News from Patrick Henry High School – Sept. 15, 2017

By Elizabeth Gillingham

Meet new staff at Henry

Patrick Henry High School is pleased to welcome several new faces around campus as we had several staff members retire last year.

In the math department, we have Tomas Cometto coming from Clairemont High School, Chris Coman from Hoover High School, Tim Reinheimer coming from Alba, and Sheldon Watkins coming from out of state — South Carolina.

(l to r) Jim Spradlin, Amy Vanella, Erin Fink, Rachel Samuelsz, Tim Reinheimer, Sheldon Watkins, Christopher Coman, Michael McVeigh and Tomas Cometto (Courtesy PHHS)

All four teachers have a wealth of teaching experience and are already showing great promise in helping our students learn how to solve equations. Watkins will be teaching both math and science as well as coaching our baseball team.

Rachel Samuelsz is our new choir teacher and comes to us from Hoover High School. She is filled with great ideas on how to grow our program and we’re excited to hear our students sing under her leadership.

Tony Velarde and Michael Maley have joined us as our new NJROTC instructors. Maley started at the end of last year and this is Velarde’s first year in a teaching assignment, although he had experience working with young recruits as part of his work in the military. Malay retired last year from the Navy and joins us with great enthusiasm for working with high school students.

Richard Abney is our new engineering teacher and had experience supporting students at Hoover as a volunteer. His extensive career working at Qualcomm as an engineer will serve our students well as they learn from someone who was in the field for over 20 years.

Donald Samuels is a counselor from Mission Bay and he’ll be working with our students on a part-time basis.

We were also fortunate to add Michael McVeigh who will be teaching Spanish and has experience teaching high school from Scripps Ranch High School. He most recently was a resource teacher supporting other world language teachers in the district. Allison Medina is our new ASL (American Sign Language) teacher and is excited to work with high school students teaching first and third year ASL. We are thrilled to have them both join our world language teaching team.

In science, we are adding two new teachers. Erin Fink, a long-time Henry substitute and student teacher extraordinaire from last year and she will be teaching physics. Students loved Ms. Fink and we’re lucky to have been able to keep her at Henry. We also added Steven Maloney who is a chemistry and physics teacher this year. Mr. Maloney has over 20 years of teaching experience and is already making an impression with his students.

We added two new English teachers to Henry. Amy Vanella comes to us from De Portola Middle School in Tierrasanta and has been teaching there for over a decade. Jim Hernandez joined us after working at Mira Mesa last year and also had high reviews from his last assignment. This fine duo will certainly add to our already outstanding cadre of English teachers at Henry.

Patrick Schoettler joined us after working at Millennial Tech Middle School. Mr. Schoettler will be teaching history and heading up our AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. His enthusiasm and expertise is hard not to notice when working with his students and we’re thrilled to have him as a Patriot.

Sara Guinn is also a new face in the counseling office and she is ready to help anyone make an appointment with a counselor or provide any other support to the students at Henry.

And finally, our IT department is headed up by Mr. Jim Spradlin, joining us from the district’s IT department and we’re excited to have his new energy around campus to help with our growing technology needs.

It certainly was a busy summer for us and we are very anxious to see how our new additions contribute to our outstanding program at PHHS!


PHHS welcomes over 2,400 students

PHHS opened its doors on Aug. 28 to over 2,400 students. Students settled into their new schedules quickly and the first week started off in a positive format even with excessive heat indexes that were reported around the city.

The students ended the week with a Welcome Back Rally where the students cheered their teachers who competed in events and were introduced by department with a theme song to get the year started in a fun way. Link Crew team members led the rally and introduced a theme of “Odd Rooms against the Even Rooms” to create unity and friendly competitions among the students.


Fall sports begins

Darla Chistensen aced a par 3 in her match against Helix. (Courtesy PHHS)

Girl’s golf has started off with a special event. Senior Darla Christensen aced the menacing, uphill par 3 nine-hole at Mission Trails on Wednesday in her match against Helix High.

Getting a hole in one is never easy but to have it occur during a match makes it extra special for Darla and our team. Go Patriots!

Our cross-country team is also proud to welcome a new freshman joining our school from De Portola Middle School.

Cormac Evans has been seen running around the neighborhood pushed by his mom Cindy in various half marathons around town.

Through this interest, she asked cross-country coach, Andrew Myette, if there could be space on the cross-country team at PHHS for him to participate in.

Cormac Evans is the latest addition to the Henry cross country team. (Courtesy PHHS)

Coach Myette responded positively from the beginning and as a direct result, Evans is officially on the team and competing when possible in a few meets that are wheelchair accessible.

He has been attending practices regularly and is happy to receive the cheers and high fives as he participates with his mom and gets the opportunity to compete in races at the high school level!

—Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.

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