Reliving freshman year

Hasmik Djoulakian

(June 10, 2011) — After more than four years of knowing him, senior Andrew Reyes still thinks of P.E. teacher Chris Axelgard in the same way. “He is still the loud, strict, motivating and caring type of guy. He always looks out for his students and is a positive influence to the athletes in the school,” Reyes says. Axelgard has a firm stance when it comes to teaching methods. “September and October, they hate it. By November, they’ve figured out that I’m the boss and starting with December, for me as a teacher, it starts to become fun.” His philosophy is to start off with a ‘don’t be afraid to discipline attitude,’ because he believes that teachers who are lenient at first and try to become disciplinarians later have a harder time. “I really enjoy my job,” he says. He finds it rewarding to see the seniors with beards, when just a few years ago in his class they were only kids. “Andrew Reyes and I butted heads pretty much daily,” Axelgard says about Reyes, who now is Axelgard’s TA. Some of Reyes’s favorite memories from the two months which he had with Axelgard before he left for the soccer team at Crescenta Valley include the dreaded “shuffle.” He and the other students would line up in rows and do the workout while listening to what Reyes calls Axelgard’s favorite song, “Move It.” Even as a TA, Reyes says he finds the song still has an effect on him. He especially remembers Axelgard teasing him for the way he wore his hats. “Now I believe he’s grown to understand that hats aren’t used for sun wear but more for fashion,” Reyes says. For that reason and others like it, the two have come to appreciate each other. Like Reyes, senior Harout Kardzhyan is now a TA for a teacher whom he has a lot of respect for: health and college prep teacher Mrs. Judy Sanzo. ” I think she is a great teacher and that she really cares for all her students like they are her family and wants the best for them, ” Kardzhyan says. Kardzhyan especially likes the way that Sanzo teaches and finds that he learned a lot in her class. Aside from learning, Kardzhyan took away much from his year with Sanzo. ” I learned that I can do anything that I set my mind to and that I can be responsible and accountable for my actions with the work I do, ” he says. Kardzhyan also likes the energy that Sanzo emits to her students. He says he wished he had had another year of her class amidst stressful classes. Now that he gets to help her and is no longer a student, he feels like he has a backstage view of what it takes to run a class. Being in the same classroom which he was in his first day of school and not being in the students’ seats but rather looking out at them, Kardzhyan can’t help but muse over his growth.” For me, I think that every day in the class reminded me of my freshman year and the way I used to act in class and make it hard on the teacher to teach,” he says. “But when I saw that all from another point I saw that it really does affect the teacher even if it’s just one student causing all the trouble.” For him, the experience has been rewarding and has helped to solidify the feeling of departure. Although he has felt pangs of nostalgia throughout the year, he now feels ready and comfortable enough to make a new start and be a freshman once again.