Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by: Rosario Tine and Michael Laperriere
Wethersfield High School is full of extraordinary staff members who make up the community of the school. Each staff member brings their own unique touch into WHS. They try their hardest to make WHS a safe and welcoming community to all and provide each and every student the best 4 years of their life. There isn't a lack of effort from teachers to make a connection with students, however there are two members of the staff that Michael Laperriere and Ross Tine would like to spotlight, Mr Maltese and Mr. Martin.
Trumpets and drums from the marching band echo in one ear, while rowdy students chant ¨Let's go Eagles” in the other.
It’s all in a day's work for Mr. Michael Maltese.
Mr. Maltese is Wethersfield High School’s assistant principal and athletic director who does a lot of the behind the scenes work that most kids don’t see. Almost every student in the school will recognize Maltese, not only as a figure of authority, but as a leader and mentor.
Maltese has been an icon at Wethersfield High School for 10 years now, heavily involved in the Athletics Department. Most students participate in a sport at WHS, which makes a strong community.
When asking Maltese about the athletic aspect of Wethersfield High School community, he said, “Well I think athletics or any clubs and extracurricular activities gives students a chance to show community and school pride, you get to exemplify what it means to be part of something greater than yourself.”
Being a part of a group such as a sports team is crucial to the high school experience, it can be an outlet from many problems that a high school student might face.
Maltese is passionate about student development and he believes that athletics is a great way to shape a student into a better person, “We are teaching many things beyond the sport itself. We are teaching life skills, teaching how to have teamwork, and how to act win or lose .''
Being a student-athlete is never easy with juggling schoolwork while competing everyday can be a struggle, but having these skills taught through sports certainly makes a student a more responsible individual.
Being at this school for as long as a decade, there are sure to be personal highlights and accomplishments he has experienced though his tenure here, when asking him this he had this to say, “We were building a unified sports program which didn’t exist when I came to Wethersfield High School, giving a chance to some individuals who may not be able to be on a competitive varsity team, a chance to play with other people and compete in front of a crowd and seeing the pure joy on those individuals' faces is something I would be most proud of.” Unfortunately, since COVID-19 broke out in late 2019, the unified sports program has been put to a pause, hopefully as more vaccinations are distributed the program is incorporated back into the school.
Maltese isn’t just a staff member at Wethersfield High School, he goes above and beyond to make sure each and every student has an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. His dedication to working may go unnoticed by some. Maltese is certainly a key part at WHS, we thank Maltese for all he does here.
Students stress about an assignment by saying phrases such as, “Oh no Martin, this is due at the end of class?!?” Or just because of the daily teenage challenges they face.
It’s all a daily occurrence for Mr. John Bernard Martin III (JBM3)
Waking up at 5:30 in the morning Martin gets ready for the first of his many jobs, being a Crossfit coach. Then at 7 o'clock, he goes straight to Wethersfield High School ready to teach. Even with all the demand Martin faces as a teacher, he still manages to find time to help his students
Martin has been an English teacher here at Wethersfield High School for 9 years. To him, one of the most notable things he has experienced in this school system is the large amount of support he consistently receives from the staff, even noting “This is the first school I ever felt at home in.”
The previous school districts Mr. Martin had worked in had left him yearning for a community that he can call his own, something that he found at Wethersfield.
But getting to be everyone's favorite teacher and person hasn't always been easy for Martin.
“When I got here I was not a good teacher, I often look back at what I taught and how I taught it and especially how long things took, and I'm so ashamed that I laugh.”
This is very surprising given his accolades and work outside of the school, but ultimately it shows his humbleness and his ability to recognize his flaws and especially do everything to amend his flaws. “I'm ultimately competitive.”
He goes on to elaborate his drive to be the best teacher he can be and fight for kids to enjoy the content that he's teaching, while at the same time is competitive with himself to become a better teacher and person.
Through his hard work and determination, he earned the district's teacher of the year award and a state finalist for the award in 2020.
When asked why he became a teacher and why he has such a profound impact on Wethersfield High School and its students, he said, “High school was not a fun four years for me and often times, I felt like I wasn't good enough, but it was the teachers that I had that helped me to see what I failed to see in myself.”
Martin has been on a mission to ensure that each and every student feels worthy and feels as if they are good enough. Through his bubbly personality and hard working nature, you can walk through the halls of WHS and see why students love him. The number of kids that go into his room just to talk is astounding.
It's a wonder he has time to get any work done, but the students at Wethersfield High School truly know Martin as a Hero, whether it be academically or socially.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.