The UA community began an eqUAl initiative to show support for Jones Middle School teacher Darrion House after a race-related insult was directed toward him by a UA resident.

In the interviews below, teachers and residents of UA share how House has been a positive influence in the district since he was hired in 2012.

compiled by Abby Gray ’18

Jones middle school teacher Darrion House.

AS A FRIEND – from Jones Middle School teacher Nick Judy: Darrion House and I started the same year in the district, and we became friends from the moment we met. He has an unbelievable ability to stay positive at all times and cheer everyone up. He makes me laugh every day and keeps me motivated to be the best teacher I can be. He has a genuine passion to work with kids and make their lives better, and it shows in all of his interactions with the students of Jones Middle School. I think the best thing about Darrion is that it doesn’t matter if a student is in his class or not — he wants to interact with all the kids and help them in any way he can. I consider myself lucky to not only work with Darrion House but to be able to call him a close personal friend.

AS A COACH – from Jones Middle School teacher Jim Fronk: Mr. House has worked at Jones Middle School for many years now and I have had the pleasure of being his assistant coach on the track team. Darrion has a charisma and personality that is truly unique; he makes people around him feel special and happy.  He is always laughing and finding humor in situations. Parents and students truly enjoy interacting with him.  At meets, the athletes will flock to him after events to share their times or performances. He puts enormous amounts of time into each track and field season. It is really another full-time job.

Darrion is also truly committed to the well being of his students. He works with his students all day, every day.  He tends to them emotionally and academically.  I stop by his study hall class every once in a while.  He is always making sure his students are getting assignments finished.

Darrion once shared that he questions his choice to teach in Upper Arlington, that he wonders if he should give his efforts to students in more disadvantaged districts who might benefit from having an African American role model to whom they can relate.  I can appreciate those thoughts because I also have wondered whether I should have chosen a district with lower socio-economics. But it would be a true loss for Upper Arlington if he ever chooses to leave. We are fortunate to have him here.

AS A ROLE MODEL – from Jones Middle School principal Jason Fine: Mr. House is one of the most genuine and trustworthy individuals I know. He is passionate about helping others and will always stop to check on a colleague, a friend or a student to see how their day is going. His positive energy fills a room and his laugh is contagious. Darrion is a great role model for all of us and we need more people like Darrion in this world!  I am thankful he is in this building working with our students and I am incredibly lucky to call him my friend!

AS A MENTOR – from sophomore Kaylee Barrett, a previous student of Mr. House: A word to describe him would be admirable. Not only because of how great of a teacher and how wonderful he is with students, but also how he has dealt with everything with such stride. 

I got the privilege to mentor for Mr. House’s class for two years. After the first year, I was touched by the way he interacted with each student and made them feel special. My second year, I was chosen again for his class. I remember we used to always play Kahoots and he would often tell the class about the bets he lost with Mr. Judy that previous weekend. I was glad to get to know him during middle school.

AS A LEARNER – from Jones Middle School teacher Caitlin Spangler: Darrion House is one of the most positive people I have ever met! He is caring and willing to help anyone in need. He has a passion for his job and the students that he helps. He has a great laugh that you can hear for miles away! My favorite thing about working with Mr. House is that he is always willing to learn. If he makes a mistake, he learns how to correct it next time instead of becoming upset. He perseveres and, because of that, is always improving.