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Subban of Devils interviews Most Valuable Teacher of the Year finalists

Defenseman goes into game-show host mode for NHL/NHLPA Future Goals program

by William Douglas @WDouglasNHL / Staff Writer

Future Goals: Armstrong

Future Goals: Subban interviews Armstrong

PK Subban speaks with Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher nominee Jennifer Armstrong, a middle school science teacher from Pottsville, PA

  • 02:49 •

P.K. Subban gave the teachers a pop quiz.

The New Jersey Devils defenseman-turned-NHL pause game-show host met the three finalists for the Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP award via Zoom recently.

So naturally, the host of "NHL Hat Trick Trivia" decided to interview finalists Megan Campedel, Jennifer Armstrong and Joan Kilban and ask them a few questions game-show style.

The finalists came from a field of 36 teachers from across the U.S. and Canada who competed over the past three months to become the Future Goals' Most Valuable Teacher of the Month.

Fans have a chance to choose the Future Goals' Most Valuable Teacher of the Year by visiting now through Friday, which is part of 2020 National Teacher Appreciation Week, and voting for their favorite candidate.

The winner will receive a trip for two to the 2020 NHL Awards or another similar prize. 

Subban asked Armstrong, a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Owen J. Roberts Middle School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, why she became a teacher.

"When I first started college, I was actually a business major and about halfway through the program I decided that sitting behind the desk wasn't my cup of tea," said Armstrong, whose favorite team is the Philadelphia Flyers and favorite player is captain Claude Giroux. "I teach over 400 seventh-grade quirky little humans each year and it's awesome -- always different, always changing."

Subban asked Campedel, an eighth-grade teacher at Avonworth Middle School in Pittsburgh, what she loves most about teaching.

"When you teach eighth grade every day is a new adventure," said Campedel, who is also a competitive figure skating and a Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby fan. "They're curious, they're kind, they're funny, they're inquisitive. Right now, even though I'm not with them, they're doing so much learning at home."

Video: Future Goals: Subban interviews Megan Campedel

Subban told Kilban, a fifth-grade teacher at Hingham Public Schools in Hingham, Massachusetts, that he knows a thing or two about teachers. His father was a public school principal in Toronto for more than 30 years, and his two sisters are teachers. 

When he asked how she motivate students, Kilban said, "It's up to the teacher to give it that old razzle-dazzle."

"Being able to use programs like the Hockey Scholar program gives it that hook that you need to have a student persevere and keep going," said Kilban, who loves the Boston Bruins and enjoys watching forward Charlie Coyle play. She started a street hockey league in her town that has 500 players. "Being able to learn some pretty dry concepts, let's face it, like types of energy, geometry, states of matter, once you put in the context of hockey, and especially the Boston Bruins, it answers the age-old question 'When am I ever going to need this in real life?'"

Video: Future Goals: Subban interviews Joan Kilban

The Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher of the Year presented by SAP award was established to recognize and honor the dedication of hard-working teachers who not only educate but to help instill values, build character within their students.

Teaching is a challenging job, even more so with millions of students worldwide learning at home because their schools have been shuttered due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

To help, the NHL and NHL Players' Association are providing free remote access to Hockey Scholar for both teachers and parents for the first time.

The program, powered by EVERFI and part of the NHL and NHLPA Future Goals initiative, uses hockey to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to elementary and middle school-aged students. It was previously only available through educational institutions and teachers.

"The teachers are absolutely the stable and staple for teaching these kids the platform, but I think it also helps them migrate some of the learning to the parents, so it doesn't have to be forgotten about once the teacher does their role," said Rob Knesaurek, NHL Group Vice President of Youth Hockey and Industry Growth Fund.

Rob Zepp, manager of special projects for the NHLPA, agreed.

"Schools may be shut down in the traditional sense, but teachers are very much essential to everything that's happening in our community in keeping our youth engaged and educated, in many instances going above and beyond what was required to find unique and creative ways to interact and continue the learning process with their students," he said. 

More than 3.1 million students have participated in the Future Goals program across North America since its founding in 2014, accounting for more than 6.5 million hours of learning.

Students who have participated in the program saw their STEM skills increase by 82 percent while 93 percent of teachers who incorporated it into their students' coursework said they would recommend the program to fellow teachers. 

Parents, students and teachers can access the Future Goals program for free by visiting Families can also follow and join the conversation on social media by searching #HockeyAtHome and #HockeyScholar.

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