Dawn Howard teaches history, psychology, economics and United States government at Vincent High School, where she also sponsors the Student Government Association and First Priority. She received a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and master’s in gifted education, both from the University of Montevallo. A Vincent native, she graduated from VHS as valedictorian in 1994. She lives in Sterrett with her husband, Danny, a 1993 VHS graduate, and their two sons, 15-year-old Wesley and 13-year-old Cameron. The family attends Sterrett Church of God of Prophecy, where Dawn is the worship leader/music minister.
Q: Why did you want to go into education?
A: It may seem silly to most, but growing up I always loved watching “Little House on the Prairie.” I actually still enjoy watching it. From early on, I fell in love with Laura Ingalls. I can remember thinking how noble the profession was and how much of a difference I could make. I would always play school and force my younger brother, Alan, or my stuffed animals to be my students. As I progressed through school and neared the end of high school, the desire to teach grew stronger. Teaching is still a noble profession and one that I believe encompasses all things. We have the power to not only share our love of our content, but also to help influence the lives of children, who are our future. I want to make a difference and the best way to do that is to start with children.
Q: When were you a student at Vincent Middle High School?
A: I began Vincent as a first grader at Vincent Elementary and then continued through my senior year. I began my freshman year at Vincent in 1990 and graduated in 1994.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I love making a difference. I am passionate about teaching history. I love the community of teachers I work with. We call it our Vincent Village. It is home to me. My father, Rick Andrews, graduated from Vincent, my husband and I are alumnae, my children attend Vincent, and I teach at Vincent. I’m truly invested and I care about the school, the students, and the community. So, to answer the question, I love everything about my job.
Q: If you could be present at any major historical event, what would it be?
A: I absolutely love history and could imagine being present at so many events such as: the Constitutional Convention, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, and so many others. I’d have to say though I would have loved to traveled west with Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. In my opinion, it was one of the greatest expeditions and the only of its kind. To imagine the physical and mental struggle the men and woman (Sacagawea) were exposed to is fascinating. It was an exciting adventure and heavily recorded. The first black man and woman were allowed to vote on this expedition. Sacajawea saved the expedition so many times and the expedition was so successful, although not finding a water route west. I wish I could have seen the country as they saw it, unadulterated, the beauty of landscape, the American Indians in their natural habitat, the buffalo running free, genuinely the true ruggedness of the expedition. I would have loved to have been there.
Q: What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
A: I would advise myself to save more money, travel more often, and rest more!
Q: If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: Wow! To pick only one is hard for a historian to do because there are so many I’d love to meet. I’d love to meet George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, William Clark, Sacagawea, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and so many others. If I had to pick only one though, I’d like to meet Abraham Lincoln and sit down on the front porch in my rocking chair, have a glass of iced tea, and talk a while about everything!
Q: What is one place in the world you would like to visit and why?
A: There are still so many places in the U.S. I want to visit if only money would allow; which is why I would advise my 18-year-old self to travel. I truly want to and plan to visit Washington D.C. and Williamsburg, Va., and the west. In the world, I’d love to travel across Europe, particularly to Greece and Rome. I’ve taught world history before and the ancient civilizations are so fascinating and appealing to me. I would love to see the ruins and beauty of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. I’d love to tour the Palace of Knossos in Crete, gaze at the Roman Colosseum, stroll through the city of Pompeii, and behold all the beauty of the area. If only…