What you don't know about the teachers at J-DHS

Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, and Michael Bratslavsky

Staff Writers

There are over a hundred teachers at Jamesville-DeWitt High School that we see everyday. But, do we really know them? Hidden within these teachers are special talents not many would expect them to have. There are teachers that dance, play table tennis, cook and clean, participate in volleyball leagues, make soap, do magic, and much more.

Student Counselor Will Hartley says that his hidden talent is his dancing.  He said he has been a good dancer ever since he was little. “I was born with the talent, ever since I was in the crib I was moving to music,” said Mr. Hartley. He said that he likes to dance as much as he can and he tries to dance daily.

However, Mr. Hartley isn’t the only one that has the moves. Librarian Mary Panek dances as well but in the form of ballet. She started ballet when she was 7, but started tap dancing at 5. Ms. Panek said she has been in somewhat of a slump recently but she usually dances about once a week.

Sports are also a big activity that teachers pursue. Social studies teacher Vitaliy Yanchuk plays table tennis with his family and friends. When his father bought a table for him about 10 years ago, he learned to play and still enjoys it today. “Every time you play is interesting,” said Mr. Yanchuk.

Music teacher Daniel Blumenthal has been playing in a beach volleyball league with some of his friends for the last two years. “When I started I wasn’t that good but after a couple months of playing we got better and moved up to more advanced leagues,” said Mr. Blumenthal. Only a few of his students are familiar with his talent since he talks about it occasionally in class.

Many teachers’ talents take place in the home. Special education teacher Juan Martinez enjoys cooking at home for himself and his family, as does math teacher Dawn Janicki, who cooks French cuisine. Mr. Martinez says that he learned his talent of cooking from his mother, who he used to cook with, while Mrs. Janicki learned via cookbooks and videos.

One of the special education teacher Mike Melfi has the ability to clean. Cleaning played a big role in his life, ever since his mom taught him to keep everything tidy. Lots of helpful things have come out of it, too, including getting closer to a girl he was dating, who would later become his wife.  

Physics teacher Rich Adler makes soap in his spare time. Instead of wasting grease from his dinner, he has been using it to make soap. He hasn’t bought a bar of soap in over five years and will be displaying them in the Faculty Arts and Crafts sale.   

Art teacher Mark McIntyre likes to do magic tricks for his students and even used to perform for the students at the elementary schools where he was before coming to the the high school.  He taught himself how to do these using websites and magic books, and also bought objects for magic. A previous student once told their mother who then told Mr. McIntyre the following: “Mom, I know three people in this world that are magic, Santa Claus, God, and Mr. McIntyre.”

Teachers have many interesting talents that students do not know about. There are many things that we don’t know about the staff at the J-DHS community. Teachers are only a title but on the inside they have another identity.