Sitting down at her desk after running around campus, Whitney Grummon, a beloved teacher at Carmel High, speedily types emails while a student asks about her literary analysis essay. Grummon, in the midst of a classroom filled with posters of Cesar Chavez, quotes from Benjamin Franklin, and the chattering of students, helps her student with a bright smile. This constant action is a classic example of the scene in the room.
“I was drawn to the teaching profession because I wanted to help other people find their voice and to articulate what they feel is important,” says the mother of two. “I feel okay at the end of the day.”
The former teacher of the year is incredibly good at what she does and has been decorated accordingly, winning both Mentor of the Year and Teacher of the Year. She currently serves as co-chair of the English department at Carmel High.
“Whitney Grummon is a consummate professional, supportive co-worker, and phenomenal teacher,” says Barbara Steinberg, with whom Grummon shares the co-chair position. “She is a tremendous asset to Carmel High.”
The University of Colorado graduate’s daughter sits close to her mother’s desk reading, two graduates are showing Grummon pictures of their summer travels, and a former student enters into her room addressing her as “Grumm.” The previously decorated Mentor of the Year’s classroom is a melting pot for all students, teachers, beanbag chairs, bookcases full of endless copies of Into The Wild, soccer balls, and uniforms. The classroom is always welcoming to new ideas and new people.
“My mom is always there to help me through a hard day, no matter how many other commitments she has,” says Haven Parker, Grummon’s daughter and soccer team member. “She encourages my family to try new things and does her best to ensure our success in everything we do.”
The English teacher also influences her students outside the classroom as the girls’ soccer coach. She makes an incredibly strong connection with her team and makes lasting friendships with both active students and graduates.
“She takes everyone under her wing and treats everyone with the same kind- hearted compassion and understanding,” says Olivia Doskey Mulvaney, a former student and girls’ soccer team member. “She’s not only a mentor or teacher or coach to her kids, she’s a mother who cares about all aspects of their lives and wants to help them grow and learn.”
Grummon has not only been giving her students a voice, but is a crucial part of giving nature a voice. She was part of an environmental group which helped shut down Rocky Flats, a nuclear power plant which is now a field in Boulder, Colorado.
“We went up, all piled into someone’s pickup truck, and all drove to Rocky Flats; and the goal was to hold hands around the entire plant. That took hundreds of people, probably thousands.”
That wasn’t the only protesting Grummon has done.
“A good friend and I traveled in my VW bus from Maine, where I was living in 1988. We collected signatures for [National Organization for Women] petitions at the foot of the Washington Monument and then marched with over 100,000 people on the [Washington] D.C. mall. It was the first of many marches I would join and helped me to understand the tremendous statement that a chanting and moving sea of people can make.”
Doskey-Mulvaney, who will likely be a lifelong friend with her mentor, only has glowing remarks: “She just gets it on a very real level. She understands her kids like very few teachers and parents can.”
Whitney Grummon has made a substantial difference for Carmel High School, giving a voice to her students, to the environment, to women, and to many other causes. She is a friend to all and a mentor to all of her students.