Rachel Tobie graduated from Colby in 2004, and now works in development and communications at Thomas A. Edison High School in Oregon, a private school for kids with learning differences. At Colby, Tobie was a member of Professor Peter Harris’ English class that founded the Colby Cares about Kids mentoring program. Tobie feels well-suited to the professional environment at Edison, a school that “empowers students with learning differences to experience academic success and personal growth, while preparing them to succeed in the future.” Tobie organizes the school’s donor database and fundraising events, and manages its social media platform. Most recently, she coordinated the school’s annual “Partner with Thomas Edison Breakfast.” The event drew nearly 400 guests, raising over $150,000 for financial aid, professional development, and technology updates for the school.
Working with the school’s English Department, Tobie helped create an audiobook library at Thomas A. Edison. Technologies such as audiobooks are invaluable at schools like Thomas A. Edison, as they allow students with learning differences to read and understand more challenging materials. Tobie says, of her work for the collection, “we've written and received other grants, but this one is near and dear to my heart because of the huge difference it makes for kids with dyslexia and other processing disorders who are able to improve their reading skills and enjoy reading for the first time, thanks to audiobooks.” Tobie enjoys her work in the school setting as it allows her to witness students’ literary appreciation. “One of my favorite parts about working at a high school is seeing students get excited about books, like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, for example.” Thanks to efforts like Tobie’s, students at Thomas A. Edison are equipped with the academic facilities and inspiration to learn.
Outside of her work at Thomas A. Edison, Tobie writes young adult fiction, a process she always starts with a familiar question: Who is my audience? Tobie says of her mission to write, “The moment of literary exhilaration and connection is my goal. I think of all the times that I’ve read words that have made me feel less alone in the world—words that have given me a sense of communion—and I can’t imagine not writing.” Rachel also works as a freelance designer for both book interiors and covers which can be seen her site, www.racheltobie.com.
-Amy Cunningham, ’15, William D. Adams Presidential Scholar