WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Adam Rex wanted to be a doctor. He says he was pre-med until he ran into organic chemistry. It was then that his life turned onto a different path, one that would turn out to be the exact right path.
“I really like being a voice and champion for kids,” he said.
Rex turned his attention to helping children, becoming a school social worker. He’s now been with Westerville City Schools for 15 years, six of those years as the EOS program coordinator at the Academic Enrichment Center.
“One of the biggest benefits of being here, both as a student and as a staff member, is our numbers are super low, on purpose, because these are kids that need one-on-one, they need that accountability and to be checked in on,” he said.
The Educational Options for Success, or EOS, program focuses on students who are credit-deficient and need some focused and intensive help to graduate.
And, when they do, there is a special moment that warms Rex’s heart. Many of the students who earn the credits they need to finally graduate don their nicest clothes, sometimes even a cap and gown, and ring a bell in the building’s lobby.
“Everybody here hoots and hollers and yells, and there’s hugs and tears, and like, that’s the moment when those kids realize that they did it,” he said.
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Rex’s role in helping those students achieve that moment has certainly gotten the notice of his colleagues.
“He’s my hero, and I know he’s the hero of a lot of other students,” said Steve Rovtar, who nominated Rex as a Classroom Hero.
Rovtar pointed out that Rex carries more than one important role. He’s also a member of a district-wide team that responds to any major crisis in the schools.
“He’s just a big pillar of our building and helps kids when they’re going through tough times,” he said. “There’s a lot of situations that students can have that need special attention, and he’s the guy. He just takes care of it.”
Rex is one of the people who greets students as they enter the building every day and when they leave at the end of their day. He knows it’s important to show the students care and consistency.
But he also realizes that, given all that educators have been through in the past couple of years, there is a lot of praise to be shared.
“A lot of times, unfortunately it goes unnoticed,” he said. “Shout it from the rooftops. Tell everybody about all the great work the educators are doing.”