An elementary school boundary change brought my then 3rd grade daughter to North Bend Elementary School in 2010. It’s never easy being the new kid, especially when you have medical issues that put you at the nut-free table. It wasn’t an easy transition. She transferred knowing no one, as she had attended her previous SVSD school as a transfer student, not going to SES with the neighborhood kids.
Two things helped the transition the most – time and Mr. Alan Tepper, NBE Physical Education Teacher. It’s as if Mr. Tepper has an innate sense of his students, knowing just what to say and exactly what kind of encouragement each specific child needs. It’s hard to put into words how much he helped my daughter. They clicked.
After a couple weeks at NBE she came home excited because Mr. Tepper had told her about his jump rope and unicycle teams. She wanted to be a Panther Jump Roper. Admittedly, it was difficult getting up that extra hour early for practice, but she did it. She excelled at it. By 4th grade, her new goal was to become jump rope team captain by her 5th grade year. Practice consumed her – at home, during recess and during lunch. The past two months were spent perfecting a jump rope routine and performing it daily for Mr. Tepper.
About a month ago she climbed into my car with tears in her eyes. After inquiring what was wrong she professed that Mr. Tepper was retiring at the end of the year. She explained how she liked all her teachers, but wasn’t sure it would ever be the same without Mr. Tepper. She confessed he was the reason she liked her new school so much.
Mr. Tepper started teaching in the Snoqualmie Valley School District in 1978 and came to NBE in 1980. He’s been an educator for 45 years and is what many consider “an institution” in the valley, especially in North Bend. There isn’t a summer parade that doesn’t feature the Panther Pride Unicycle Team. Mr. Tepper has spent his four decade career creating opportunities for valley children, as well as establishing a sense of confidence and self in so many students along the way.
He is a believer in alternative sports. Shortly into his NBE tenure, he began the Panther Pride Unicycle and Jump Rope Teams. These teams offer affordable athletic opportunities to all NBE students. It simply costs $3 to purchase a jump rope and join the team. NBE now even has its own group of scooter riders, as Mr. Tepper incorporates a scooter riding PE unit each winter. He says the community does a great job with traditional team sports, so he does the others. Parents often discuss what a great asset his teams are to the valley, as they provide additional team sports for more kids.
This March, Mr. Tepper was named “Best Teacher” in the Snoqualmie Valley Record’s Annual “Best of the Valley” Poll. He is extremely modest about this new title and his role in the community, explaining many teachers do more than he does, but fall under the radar.
Friday marked Mr. Tepper’s last Unicycle, Jump Rope an Scooter Rider Assembly at North Bend Elementary. His teams performed for the school and community, showcasing their skills. Members of the Panther Pride National Unicycle Team even performed. They travel to Italy this summer to compete in the World Championships. As the assembly ended, Mr. Tepper was honored by parents and staff. Principal Frasier said it is a North Bend Elementary goal to continue the teams and programs Mr. Tepper began some 30 years ago.
If you have a story to share about Mr. Tepper, please leave it here on the comment page. He has been an integral part of the NBE and Snoqualmie Valley community for so many years, it’s hard to think of NBE without him. Thank you, Mr. Tepper. My daughter believes even more in herself because of the dedication you have shown during your career.
You can see a short iMovie highlighting some of Friday’s assembly here.