and sometimes can be found in the concession stand at athletic events.

Gobert also gives her time to the community. She teaches Catholic confirmation classes to 11th-grade students, which includes attending and bringing students to events, organizing retreats, teaching weekly lessons, decorating the church for holidays and planning special events. She helps elementary-aged students prepare for their First Communion through music, ministry and play. During the summer, she presents a daily story and participates in hands-on activities for a vacation Bible school program. She is a lector and member of the St. Paul Catholic Church choir and is a member of the church’s fall bazaar planning committee.

Gay said Gobert is a vital part of helping students at EHS work through the battles they may encounter.

“When one of our students was killed in a car accident, Gobert was instrumental in helping the students deal with grief,” said Gay. “Her classroom became a place where students could talk about their grief and share their feelings.”

Gobert is rewarded on a daily basis by seeing her students carry a positive attitude, she said. She plays music as students enter her classroom.

“It is joyful to hear those young voices showing that they are glad to be in my classroom and ready to learn,” she said.

She said that teaching is a lifelong commitment that requires not only words but also actions.

“My kids deserve it and I am blessed beyond all measure that I get to do a job that I love,” she said. “More than anything my students are a daily reminder that good exists in the world, and even when things are bleak in society, our future is bright because the next