On June 20, 2014, in matching cap and gown, Staples’ seniors will march solemnly to “Pomp and Circumstance,” shake hands with Principal Dodig, smile a wistful smile, and graduate from high school.
Behind them stand their teachers, some of whom have known the graduates since their freshman year, what feels like centuries ago. As they leave, teachers are left with memories of the seniors in math, history, science and English class, courses that seemed like a mundane routine at the time but now will never happen again.
Antonio Coccoli, an environmental teacher, really enjoyed his seniors. Every year, Environmental goes on a camping trip, for three days and a few nights. Coccoli calls the experience one of his fondest memories. “It was phenomenal. They are such a great bunch of kids,” Coccoli says. He cites hiking the Appalachian trail as a beautiful experience, and a great chance for his students to bond.
While Coccoli remembers his students from their outdoor adventures, radio and film teacher Michael Zito remembers his students inside, electricity fully functional. Zito will remember his senior class as collectively gifted, humble students unaware of their own incredible talent.
“We just finished our final films, and there’s so many senior filmmakers whose names I wouldn’t be surprised to see roll on Hollywood film credits,” Zito says.
In particular, Zito notes that Jack Craymer ’14 was an extremely talented filmmaker.
“He did a film you could see on television, and you wouldn’t have a single clue a high schooler made it,” Zito says. “It was about love. It was visually so stunning.”
In the radio department, Zito praises Wyatt Davis ’14, whom he has known since he was an eighth grader, visiting Staples in preparation for his freshman year.
“Wyatt has cerebral palsy, he has no use of his arms or legs, and he’s been on radio at Staples for four years. I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and teaching him has been the most remarkable experience. I’ve learned so much from teaching Wyatt.”
Maggie Gomez, a calculus honors teacher, echoes Zito’s and Coccoli’s warm memories. She notes that every year, the graduating seniors have bright kids, “but this year especially, the senior class was very academically strong, which was great for me as a teacher.”
In Gomez’s math class, “Everyone was very quirky, and they all had such different personalities,” Gomez says. Sitting next to Gomez, Max Wimer ’15 laughs along, agreeing with his teacher’s sentiments. Quirky and big personalities seems like an apt description.
“They definitely made for some interesting class time,” Gomez says.