Chase McDonald, David Thibodeaux STEM Magnet Academy

Chase McDonald, 27, was originally born in Aspen, CO and raised by his mother– Sabrina McDonald. Through a series of semi-unfortunate events and financial troubles, Chase and his mom ended up in Abbeville Louisiana when he was 11. Because Louisiana is one of the few states that has a TOPS program, he quickly realized that one, there was an obtainable means to proper education and two, a proper education may be the only way out of constant financial struggle. Chase went on to graduate in the top 25 of his class with honors-level TOPS from Abbeville High School. He began college at University of Louisiana at Lafayette originally as a Secondary Education Major focused in Math. However, after accepting an opportunity with the National Science Foundation, he became a Mathematics Major with a minor in education (though he was only 2 classes shy of having a double major in both Secondary Education and Mathematics). This opportunity entailed a few things. It allowed him to work with various MATH and EDCI professors on a handful of different projects geared towards including more STEM activities in the classroom. He participated in the HEAT (Hands-on Exposure to Algebraic Topics) Competition for 3 semesters where each semester he was assigned a middle school class to report to and help teach the students algebra using hands-on-tools. He also worked with several other college peers and professors in the Noyce program to create science based games that would then be deployed at select schools. After graduating from ULL in 2018, he spent his first year teaching Geometry at Carencro High, but then actually resigned from teaching and was unsure about returning to the profession. During this hiatus, he had a job as a traveling sports photographer. This allowed him to hone in on his photography skills, since that was one of his favorite hobbies for several years. However, he was convinced by some old colleagues to give education one last try. So he applied at DTSMA, thankfully got the job, and has been working there for the past 3 years. He currently teaches both Geometry and Algebra II, but has also gotten Dual-Enrollment certified through LSU. Along with teaching, he is also the sponsor for the softball team, a coach for the speech & debate team, and even the sponsor of the Skate Club- which was founded by him and another student just this year. One of his goals as a teacher has always been to start a skate club. Chase has been skating since he was 12, and while he’s too old and injured to skate as much as he would like nowadays, skating is still one of his passions. The commitment and dedication that is necessary to become a good skater was one of the best character-building aspects of his life when he was younger. So it only felt right to try to encourage this activity among the youth of today.