Mr. Amonte, the Probability and Statistics teacher, up on the third floor, is a teacher all because of a simple opportunity. When he was originally a plumber, he unfortunately got laid off, which gave him a choice. He explored his career opportunities to become a math teacher, something he had always wanted to be. Before coming to Hanover High School, he taught at Granite Academy, a private school in Braintree.
“It has been a very nice experience to come to a great school system like Hanover,” he said. “The staff has welcomed me and I have a positive interaction with everyone I have met from the high school.”
Mr. Amonte had always wanted to be an educator. He worked construction in the summers to pay for college, which eventually led to getting his plumbing license.
As we all know, the class of 2014 is graduating very soon. We look to teachers and other peers for some advice. Mr. Amonte simply says, “Adults have to be adults. Youth can choose to act like adults or just be kids.”
He advises students not to try to grow up too fast. “I would choose to be a kid for as long as possible”, he said.
You’re always going to want to have your inner child, having some fun in your life. Therefore, when he is not teaching here, or correcting students’ work, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Mr. Amonte is a fabulous new edition to the High School, at least in my opinion. He can keep the kids’ attention and he knows when to be serious.
Mr. Perry is a social studies teacher here at Hanover High School. This year, he teaches AP US History and Senior Humanities Seminar. In addition to teaching, Mr. Perry also coaches Cross Country in the fall and Track in the spring with Mr. Brown. Below is a transcript of an interview with him.
What is your favorite part about teaching at HHS?
Well, first of all, my most favorite part of teaching is working with kids. Secondly, I really enjoy US History. We have such an interesting and rich history. I enjoy sharing my love of US History with my students.
Do you have any advice for students once they graduate from HHS?
When I was a graduating senior, I lacked confidence in myself which prevented me from pursuing the paths I wanted to pursue at the time (baseball player, acting, politician). Today, I advise my students to follow their passion and not to let anything or anybody get in their way of achieving their dream.
What is your most memorable teaching experience?
During my 17-year career I have had many memorable teaching experiences in the classroom. So many in fact, it’s difficult to name just one. I’ve also had many memorable experiences outside the classroom especially when traveling with students to Europe.
Why did you go into the field of teaching?
Well, teaching was never a thought when I graduated from high school. However, in 1994, after my dad’s sudden death, I decided to change my career path from sales to teaching. I have never regretted my decision. Yet another life lesson that no matter how sad or difficult a situation might be, something positive can come from it if you’re open to it and work hard to achieve it.
Mr. DePatto, the Earth Science and Environmental Science teacher on the second floor, has been teaching for 34 years. He started out in private schools in ’79-’80, and then taught in public schools from the ’90s to the present. Always a lover of science, he’s taught everything from conceptual physics to oceanography (his personal favorite). Jacques Cousteau, the famed 20th century undersea explorer, inspired him to study ocean life through Couseau’s widely acknowledged television program. “The ocean is a whole new world, beneath the surface lies another world,” Mr. DePatto commented.
However, his initial drive was not to become a science teacher. One thing that may not be known about Mr. DePatto is that he originally held off going to college, opting to instead head off to the workforce. During that time, he recalled, he felt a pang of envy toward his former classmates and close friends who attended college. In the end, he decided to attend the former Boston State College to earn a degree in education. “As a young person, I was very athletic, played team sports in high school and college, so my first goal was that I was going to be a teacher, a Phys Ed teacher, or a coach,” Mr. DePatto said. His ambitions changed when he took oceanography electives in college, discovering a new passion. He thus changed his major from a physical education to science.
Earlier in his career, he would consistently volunteer at the New England Aquarium due to his passion for oceanography. “I used to work there behind the scenes, at the GOT, which is the ‘Giant Ocean Tank.’ You could get in there; you could feed the sharks and all the different specimens. It was just a wonderful experience.” The sharks swam with the fish, he explained, and were specifically over-fed, in case an unfortunate viewer fell in. Moreover, behind the shining and pristine glass tank lies an immense amount of work that many visitors don’t see. “Behind the scenes you see how much work it is to make sure that tanks are clean, that specimens are safe. Water temperature’s important, acidity’s important, making sure that everything’s just balanced is a lot of work. I loved it there, absolutely loved it there, and if anybody wants to volunteer and see a different world, the people are great behind the scenes.”
Advice for high school students? “Kids going to college, it’s hard. Kids might not know what they want to do for college, so they’ll leave high school, they become a freshman in college, and sometimes they do know what they want and it’s great, but you have to stick to it because there’s gonna be bumps in the road, highs and lows.” He said that attitude is important, that if you want something, you have to work for it. “You have to set goals, and don’t let anything roadblock you.” He switched majors in college, and described that it was kind of difficult making a transition due to the extra new courses and more hard work. “But when you believe in something, and you love something, you know, [have] the passion and the desire, you must have the commitment with it, because if you don’t have that commitment before your passions and desires, those goals won’t be achieved.” His advice for high school students would be: talk to people, never say “no,” seek out the older and more experienced, never quit, always be relentless, and know that there’s always a way to obtain your goal. Although things might not happen right when you want them to, it’s important to keep pursuing your goals and dreams. “If you’re determined, you’ll find a way,” he remarked. In essence, if you want something and really aspire toward it, hard work and determination will get you there.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the NEA, a click HERE for a link to their website and information on how to get involved.