MHS attendance a family tradition for U.S. government teacher

October 9, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Craig Evins has a good reason for bleeding green and gold.

Evins, a U.S. government teacher at Mohave High School, has been associated with the school since he was 6.

The family moved to Bullhead City so that Evins’ mother, Jean, could teach at MHS.

Later he attended, playing trombone in the band and serving in a key reserve role for the basketball team.

After college, Evins taught for three years at schools in Phoenix and California, but he had his sights set on home.

“Teaching at Mohave was always a dream of mine,” Evins said. “In sixth grade, I wrote in a paper ‘I’m gonna be a teacher at Mohave High.’ When I started teaching, that was always my goal.”

It’s clear that Evins enjoys his work, senior Francine Serna said.

“He likes to bring in his Mohave High School spirit,” she said. “He likes to show his T-bird pride.”

The reality of teaching at MHS has lived up to his expectations, Evins said.

“Our kids are awesome,” he said. “I enjoy every day with my students. It’s new and exciting every day with these kids.”

He’s in his 24th year at the school, and has seen some interesting phenomena.

“I had Mr. (Kevin) Greene his first year of teaching,” Evins said, adding that returning to teach alongside Greene “was kinda weird.”

Evins enjoys teaching all kinds of students, including those who are obviously college-bound, and those who are really motivated, he said.

“My favorite students are the kids who are kind of in the middle, striving to move up to the next level,” Evins said. “They’re super diligent, they work hard, and they’re gonna do well in college.”

Evins, who has a master’s degree in religion, is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Bullhead City, and said there are similarities between his professions.

“You work with people a lot,” he said. “You deal with their problems and their family issues.”

Being a pastor, he said, helps as he tries to encourage students.

“I pride myself on getting to know my students,” Evins said. “I think my background gives me some insight to help them down the right path.”

MHS Principal Steve Lawrence said Evins’ enthusiasm for the school shines through in his work.

“Mr. Evins is an alumnus of Mohave High School, and as such he brings his love of his school into his classroom daily,” Lawrence said. “He is an incredible instructor who has touched the lives of thousands of students over the years, including my two Mohave graduates.”

Evins said Lawrence is a “wonderful leader” and that the social studies department has great camaraderie and has done really good things with curriculum.

His classes, in which all the students are seniors, include two major projects: arguing a mock U.S. Supreme Court docket and breaking into groups of “legislators” to draft, debate and pass a bill.

In election years such as 2018, he spends some time going over the ballot with students, about a quarter of whom will be able to vote in the November election, Evins said.

“My goal is to teach them to be thinkers, not just accept everything that comes their way,” he said. “To reason it out and think it through.

“And also to know that there’s a place for each one of them to be involved, through the constitutional principles we have of government. I want them to know how to access the government.”

Torin Rocha is one senior Evins has reached this year.

“I’m learning a lot of life skills in this class,” Rocha said. “And I enjoy it.”

One aid Evins has this year is the confirmation process surrounding Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court on Saturday. A recent class session included a discussion of the case and a poll of students’ opinions regarding Kavanaugh’s fitness for the court.

Serna said Evins is making sure students leave his class with an understanding of how their government works.

“He’s a good teacher,” she said. “Just the fact that he makes sure we have a good understanding, so that no one’s left behind.”

Evins has coached basketball and cross country at MHS, and now is advisor to the school’s National Honor Society chapter and Crown of Thorns Christian club. He also is associated with Mohave band and choir, We the People, community service projects and other work.

“We deeply appreciate his commitment to our students and his passion for everything Mohave,” Lawrence said.

Evins’ dedication extends to another generation: he is the father of three MHS grads, who were home-schooled for some of their early years.

“They wouldn’t have thought of doing anything else,” Evins said. “They were always looking forward to going here.”

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