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Educator Spotlight: Social Studies Educator Treve Lumsden

Introduction: We are excited to continue our popular Educator Spotlight series this year. Through this series we hope to offer readers a glimpse of how Gibbons Educators care for and engage with students, forming them as men and women of faith, service, and leadership in church and community. Today, we spotlight Treve Lumsden, Social Studies Educator. So far this year we have spotlighted Fine Arts Educator Rebecca Dason and World Languages Department Chair and Spanish Educator Nancy Beale.

Step into Treve Lumsden’s AP US Government & Politics class and be prepared to expect the unexpected.

During a recent class Lumsden, a five-year Gibbons educator, is telling stories to his in-person and remote students – all seniors. Those stories – about current events students can relate to - also link to topics in today’s lesson that appear on a screen behind Lumsden.

Treve Lumsden in class teaching.

The class is examining how the federal bureaucracy works with Congress to implement new laws, regulations, and more. The hope, Lumsden says, “is that students will understand just how difficult it is to take a law, which is conceptual in nature, and translate it into actionable policy.”

That subject, like the AP class itself, is not easy. But Lumsden’s easy-going nature, conversational style, and quick wit, immediately put students at ease.

They are at once captivated and intrigued. The reason is simple: Lumsden connects with students, gets them excited about the subject, and enables them to discover the power of democracy.

How? He’s animated and fun. He also makes what could be a dry topic more interesting by telling everyday stories that are impactful instead of just focusing on dates and names. At one point, for instance, he talks about how the Food and Drug Administration will work to approve the coronavirus vaccine.

He also doesn’t shy away from provocative topics. That is apparent when he plunges into a discussion about the National Security Agency and cybersecurity. The topic turns to UFOs and administrative discretion and the class is invigorated.

It is also clear that Lumsden is passionate about his subject. That enables him to draw mature conversations from his students and challenge their views.

And let’s not forget the classroom itself. There is a huge American flag in one corner and a statue of a medieval knight in another. The knight is holding a sign emblazoned with the words: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The slogan was first used on a British motivational poster during World War II but it is now regarded as an expression of resilience.

That slogan also seems fitting for this class at this most uncertain of times in our history.


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