The Paw Print

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The Paw Print

The Paw Print


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Introducing GHS’s New Teachers

For the 2023-24 school year, GHS is welcoming a number of new teachers. These new teachers include Ms. DeRusso, Mr. Worden, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Lupi, Ms. Ritter, Coach Patterson, and Mr. Whitmore. I contacted our new Wildcat staff members, asking for a little information about what they teach, who they are, and to give them a proper welcome to our school.

First, we have our new guidance counselor Ms. DeRusso. When asked a few questions about her previous teaching experiences, Ms. DeRusso explained how she has worked at a few different schools, but her last job was as the school guidance counselor in Watertown. She has been a guidance counselor for 3 years now, and started due to her high school experiences. Ms. DeRusso explained how she became a guidance counselor in order to let students know “they always have someone there for them through the good and the bad.” Aside from her job, spending time with her family and animals is a huge part of Ms. DeRusso’s life, along with reading, watching football, and exploring new places. I asked for any advice or words of wisdom, and she said to all students, “never be afraid to ask for help – we are always learning new things and everyone is struggling with something. It is also important to find a balance between entering young adulthood and still enjoying being a ‘kid.’” Ms. DeRusso also wants students to know that they are more than welcome to come in and visit or talk about anything they need, as long as she’s not busy. Feel free to stop by and introduce yourself and give a warm welcome to Ms. DeRusso.

We also have a new music teacher, Mr. Worden. Mr. Worden did his student teaching at Parishville-Hopkinton and Potsdam Middle School. This is his first full year teaching; however, he has been doing music lessons for a few years. In addition to teaching music, Mr. Worden also gave swimming lessons and coached swim for several years because he was a collegiate swimmer. He explained how he plans to take advantage of our close range to the Adirondack Mountains in order to do some hiking, and harbors a big love for the TV show Big Brother, and, season 17 winner, Steve Moses, a GHS graduate. When asked how he got into teaching music, Mr. Worden said that being a teacher has always been on his radar. He explained how his love for music, teaching others how to do new things, and aiding others in becoming their best selves landed him here, as a music teacher. When asked for anything he wants students to know about himself, he explained how he really tries to focus on creating a fun learning environment, as music can be something that is difficult to learn. He also wants students to know that this period in their lives should be spent enjoying the small moments. That you should join clubs and befriend that one kid, because when you look back on your high school years, you shouldn’t regret anything. I’m sure our music students will appreciate GHS welcoming Mr. Worden.

GHS is also welcoming a new gym coach this year, Coach Patterson. Coach Patterson did student teaching at South Jefferson, as well as substituted at her alma mater, Indian RIver. This is her first teaching job. Aside from Physical Education, Coach Patterson spends her time walking her dogs, hunting, playing video games, and has obtained the expensive hobby of building Legos. When asked how she got into physical education, Coach Patterson said that she originally went to college for special education, but realized the setting of a regular classroom was not for her. She then decided to take up Physical Education and pursue that career path at JCC, and later at SUNY Brockport. One of the biggest things Coach Patterson wants her student to know is that her goal for gym class is to have fun. She likes to put a large focus on engaging activities, in order to teach students how to have a physically active lifestyle. She also wants students to know that they are welcome to stop in and chat when they want to. We look forward to seeing you in gym class Coach Patterson.

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Also new this year to GHS is Mr. Whitmore. Mr. Whitmore started his career in education as a social studies teacher at Lyme and IHC for 5 years, before switching to special education and teaching at Hermon-Dekalb, St. Lawrence Lewis BOCES, and Indian River before finally coming here to GHS. This is his 16th year teaching. Mr. Whitmore originally decided to study agriculture business but redirected toward teaching after deciding it would be a better fit. When he is not spending his time in the classroom, his time is focused on his family and cattle farm. He is also a wrestling official and enjoys snowmobiling in the winter. Mr. Whitmore explained how he enjoys spending his free time with his children, Kelsey, Chloe, and Levi. My last questions for Mr. Whitmore were for any advice and finally remarks, to which he said “Be kind to others and be humble. Be kind to those who are not like you or your friends and be humble if you have success. No one person is better than another.” He also said “I try to be firm, fair, and friendly with my students. I like to hold them accountable but also be kind and fair to them.” Mr. Whitmore is a perfect addition to GHS. 

GHS also introduced a number of new business classes this year, taught by our new business teacher, Mr. Bryant. Mr. Bryant previously taught at Batavia High School, in Batavia, Illinois and has been teaching for 19 years. Mr. Bryant got into teaching because of a school teacher who suggested the career. After watching his dad run his own business, Mr. Bryant saw no better fit than to teach about business. Aside from teaching, Mr. Bryant explained how he enjoys anything outdoors, like hiking, boating and fishing. I also asked if he had any advice for our students and he said set your goals and make a plan in order to achieve them. I’m sure Mr. Bryant, along with his business classes, will bring a nice touch to GHS. 

GHS has also landed a new art teacher, Ms. Ritter. This is Ms. Ritter’s first year teaching. She explained how she got into art because of her high school art teacher. She continued by saying she fell in love with the creative freedom art gave her and was inspired to become a teacher. Aside from art, Ms. Ritter enjoys traveling, making pottery, listening to music and spending time with her friends and family. Another fun fact about Ms. Ritter is that she is from St. Paul Minnesota. However, she only has a Minnesota accent when pronouncing the word “bag.” I asked for any final advice to students and Ms. Ritter said, “Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through. Be mindful. Live in the present moment. Be yourself. You will find people who appreciate you for who you are.” Ms. Ritter is a perfect fit for our school and I, along with everyone else, am looking forward to seeing her around.

Finally, we have Mr. Lupi. Mr. Lupi is our new band teacher here at GHS and will be giving lessons to our music students. I was unable to contact him for further questions, however, I am sure Mr. Lupi will be a helpful addition to our music program.

I asked all our new teachers how their experience at GHS has been so far. Each one of them were pleased to say that our school has been very welcoming and our students and staff have done the most to aid them in acclimating to the new school. Each one of them said they are pleased to be working here and I know our students and staff are as well. Thank you to all these teachers for deciding to be a Wildcat. And finally, welcome to GHS!

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