It’s a Small World

After graduating, Cameron Hawkins is now a teacher

“It’s a small world.” Some people don’t believe that saying, but it applies to 23-year-old Cameron Hawkins. Hawkins, a 2015 Battle High School graduate, has found his way back to Battle as a Special Education Aide after he developed a love for teaching.  

Hawkins did not go to public school at first. He previously attended Heritage Academy, a private Christian school and switched from being homeschooled and attending Heritage Academy every other year.

But Hawkins decided after his junior year of high school that he wanted to transfer to Battle. A decision, he said, that was important to him. 

“I liked the opportunity that was presented: a brand new school and a chance to be a part of laying the foundation of what the school would be like for years to come,” Hawkins said.  ‘Not many people can say they were a part of the first graduating class.”

Transferring to Battle meant that Hawkins would have to repeat his junior year due to a district-wide decision to not have seniors the first year Battle being opened. Most people would not repeat their junior year, a year which many people is the hardest year of high school; however, Hawkins said he was willing to take that risk for many reasons. 

“I did [enjoy repeating junior year], it was a bit odd at first since I should have been a senior but I’m a junior again. I’m glad that I did it because high school is what you make of it, and I chose to make it a great time,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins was a part of the football, basketball, and track and field team during his junior year. Despite being a stellar athlete, Hawkins said his passion for teaching was sparked at a young age. 

“Back in Heritage Academy, I had a really interesting history teacher. He did a great job with storytelling and understand cultures and people,” Hawkins said.

Because of that teacher, Hawkins knew that he wanted to be a teacher. That’s when Peter Stepelman approached Hawkins on his graduation day in 2015. 

“Dr. Stiepelman came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I heard you wanted to become a teacher if you’d like. Go get your degree and we will hold a spot. We would love for you to come back here and teach,’” Hawkins said. 

Hawkins went to Moberly Area Community College (MACC) and transferred to Taylor University, a private Christian school in Indiana, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. 

Since graduating, Hawkins has become a Special Education Aide. Hawkins said he cherishes his position for many reasons. 

“Special education is always something that I’ve cared a lot about. I’ve cared about students with special needs and students with learning disabilities and different struggles because everyone has different struggles in their lives,” Hawkins said. “[I felt] that was something people did not appreciate enough: the mind of a student with special needs and how they have a lot of value to offer. I really enjoy being in the special education program.” 

Battle students acknowledge the passion he has for his job. 

“He’s just himself, that’s what I like about Cam. He will be the teacher that sits around all of the kids, and he doesn’t care about what other people think about him,” senior Izaiah Wilson said.

Besides working in CPS, Hawkins also serves as a youth leader for Grace Bible Church middle school and is a Young Life leader. Luke Neal, leader of Battle Young Life, emphasized Hawkins’ role as a mentor and leader. 

“When Cam was in high school he was already doing the work of a leader,” Neal said. “From the first day I met him, I could tell that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of his peers and change his school for the better.” 

Hawkins acknowledges that his schedule is busier than most teachers, as he is also a football and freshman basketball coach; however, he said he wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I love it. Every day I wake up very excited to come to work. To see the students here, who I would consider good friends and people I care a lot about,” Hawkins said.

Hawkin’s mother, Tammy Hawkins, said she is proud of who he has become. 

“I love how he relates to all kids in the classroom,” Tammy said. “He worked with first grades during the summer and now teenagers.” 

Hawkins was inspired by a history teacher at Heritage Academy and is now doing the same for Battle students. It is a small world.