John Zimmerman, featured speaker at the May 2013 English Department Recognition Ceremony, graduated with a BA in English Education from UNCG in 2005 and an MA in English Education from Appalachian State University. He now teaches at R.L. Patton High School in Morganton, North Carolina, mentoring students who consistently earn among the highest scores in the state on writing exams, and leading student groups in Europe each summer. John is also a United States Professional Tennis Association Pro who coaches at the high school level, and he’s a certified North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Fishing and Hunting Guide who runs a trout fishing guide business in his spare time.
The Casting for Hope fly-fishing tournament is a charity event that John and his business partner Taylor Sharp, a current Morhehead-Cain Scholar at the The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, started in 2012 in memory of Taylor's mother Amy Sharp. The event raises funds for The Hope Chest for Women, a regional non-profit in Asheville, North Carolina and allows women who are battling cancer but who have major insurance limitations to actually receive treatments. Through John and Taylor's work, the event has grown from not existing to raising over $35,000 in two years and has become an official Gold Level event on the competition series, one of only three in the country. Check them out on the web at www.casting4hope.com.