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A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood with Mr. Rogers


While you’re sitting in class looking at your teacher who is avidly presenting a lesson, have you ever wondered, “What were my teachers like as high school students?”

I mean, these teachers who have to deal with our crazy teenage behavior everyday went through this same behavior themselves when they were in high school.

And they must have some pretty interesting stories about their high school experience…

Recently, I sat down with Mr. Rogers–whom you may know as a multimedia teacher, your grad sponsor, or just a really cool guy who keeps it real– to ask him to share with us what he was like as a high school student…

Q: What was your most memorable moment in high school?

A: I had a lot of little memorable moments. I had tons of fun with the people I met at school. I had some good friends and we had a series of practical jokes for a long time. One time, we got a hold of the girl that one of our friends was totally hot for. So on his birthday, we went to his house with the girl he liked and hid out downstairs. His mom was in on it with us, too. His mom gave us the clear signal to us when he got up and got into the shower, and then we got the girl to get into his bed. He walked out of his bathroom in his towel, saw her, and just didn’t even know what to do. It was pretty funny.

Q: Did you ever have a nickname in high school?

A: I had a stupid nickname: Rick. My friends started to call me Rick because they knew a guy who looked like me who was called Rick. It was so bad to the point that during practice, the coach would get mad and yell, “Who the hell is Rick?”

Q: How would you describe your high school fashion?

A: Levis 501 jeans, IZOD polo shirts, and boat shoes. Everyone wore boat shoes – all the time.

Q: What was your worst fashion choice?

A: Vinyl Adidas bags. Everyone had them. They were so stupid. We all used them so much that things would start growing on the bottom. Mine was blue with yellow strips. I remember that it started to snow one day and the buses couldn’t make it up the hill, so we rode down the hill sliding on our vinyl bags – like a crazy carpet.

Q: What kind of music did you listen to?

A: The Beatles, Supertramp, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, and the Monkees. I totally remember skiing on Cypress while listening to Supertramp’s Breakfast in America on my Walkman.

Q: In three words, what kind of a teenager were you?

A: I was a weird mix. If I had to choose three words, they’d be: jock, academic, and geek.

Q: What was your grad prank?

A: We took a part of a Volkswagen Bug and lifted it up to about eight stairs on the front stairs of the school to block the entrance. It was hilarious.

Q: What did you want to do after graduating high school?

A: I wasn’t really completely set on anything in terms of what I wanted to do as a career. At one point, I remember I wanted to be an architect, but I took courses to cover a wide range of subjects in high school. It was in university that I found what I wanted to do with my life.

Q: When you were in high school, did you ever think you’d become a teacher?

A: There were times when I thought about it, but didn’t want to because, frankly, I didn’t want to go back to high school. But after a while, I realized that so many things that I enjoyed about the work that I was doing revolved around the teaching opportunities.

Q: If you could go back to change one thing that you did, what would you change?

A: Nothing major. I would change little things – stupid things. I had the opportunity to take Auto-shop class and I didn’t take it. I really should have because I would’ve saved a lot of money on fixing my car. Another thing is that I wouldn’t have been as hesitant as I was to talk to girls – after all, girls are just people too.

Q: What are some words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to current high school students?

A: Who you feel you are is more important than who your friends think that you are. To many teenagers, their peer group is their world. Half the battle in high school is how your friends’ expectations of who you are can often shape who you are to a greater degree than you would want them to. So by the time you get to grade 12, people’s expectations of who you are might not match up with who you’re changing into. That’s why perspective is an amazing thing. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a situation, you can’t have a lot of perspective. So take a step back sometimes.

Also, I’ve noticed that students get so freaking stressed. I personally think that the pressure and the stress about deciding what to do is crap. What you do have to do is to continually look. If you stop looking, you’re stagnant. But if you want to find what makes you happy, keep looking and asking yourself “What can I learn now?” and “How can I grow now?”

By: Sian Shin

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