A+ teacher: Going above the rim and beyond the court

This teacher, mentor and coach helps students strive to be successful in and out of the classroom.

PEORIA, Ariz. - Will Roberts came to Arizona after his nephew's father passed away. He stepped up when he was most needed -- a trend that didn't end there. 

What started as an assistant coach job soon changed when Principal Paul Bower came into the school. 

"One of the first things that we did was to find a way to hire this amazing basketball coach that was changing the lives of his players, not just on the court but these boys were learning to become men," said Bower, "So we went through the certification process and got him on board to run our JAG Program, and for the past 6 years it's been amazing."

JAG stands for Jobs for Arizona Graduates. That's exactly what "Coach Will" works on day in and day out with his students. 

"I didn't plan to be a teacher. I started coaching and helping kids and it felt like it was a natural transition into teaching," said Roberts.

Roberts calls working with his students "addicting."

"If a student is able to allow a piece of your life to get them to thrust forward," said Roberts, "and go off and become successful from it, and find themselves, find their way and their confidence, be motivated by somebody as flawed as I am, it’s addicting."

The situations and the circumstances some of these kids go through would make you question many things, those are the same things Roberts helps his students with on a daily basis.

"I had a student that was upset this morning and had an attitude, and I told her, 'let's be adults and deal with this later,'" Roberts said. "And my student opened her eyes. She didn't know she had that option. She felt like she needed to be aggressive then and there...and that's what I love doing here, teaching them about the better ways."

On the basketball court, not only does he coaches kids to score, pass and work as a team, he also helps them with their resumes and making contacts, and teaches them to love and respect themselves at home, work and at school.

Many of his former students contact him to this day and he makes himself available to them.

These are just a few of the reasons Roberts is this weeks' A+ Teacher from Peoria High School. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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