Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi
Year after year, Jamesville-DeWitt High School graduates leave the district enlightened, well-prepared for the real world, and looking forward to what may come. Traveling near and far to their next journey in life, some choose to come back to where their careers began.
The J-D alumni that have returned to their roots, and are here to pass on what they learned in their high school years are history teacher Andrew Cottet, math teacher Charles Clinton, math teacher Michael Daly, science teacher Elise Jutzeler and English teacher Joseph Goldberg.
Walking the halls with a new perspective was unquestionably “weird” for Mr. Daly, who is in his fourth year at J-DHS. Mr. Clinton had a similar experience; “when I first came back, it was definitely different. There were so many teachers still here that had taught me,” said Mr. Clinton, who graduated from J-D in 1992, and is currently in his 15th year teaching. One element that made the transition so difficult for the returning grads was the relationship with their new colleagues. “The first name thing is crazy,” said Mr. Daly. Getting used to calling a former teacher by their first name “took (him) years ... to become second nature,” said Mr. Daly. Science teacher Elise Juetzler, who graduated in 2003, now works alongside many of her old teachers; “Principal Paul Gasparini was my principal, music teacher Elizabeth Quackenbush was my choral teacher, guidance Cletus Gualtieri was my guidance counselor, science teacher Charlie May taught me Earth Science, history teacher Donna Oppedisano taught me government, and there are many more,” says Ms. Jutzeler.
Over the years, the high school has evolved with the changing times, updating everything from classrooms to computers. Many of the J-D grads have yet to notice any dramatic changes, but there are little things here and there that are different. One of the biggest changes is the continually improving technology each year. New and different teaching techniques continue to evolve with the times, and so have the quality of the lessons taught here at J-DHS.
One thing the graduates not has not changed is the athletic program at “the greatest high school in America,” as Principal Gasparini likes to say. “The teams continue to be competitive and win sectional championships every year,” said Mr. Daly. He specifically noted the Boys Varsity Lacrosse team being successful, considering their recent state championship. Mr. Cottet graduated in 2005 and was a member of both the varsity football and basketball teams. Now Mr.Cottet coaches varsity football as an assistant along side his old coach, social studies teacher and Varsity Football Head Coach Eric Ormond. “I love being a part of the team that I used to play for,” said Cottet. Many didn’t plan on coming back, yet found themselves appreciating their home community more the second time around.