Mason High School teacher aims to make a difference

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By Scott Peceny
Mason Times staff writer

Tell Andrew Chapin a joke, he’ll laugh. Tell him a problem, he’ll listen.  Ask him for advice, he’ll help.

For the Mason High School physical education and health teacher, teaching is more than just his job, it’s who he is.

The high-energy 32-year-old has a true passion for teaching, and it is apparent in all he does.

Since he began teaching at Mason High School in 2003, Chapin has made sure to educate his students on more than what is printed in the textbook.

“I have the luxury of moving my lesson plans around a little bit and teach life lessons,” said Chapin.  “Math teachers may not be able to do that, but I can, so I think I should.  We teach life lessons; that’s what my job is all about.”

Chapin is involved in a slew of Mason High School events and activities, but helping students is his number one goal.  Chapin does everything in his power to make sure students succeed, and told me that watching students succeed is the most rewarding part of what he does.

“The most rewarding part of my job is definitely watching students be successful, and knowing you had a hand in it,” Chapin said.
One thing that is very clear is that any student with an issue or concern can come to Chapin for advice.

“My door is always open,” said Chapin. “I field one or two phone calls every night from students.”

Chapin’s students appreciate and respect his open-door policy.  The students understand that they have someone to talk to about anything from sports to troubles at home.

A father of three boys aged two months to five years, Chapin sometimes finds himself torn between his family and his students.

“Sometimes it can be hard; ask my wife.  Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but at the end of the day it’s the right thing to do.”

Katie Smith is a former student, and credits Chapin for helping her get through tough times in high school.

“Anytime I had a problem that I couldn’t talk to my parents about, I asked [Chapin] about it,” said Smith.  Whether it was soccer or whatever, he could always talk.” Smith added that “[Chapin’s] advice is awesome. He’s made a great impact on my life.”

The effort that Chapin puts in is not limited to Mason High School.  Chapin has participated in marathons on several occasions.  Most notably, Chapin ran a marathon with two of his students, finishing in less than four hours.  This summer, Chapin also helped a fellow teacher train for a half-marathon.

Chapin looks forward to the future, but admitted that he can’t predict it.

“I don’t know what my future plans are, I just know that I love teaching.  My passion is here, and I’ll probably be a teacher here for 35-40 years.  I do know that at the end of the day, I love my job, I love it here; I love making a difference with people.”

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