In high school, she rallied the crowds at Massillon football games dressed as Washington High School’s mascot, Obie the Tiger.
Now as a teacher, Tria Hummel is cheering her students to success.
“I like to emphasize the excitement so they realize this is a good thing, even if it’s a one-point success,” said Hummel, who as Tria Byard donned the Obie mascot costume during her senior year in 2007. “I like to refer to myself as their cheerleader.”
Hummel, now a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Summit Academy Community School for Alternative Learners in Canton, initially pursued a degree in psychology. But she found her calling as a teacher when she helped out in a school classroom as part of her studies.
“That’s the moment that kicked it off,” Hummel recalled. “I thought, ‘This is it. This is exactly what I want to do.’ … I really love studying the brain, but there was no competition when it came to the classroom.”
Hummel enrolled in Stark State College’s 2+2 program, which allowed her to study at Stark State for two years and then transfer to a four-year university to earn her bachelor’s degree. She graduated with an associate degree in early education with a certificate in special needs from Stark State in 2010 and earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a reading endorsement from Walsh University in 2013.
She spent a year as a preschool teacher in Massillon until a friend suggested she interview for an opening at Summit Academy, which is a public charter school that focuses on students with special needs such as autism and ADHD.
She started at Summit in 2014 as a reading tutor. She moved into her own classroom last year, and her students’ state reading and math test scores rose by a remarkable 25% in a single year.
“Seeing ‘the light’ go off is very inspiring to me,” said Hummel, who is now teaching reading and social studies to fourth- and fifth-grade students. “It makes me so happy when a child understands the concept they are trying to learn.”
She believes helping students celebrate their small accomplishments along the way helps build their confidence and helps her establish a relationship with them.
Hummel, 30, lives in Pike Township with husband, Nick, and 4-year-old Jace and 3-year-old Kaylee.
Hummel’s local favorites:
Most unique or unusual product in Stark County:
Anything from Shock Studios. “If you’re into scary movies and Halloween, this artist has what you are looking for! All of his products are intricately handmade and very interesting.”
Favorite local restaurant:
“Since I am a Massillon girl at heart, my local restaurants there are Top of the Viaduct and Cameo Bar and Grill. After moving to Pike Township, my family loves to order from Flipside.”
Favorite thing to do:
“I enjoy spending time with my husband, Nick, and our two children, Jace and Kaylee. I would have to say my favorite thing to do with them is meet up with my brother and his family and ride the ‘tiger bus’ to the Massillon Tiger football games.”
Most memorable spot for you:
“Performing halftime shows with the Massillon Tiger Swing Band at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.”
Favorite indoor activity:
“I enjoy playing board games and simply spending time with my family.”
Favorite place for live music:
“I enjoy listening to some of the bands that perform during the summer concerts in downtown Massillon.”
Favorite place to take the kids:
“The kids and I look forward to attending the annual Massillon band review in September. I love taking the kids to the different events the cities put together. We enjoy admiring old cars at the local car shows. We also enjoy going to the Massillon Fun Fest and the firework shows in Massillon, Jackson and East Sparta.”
Favorite lunch spot:
“Chick-fil-A tends to be the go-to lunch spot for us.”
Favorite place to shop for gifts:
“Howard’s Tiger Rags in Massillon for Friday’s Massillon gear.”
Favorite entertainment spot:
“The Escape Room Downtown in Canton. The escape rooms are definitely fun and challenging. The story-
lines are very interesting and well put together.”
Favorite spot to workout:
“I enjoy going to some of the local walking paths. Petros Lake Park (in Perry Township) is one of my favorites.”
Favorite local event:
“I would have to say the Beat McKinley Parade and the Hall of Fame parade are two of my favorite events aside from Friday night football games.”