Audio: Missouri’s Teacher of the Year talks about surviving troubled childhood and turning around his life

Darrion Cockrell Missouri Teacher of the Year

Missouri’s Teacher of the Year is a PE teacher at Crestwood Elementary in St. Louis. Darrion Cockrell says he hopes his story of surviving a troubled childhood, getting adopted at 14 years old, and getting a college education will inspire his students. Cockrell, known as “Mr. DC”, says PE was his happy place growing up and he hopes his students have the same experience.

 

 

He has also held workout sessions for teachers and parents and an open gym for the dads.  He has developed a culture of fitness, health, and fun through his “CrestFit” program.

 

 

Cockrell, along with his students, made a dance video with a choreographed routine that incorporates exercises like jumping jacks. 

Missouri’s Teacher of the Year says being a PE teacher is the only thing in life that has ever come easy for him.  Cockrell says he plans to use his platform to strive for change in the bad St. Louis neighborhood he grew up in.

 

 

Violence, drugs, gangs, and tragedy were the way of life for Cockrell. He says he hopes his story of surviving a troubled childhood, getting adopted at 14 years old, and getting a college education will inspire his students.

 

(Photo of Darrion Cockrell provided by Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education)