Two Silicon Valley Teachers Honored for Inspiring Students, Serving Others

Share

An award to one heroic Lynbrook High School teacher for his contribution to the community was in fact a two-in-one event, as his award was

Teachers Bob Hunter and Jeffrey Bale

bestowed in honor of another teacher who inspired generations of Lynbrook students.

Jeffrey Bale was recently named the first honorary recipient of the Lynbrook Sandlot Award, “based upon his character and the positive impact he has made with the students he instructs,” according to Howard Doi, a Lynbrook alum and Sandlot volunteer.

At a special ceremony held in June, Doi and others honored Bale, and at the same time honored retired Miller Middle School teacher Bob Hunter, who influenced thousands of students before they moved on to Lynbrook. Doi said Hunter served as the inspiration for the Lynbrook Sandlot Award.

“For almost five decades, Mr. Hunter has positively influenced and touched the lives of hundreds of students, many of whom who took his “Hunterisms” to heart to become successful students at Lynbrook and beyond,” Doi said.

Doi commended Hunter for his “integrity, passion, courage, and compassion,” calling them the “benchmark” for the award.

Bale was praised for his positive influence on students, his passionate support of youth sports, and his heroic rescue in July 2011 of a little girl drowning in a pool near his mother’s home.

The Sandlot Award was created four years ago at Monta Vista High School as a way to honor students who embodied kindness and service to the community in the spirit of the former student who inspired the award, Justin Perkins. Perkins passed away from cancer in 2008.

The award then spread to Cupertino High School, and this year was included at two other Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) campuses, Homestead and Lynbrook. Teachers were added for consideration as recipients.

Doi is currently working with others to bring the award to the fifth FUHSD campus, Fremont.

Below is the text of Doi’s speech honoring both Bale and Hunter on June 14, 2012.

The inspiration for the Lynbrook Sandlot Award was based on the life of Mr. Bob Hunter, a community icon and former local educator at Miller Middle School. For almost five decades, Mr. Hunter has positively influenced and touched the lives of hundreds of students, many of whom who took his “Hunterisms” to heart to become successful students at Lynbrook and beyond. He was also a champion for the underdog, always advocating for and finding ways to integrate those with special needs into the community. He made his students feel special no matter what their background, belief or ability.

It has been said that the true measure of an educator’s effectiveness may not be immediately seen but will blossom in time. This is true of Mr. Hunter as his students fondly remember his influence decades later. His spirit and compassion live in the hearts of many.

Though current trends and styles will change with time, characteristics such as integrity, passion, courage, and compassion transcend the ages. These are just some of the many characteristics that Mr. Hunter has demonstrated throughout his illustrious educational career, and they have become the benchmark for our Lynbrook Sandlot Award. 

We are choosing to honor someone who demonstrates those time-honored qualities, Mr. Jeffrey Bale. He is the first honorary recipient of the Sandlot Award based upon his character and the positive impact he has made with the students he instructs.

Jeffrey Bale was born and raised in the West San Jose area where he attended local schools including Lynbrook High School (Class of 2000). His local upbringing has ignited his passion to give back to the Lynbrook and local community. It has also assisted his understanding of the unique needs of the students he teaches. His college studies took him to Pepperdine University for his undergraduate years and Santa Clara University for his teaching credential.

Mr. Bale sited several turning points in his life that greatly influenced his life and passion for teaching-from his 9th grade Literature teacher at Lynbrook to one of his undergraduate professors at Pepperdine. His community work with Americorps and the San Jose Conservation Corps, interacting with high risk kids on the East Side of San Jose, helped Mr. Bale to understand that he could get along with just about anybody. In order to be accepted in that tough environment, he learned to be himself. He has in turn applied this valuable philosophy when teaching his students. He implores them to find their individuality and dreams, and supports and believes in them that no matter how many wrong turns they may make, they will find their way.

Mr. Bale is an ardent supporter of high school sports. He believes that sports teaches kids things that cannot be taught in the classroom such as the team concept of winning and losing, and the concept that the individual can be a contributor no matter how much, how little, or how well they play. His contagious spirit is seen at many of the Lynbrook sporting events, no matter what the sport, throughout the year. He is currently the Assistant Varsity Girls Basketball Coach at Cupertino High School, after a brief tenure as an Assistant Frosh/Soph Coach. The Girls Team has had a history of being one of the lowest ranked teams, however, Mr. Bale is not deterred and feels grateful to have this experience and to influence the players in a positive way.

One of Mr. Bale’s sayings is, “Serve where you are….” His mother has also greatly influenced his philosophy by being a role model educator in her own right. He thinks often about what she has told him to never forget that his students listen to what he says and that he is in a position of great power to positively (and negatively) influence their lives.

Last July, Mr. Bale was at his parent’s home and his mother saw and heard screaming coming from the community pool where a young child was drowning. Adrenaline flowing, Mr. Bale scaled a very challenging nine-foot wrought iron fence to get to the child in the pool where he began to perform CPR. Fortunately, the child responded quickly to the intervention, and she was brought back from a life-threatening situation. The paramedics arrived soon thereafter.

In the true spirit of the Sandlot Hero, Mr. Bale has deferred his achievements to all those who have inspired and supported him throughout the years. Even in his heroic effort to save the life of the little girl, he acknowledged the quick response of the paramedics and others around the pool for their care. He just says that he was in the right place at the right time. Mr. Bale also mentioned that as a recipient of this inaugural award, it would be the highest achievement and acknowledgment that he will ever earn.

Editor’s Note: To find out more about the Sandlot Awards and to see inspirational stories of people who extend kindness to their communities through service, visit the Sandlot Hero website. You can see a complete list of GNS posts about Sandlot Hero and Sandlot Award recipients at our Sandlot Hero Page.

Comments

  1. Elyssa Hurwitz says:

    Mr. Bale was one of my favorite teachers from Lynbrook. He is a great teacher and a great guy outside of the classroom. This is well-deserved!

  2. Robin Hurwitz says:

    Love Mr. Bale! So glad to see such a good teacher, and such a nice person, honored publicly!

  3. Pam Marino says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Elyssa!

  4. Pam Marino says:

    Thanks, Robin, for sharing your appreciation of Mr. Bale!