FORT MOHAVE — Frank Sagasta describes teaching as both his passion and his purpose.
Sagasta, who teaches social studies, leadership training, multimedia, public speaking and life skills at Desert Star Academy, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. as saying “the greatest and most persistent question asked is ‘what have you done for others? ”
“I believe it starts with education,” Sagasta said.
He said his greatest love for his job comes from watching his students apply their lessons and experience personal growth.
Students Lillian Johnson and Lucas Buffett said Sagasta has helped them grow.
“He’s a wonderful teacher,” Johnson said, adding that she learns a lot in Sagasta’s class due to his superior skills at explaining concepts.
Buffett, a seventh-grader, is in three classes Sagasta teaches.
“He inspires me,” Buffett said. “If I’m having trouble in a class, I can go to him and he can help me.”
Sagasta said he enjoys being at Desert Star, which he described as “a unique school in this area.”
The uniqueness, he said, is seen in the school’s programs, which include leadership, public speaking and robotics.
Desert Star Academy director Margie Montgomery said the former two are at the school only because Sagasta has the skills to teach them.
“He’s an asset to the school,” she said.
Montgomery said that Sagasta’s vision, enthusiasm and commitment to teaching students about citizenship and being leaders make Desert Star a better school.
“His philosophy completely matches and coincides with our mission,” she said.
One thing Sagasta and recreation director Carly Plasman run is Desert Star Adventures, a summer adventure club. He said it’s a way for students to learn and grow outside the classroom.
Desert Star Adventures includes outdoor recreational activities. Students have enjoyed a scavenger hunt through the Colorado River Nature Center, a historic railroad trail hike leading up to the Hoover Dam, and a guided tour of Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in Essex, California.
During the school year, he said, multimedia students will be making “impact videos” designed to “allow the scholars to share or tell a story using the voice within.
“They can share something from this year’s school experience, or something they achieved over the year or something they did within the community,” Sagasta said.
They also are making podcasts, and soon will expand into video podcasts.
Sagasta said he knows his teaching methods are working when he hears from parents that the students are enjoying his classes, doing the podcasts and applying lessons at home.
Montgomery said Sagasta has planned some field trips that will expand the students’ horizons.
“He’s really opened up the eyes of our scholars,” she said. “He’s giving them experiences they’ve never had before.”