News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

July 3, 2011

FLASHPOINT: Two Vigo County teachers are national treasures

TERRE HAUTE — Honey Creek Middle School math teacher Robert Fischer and Terre Haute South Vigo science teacher Daniel Wunderlich are national treasures.

With tireless energy, complete dedication and consummate skill, Mr. Fischer and Mr. Wunderlich have instilled in our youth a life-long commitment to learning.

They have challenged and inspired students to reach their full potential.

The young men and women they have mentored have brought unprecedented recognition to our community. Their students have won innumerable state and national awards and honors.

Bob and Dan’s achievements are amazing. Their extraordinary success in so many areas is unparalleled.

Here are the highlights of the Robert J. Fischer record:

Mathcounts — Bob Fischer has coached 25 teams to state Mathcounts championships and has coached Indiana teams to a national championship in 1995, runner-up in 1997, 2005 and 2007, and 11 “Top 10” finishes in the national finals.

Mr. Fischer has coached sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade mathematics teams to 34 state championships and five national championships.

Chess — While at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Mr. Fischer coached chess teams that won four national championships and 14 Indiana titles. While at Honey Creek Mr. Fischer coached teams that won nine Indiana championships.

Tennis — Bob has coached middle school tennis for 40 years and has won 35 county championships. Honey Creek won the last 11 county titles and has a current winning streak of 148 matches.

Mr. Fischer has been elected to the Indiana Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

Here is an overview of the Daniel K. Wunderlich record:

JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) — Mr. Wunderlich became the coach of the JETS at South in 1997.

The varsity JETS program was “best in the nation” in 2011 and has placed in the top 10 in the nation four other times.

The varsity JETS showing at the state level includes six state championships, state runner-up twice and one third.

South’s varsity has won 13 consecutive regional titles.

South’s junior varsity JETS have been state champions twice, state runner-up once and also have finished fourth and sixth in the state.

The junior varsity has been regional division champions 14 straight years.

Indiana Academic Super Bowl — Mr. Wundelich has been the South science coach for the Indiana Academic Super Bowl since 1997. The results are two state champions, one runner-up and four third-place finishes.

Gymnastics and soccer — Dan’s athletic coaching career spanned nearly 30 years. He coached at the college level, high school, boys, girls, gymnastics and soccer.

Dan helped start the gymnastics and soccer programs at South. In both sports the Braves were one of the most competitive and respected teams in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference. The conference has been called the best in the nation.

Not only was his coaching career remarkably diversified, but even more remarkable, Dan never had a losing season.

The records of Mr. Fischer and Mr. Wunderlich reflect an incredible work ethic and uncompromising commitment to our youth.

They have always gone the extra mile. They have engaged students with before- and after-school activities, weekend sessions and summer school programs.

Still, their regular classroom assignments remain the heart of their instruction. They are passionate teachers for all students — not just the national champions.

Bob and Dan would be the first to acknowledge that success is a team effort.

Administrators, fellow teachers, counselors, parents and, most important, hard-working students are the foundation for the honors their students have received.

For example, the state of Indiana’s Mr. Math and Mr. Science awards earned by South students and the many Advanced Placement scholars from Vigo County demonstrate the strength of the entire school corporation.

It should be noted there are many outstanding teachers in the Vigo County School Corp. Many do not get the recognition they deserve. Special education teachers and those working with disadvantaged students may well be our most effective teachers. Unfortunately the extra work they do or the successes they have often goes unnoticed. 

Still, Mr. Fischer’s and Mr. Wunderlich’s accomplishments are phenomenal. They have contributed so much for Vigo County. It is not possible to include all their work. I will close with these examples.

Bob Fischer has provided unheralded financial assistance for our children. He has given countless gifts to less-fortunate families in Vigo County. Through the years, with Bob’s generosity, untold hundreds of kids were able “fit in” at the start of school. They were able to buy new clothes. And Christmas became a joyous event because of a man who cares.

Dan Wunderlich started and has provided the leadership for Terre Haute South’s “Hall of Distinction.” The event has become special for our entire community. Nationally acclaimed  Terre Hauteans have returned to their roots to be honored by the citizens of Vigo County.

Their plaque will read that they have “brought honor to school and community through significant contributions, professional achievement, and distinguished service.”

Mr. Robert Fischer and Mr. Daniel Wunderlich also exemplify those words to the fullest. I know I speak for a grateful community when I say, “Gentlemen, thank you so much for your dedicated service to our young men and women. You are indeed national treasures.”

— William Youman

Terre Haute

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