By Elizabeth DiGenarro
One of the most important aspects of any school community is its teachers. At Jamesville-DeWitt High School, many members of the faculty have distinguished themselves as compassionate leaders, both in and out of the classroom. However, a favorite teacher is Walter Dodge, who many students remember for his work as a substitute teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt Middle School. This year, students were greeted with a familiar face when Mr. Dodge began subbing at J-DHS.
“After I retired, I missed teaching and working with students. The answer (to this problem) was subbing,” says Mr. Dodge. This decision sparked many positive reactions from the J-D community. “I am so excited that Mr. Dodge is (at J-DHS) now. He was one of my favorite teachers in middle school,” says senior Kate Sciera. “He’s a really great guy, and he cares a lot about his students,” says student teacher Amber Cosette, who knows Mr. Dodge through the gymnastics team at Syracuse University. “He’s really cool; I like him a lot,” says senior Thomas Iandolo. However, despite their praise of Mr. Dodge, many people remain unaware of his interesting and successful past.
“I grew up in Philadelphia, and went to Syracuse University on a track and gymnastics scholarship, (where I) received a Bachelor of Arts in Health & Physical education in 1960, and a Masters Degree in Science of Education in 1966,” says Mr. Dodge. After college, Mr. Dodge worked as a teaching assistant at Syracuse University, then began work at Tecumseh Elementary and taught a health class at J-DHS. In 1979, he became at teacher at J-DMS, where he remained until his retirement. Even after a career spanning many years, Mr. Dodge returned to J-D the same year that he retired. “I began substitute teaching the same year and am still doing that,” says Mr. Dodge.
Though he is in his late 70s, Mr. Dodge still paricipates in many interesting activities. The first of these is gymnastics. “I was on the Syracuse gymnastics team for four years, and was voted ‘most valuable’ for three of those years,” says Mr. Dodge. Mr. Dodge also became a national gymnastics judge, and was chosen as a national coach in 1984. Now, he coaches club gymnastics at S.U. “I’m on the women’s gymnastics club team (at S.U.), so I see him all the time. He’s great with his gymnasts,” says Ms. Cosette. Aside from gymnastics, Mr. Dodge teaches a class at S.U. in physical education, studies French, plays bridge, and spends time at his log cabin in Canada. “But best of all is substitute teaching,” says Mr. Dodge.