There is an old adage claiming “those who can’t do, teach.” However, here at Staples, there are many teachers who prove this adage wrong. Physics teacher Humphrey Wong is one of these teachers.
While his typical day at Staples may begin with a cup of coffee and a scribbled out to-do list pocketed with his iPhone and glasses, it is what Wong has done outside of school that transcends beyond the manila folders and knick knacks that surround his desk.
A master of karate, a leader in a coalition against lead poisoning, a cat lover, a math-science mentor for underprivileged students and a comic book enthusiast, Wong certainly has a lot on his plate.
A plate which (dare I say?) he could chop in half if he really wanted to.
The hallways often buzz about Wong’s quirky demonstrations, but he is famous for his board-breaking lab practicals. “I believe it’s a really helpful demonstration,” Wong remarked with a laugh. “When you think about it, chopping a board in half may seem very difficult, but the key is actually not to think about it.” Wong explained, generally, people do not fully commit to something that they may fail at. “But, if you fully commit and put everything you have into something, like chopping wood or executing a Lutz in ice-skating, you will succeed. It’s all about trust in physics.”
And trust in physics is something Wong certainly has. For years, Wong has used his passion for physics to make an impact, whether it be with a student struggling to grasp a concept on their next test or helping to rebuild a school in a dilapidated area of China.
It is because of his many talents that some may ask what a man like Wong is doing teaching. “I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of things in my life, but what I found out when tutoring in a jump-start math and science program was that I loved teaching,” Wong said. “Interacting with people and feeling like you have an influence on them, especially in a field like engineering or physics, is something I discovered was extremely rewarding, and that’s where teaching comes into play.”
It’s not only clear to Wong that he has a passion for teaching, but this passion is clear to his students. “For Dr. Wong, teaching at Staples isn’t a job, it’s a choice, and you can tell he definitely enjoys it,” Ruby Dener ’16 said.
Wong’s eyes light up at the mention of many topics―Spider-man, Scrabble and “Supernatural” to list a few. But he becomes most passionate when delving deep into more thought-probing subjects, such as foreign affairs, social change, astronomy and, of course, physics. His interest in human interaction and service combined with engineering and technology suggests he is a jack-of-all-trades.
Dener though, fortunate enough to have Wong not once but twice in her high school career, says it best: “He is so many things besides a teacher; an inventor, a researcher, a philanthropist and more, but he chooses to teach because he truly wants to, and that is deeply evident in his dedication to the sciences.”