By Ani Eagan
Growing up in California, Robert Robillard originally thought he would go on to be a businessman, but after being taught by a few teachers that he really looked up to, he realized that he also wanted to be a teacher and have that effect on students as well.
Robillard has been teaching at NCS for 11 years, originally coming here when his wife got a job at VT. He’d taught at other places before, originally becoming a teacher because of the positive impact some of his teachers had on him when he was a student. In high school, he became part of the school newspaper and it became his favorite part of school from then on. His journalism teacher became someone he looked up to and being able to contribute to the newspaper contributed to some of his best memories from high school.
”They all inspired me to learn," he said, "so I wanted to be like them.” Still now he loves Journalism and writing, taking writing courses online and of course teaching journalism at school.
Though he is teaching something he enjoys, his favorite part of being a teacher is not the subject he teaches but getting to interact and bond with the students. Getting to go on several trips with the school, he's been able to bond with the students outside of a normal classroom setting.
“Those are the times when I really connect with students outside the classroom in meaningful and fun ways.”
He’s gone on many trips with students to places like Italy, China, Austria, England, and much more. It’s given him a chance to create bonds with students and get to travel to many different places which he also enjoys. He’s traveled outside of school as well, even waiting tables for a year at a seaside resort in Germany.
One of his favorite things about Roanoke is the natural beauty that it has to offer.
“It is so beautiful, with the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Roanoke River,” he said. “The air is so clean most of the year.”
He likes spending time outside and one of his passions was cycling. Having biked from California to Minnesota, it was one of his favorite things to do. He averaged 2,000 miles cycling a year and even biked 200 miles in one day in the Davis Double Century. He went to college in Davis as well, which even is home to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
After coming to North Cross he’s had a lot of roles here, having been the director of global studies and even coaching tennis for some time. Again, what he really loves about getting to teach is being around the students. Connecting with the kids is very important to him.
"I'm so lucky to be teaching again, especially Journalism," Robillard said. "It is vital that we learn to find the facts and show the truth to our community."
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The school photo from 2019 should be a classic example of a school portrait. “Smile!” She said. “Chin to the side. Head back, shoulders down, chest out. Now take a deep breath, smile, and hold it! Hey! Looks great.” In this case, I felt thoroughly uncomfortable. I dressed in somewhat garish, bright clothing. Wearing a vest made for me in Shanghai of green faux velvet with a custom fitted salmon colored shirt and a white tie with faint polka dots. It looks like someone is holding a lollypop up above the camera for me to gaze at merrily. Using Photoshop liberally, the photo company editing my photo to put much more space between my eyebrows, erased most of my numerous wrinkles, and whitened my teeth so that I looked like a contestant for a George Hamilton look-a-like contest. I guess the yearbook advisor didn’t want to use it, so they reused the previous year’s photo.