The Boys are Back in Town: A New Perspective on Faculty Friendships


THEY OWN THESE HALLS: (from left to right) Eric Mongirdas, Jonathan Shepro, Jesse Bauks, Lenny Klein, Brian Scott and David Willick walk down a second floor hallway.

Michael Berlin ’11 & Jordan Glick ’11
Guest Writers

THEY OWN THESE HALLS: (from left to right) Eric Mongirdas, Jonathan Shepro, Jesse Bauks, Lenny Klein, Brian Scott and David Willick walk down a second floor hallway.

Forget Vinny Chase and Ari Gold; Staples has its own Entourage. Informally known as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, these learned men bring comedy and camaraderie to Staples.

Spanning across departmental boundaries, the eclectic group of Lenny Klein, Jesse Bauks, Eric Mongirdas, David Willick, Brian Scott, and Jon Shepro never misses an opportunity to crack a joke, especially at each other’s expense.

Within the confines of the Social Studies department exists a, “battle of intellectual prowess between the Mongenius and Willick,” said Scott, at which point Willick butted in, “A battle which Girdy continually loses.” Mongirdas was given the nickname “the Mongenius” by his peers, after being quoted in a previous Inklings article in which he aptly said, “Anything can affect anything.”

The lone representative of the English department, Bauks, says that “fashion is always a hot topic” amongst the group. Known for their innate sense of style, Bauks jokes that the triple entente of Willick, Shepro, and Mongirdas can frequently be seen channeling their inner thespians by wearing black shirts with black pants.

“It’s like something out of “Wild Hogs,” he says. “On those days I like to tease them for teaching fascism.”

With a golden twinkle in his eye, Bauks reminisces his days as a player on the staff team of the IBA (Intramural Basketball

Association), in which faculty and students competed in friendly basketball matches. Coming in at a menacing 6’3”, Bauks was known for his aggressive play, 1970’s NBA mid-thigh replica shorts, and trademark catchphrase “Let’s get tropical.”

Also on the team was Lenny “The Black Hole” Klein, nicknamed for his league worst assist to turnover ratio. Bauks remembers all too well that “if you dished the rock to the Black Hole, you weren’t gonna see it again.”

Teaching isn’t the only responsibility that these men have. In fact, they each manage a team in the widely acclaimed and cut-throat Social Studies/ English interdepartmental fantasy baseball league. As league administrator, Willick servesas overseer of trades and the often-controversial rule change.

“He models his role as commissioner most closely off the fascist ideologies of, Mussolini” says Shepro. “As far as fantasy is concerned, it probably upsets the people in the office the mostwhen we are shouting trades across the cubicles.”

In recent news, Bauks’ team has caught fire and he has jumped from second-to-last to first place.

And though Mongirdas may hit home runs in the classroom, his team is not nearly as successful. He recently fell from second to last to last place.

Much like the boys from Queens Boulevard, some of these teachers have known each other for years—long before their days of fame and glory at Staples. Klein and Shepro have been the best of friends since the tender age of 13. It’s local legend that on occasion Klein still sports his “I Had a Swingin’ Time at Shep’s Rock and Roll Bar Mitzvah” t-shirt.

When the tandem of Shepro and Klein arrived to teach at Trumbull High School, their wolf-pack tripled in size, adding the likes of John Wetzel, Pat Micinillio, Will Wilkes, and Dan Geraghty. The tight knit crew all ended up with positions here at Staples, where their friendships have continued both on and off school grounds.

It’s not uncommon to run into these all stars at a local paddle tennis court, where they can frequently be found battling it out in contests of racquet based athleticism. When asked where and when these matches occur, Wetzel replied, “If I told you I’d have to kill you.”

Don’t let their reputations on the court intimidate you: all of these teachers are equally as friendly with each other as they are with every staff member and student around the school.

Shepro stresses the importance of “coming to work and keeping your sanity. It’s great to enjoy what you do and also enjoy the people you do it with.”

Apart from his comedic stylings, Shepro understands the role of a teacher is not just to impart knowledge, but to bring a certain joie de vivre to the classroom and to teach students beyond the curriculum. “I think of myself as a role model, as someone who students see as an educator but also as an approachable adult.”

Klein agrees completely. He truly appreciates how all of his co-workers at Staples “started as just colleagues, but have now developed into lifelong friends.”