Interview with Andrew Delponte, 04/23/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Arica Kite, Interviewer | uwocs_Andrew_Delponte_04232016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


AK: Okay my name is Arica Kite. I am the interviewer.

AD: And My name is Andrew Del Ponte. I am the narrator.

AK: The date is Saturday April 23rd 2016. So tell me about where you grew up.

AD: I grew up in Lomira, Wisconsin. It's right off of what is now Interstate 41. Thirty, thirty-five minutes south of Oshkosh. It's a pretty rural community. I went to Lomira Public School. Lomira High School. I graduated with a class of 96 which was a big class for Lomira, Which kind of gives you an idea of where we're at on that. But yeah. Small, close-knit community but a good place to grow up.

AK: And what was your neighborhood like?

AD: My neighborhood, I actually grew up more in the country outside of the 1:00village itself, lived on a street, there were just two houses back there. Grandparent's one mile- one in one direction one mile. One in the other direction one mile. Family-family all around.

AK: And what values did you gain from growing up in a small town

AD: I think in a small town you end up learning, you know, that it's important to, you know, stick together, support each other, help each other, be there because either it's your family or there are people there who, it's just them and they need an adopted family, I suppose. So you end up learning to support each other, stick together and help each other.


AK: Okay. And your family? What did your parents do for a living?

AD: My Dad is an electrician. He worked at Grande Cheese for a while, and then when I was in high school he moved to Quad Graphics. My mom she worked on her dad's farm, which, you know, I ended up working on, my sister ended up working on, my whole big family operation there, and then like I said, it was family-wise, my mom and dad, me and my sister.

AK: Okay. What kind of farm was that?

AD: For- When I was working on the farm, it was pretty diversified, they had the cow operation- milk cows, and then they also raised hogs on the farm, and 3:00then when I got out of high school they started to phase out the hog side of things, and move just to dairy. Obviously the agriculture thing, but most of the crop growing was simply to support the animals on the farm, not a whole lot of extra to sell off.

AK: and was it commercial- the animals, milked for commercial use or for home sustainment?

AD: No. IT was commercial. They sold the milk, went off to a butter and cheese making company.

AK: okay, and your parents, did they grow up in the town you grew up in, then

AD: My mom did. My dad- they moved around that general area. SO I would say 4:00both of them pretty much grew up there. They both went to Lomira high school.

AK: and you said that you had grandparents in the area, did you have any other extended family in the immediate area?

AD: The whole everyone. My, my mom's brother, they were just the two in that family, he lived just down the street from my grandparents, They had their farm that my grandpa ran that was split into two farms separated by essentially a couple, a couple of different fields. SO he lived right down the street, so he was right there. On my dad's side, he had two sisters. They both lived within ten minutes of everyone, so aunts and uncles were all there. No one even out of 5:00the area code.

AK: SO you saw them often then?

AD: Yes.

AK: Okay. What did your parents expect of you, growing up?

AD: I think- In the grand Scheme of things, I would say, I think my parent's philosophy was always just, you know, 'We expect you to do your best.' Now there was never a push saying that I had to be a straight 'A' student or anything like that, but my parents general rule was, I think was more Mom's rule and dad went with it but, the general rule was, you know, in school, more A's than B's, you know, got to have A's and B's though, which overall, I thought was- I thought was pretty fair. When it came to different activities they were all about trying, you know, try it, see if you like it, if you don't, that's okay, we'll play out the one season and you can try something else. So, a little bit of baseball, a little bit of soccer, a little bit of football, you know, all sorts 6:00of different things. They were always about 'Try it see if you like it, and then, you know, we'll go from there, but if you are going to try it, you are going to try your best.

AK: And, so education was important to you, then?

AD: Education was important, although, to be fair, you could go back now and look at my high school transcripts, and you'll know which classes I liked. If I liked they were A's, if I didn't, you know, necessarily love it, those were the B's. But education was important and I think, you know, that was something where they probably came, I mean, my mom was a very good student in high school, I mean she did really well. But I think it ended up coming more so from my dad, because my dad was not so much. I mean, He did fine, he graduated, he had alright grades and all, but he- he was that kid in high school who you know, 'I'm just here.' You know, 'I'm going to do my thing and get my grades, and you 7:00know, it is what it is.' But, you know, he didn't necessarily live up to all of things academically that he maybe could have done. You know, not that he doesn't love his job- enjoy his job as an electrician, because he does and he makes good money, but I think he also knows that, you know, he would have been capable of being, perhaps and electrical engineer, or something like that and now, I think especially at this point in his like, when he gets ten years from retirement , I think sometimes he really thinks about, you know, "If I would have tried a little harder then, maybe I wouldn't have to physically work so hard now." Which, you know, but he pushed us, you know, to take advantage of the gifts that we had, so that we could give ourselves the best opportunities.

AK: And then, For your community, Is there somewhere that everyone kind of hung 8:00out together, or somewhere you really enjoyed being?

AD: I think with it being such a small town, there wasn't really one big hangout spot, if you were going to hang out with a group of friends, it was either someone's house, or we could go to Fond Du Lac and that was just about a twenty minute drive, but, you know, In high school, who had the money to, you know, drive around and go20 minutes to hang out? And when we were younger than that, no one's parents were going to drive you up there, so you know, it ended up being a hang out at people's houses, being a small town, a lot of people were involved in their different church organizations and things like that so, you had a lot of- You had a lot of people who were involved in like their youth groups, and things like that, and even honestly some of the kids who didn't even necessarily have a strong religious background, you know, if you were hanging 9:00out, it was at school, it was at church, or it was someone's house. And you know, Sometimes people just didn't want to be at home, so it was school- school, church or bust, I suppose. So, you know, a lot of, I would say, the biggest place of meeting up, would probably end up being in church if you weren't at a school function.

AK: And then, was church important to you, or your family growing up?

AD: Church was huge in my family, my grandpa was the president of the church council multiple times in his life, my dad served on the church council a number of time as well. There was a stretch in my life probably middle school, parts of-early parts of high school, where I thought maybe instead of, you know, I-I had an interest in teaching and there was a part of me that for a while thought 10:00about, maybe I could do the whole pastor thing. And I thought about that, and when it came down to it, you know, One of the things That really did it for me was that I didn't think I could be the person to sit there and hold an old lady's hand while her husband dies. I-I didn't think that that was something that I could handle and I think that that ended up being beyond all things the biggest thing that pushed me into teaching is not- not having to do that. I don't --I don't think I could have done that.

AK: What about other organizations, like 4-H, FFA?

AD: When- When I was in high school, I was in FFA [Future Farmers of America], I joined that actually in 8th grade. Did that all four years of high school. I was 11:00-- I was the treasurer of the FFA for my senior year. My junior year I was the sentinel, which is essentially is just maintaining order in the room, and then my senior year I was also the president of the National Honor Society. At my high school, you got- you couldn't join National Honor Society until the end of your junior year. Induction was in spring and then you were essentially members for just your senior year. At my high school the band was gigantic, I mean we were a school 400 kids and there were 120, 125 kids in band. So I was pretty involved in that. Our band was really good. Really due to the result of the director. I mean he- he insisted on commitment. We would march in parades over 12:00summer and that was just a non-negotiable. It wasn't a 'Oh, you know, if you're in band and you're interested, you can march." No .If you're in band, you're in the marching band and that's how it was. You know, and the same thing with pep band. You know, he would have- he would hang these sheets outside his office and if you weren't going to be there for pep band, you had to sign up on the sheet. You had to give your reason why. You know, he would only take so many excuses, over the course of whatever. Whatever season we were in so, you know, a lot of -- a lot of involvement in band. For three years of high school I was in forensics. I did extemporaneous for speaking for two years that one you get your topic 30 minutes before you give your speech, you know, you have thirty minutes to write it. And then my senior year I switched to oratory and then I did a 13:00speech for that and I used it for an American legion scholarship competition and went to state with the scholarship competition and won a bunch of smaller prizes and things like that and actually that competition itself ended up paying a good chunk of my tuition my first year of college. I played soccer all 4 years. I was on varsity all 4 years. Played basketball my freshman year. Basketball didn't go so well. The head basketball coach was the head football coach and well he didn't -- he didn't have an overly kind view of the soccer team, because when the soccer team started he lost a bunch of you know, his fast athletic kids to soccer and he really viewed that as a hit on the football program and kind of, I think, had a -- I think he had a little ill will towards the soccer team that he 14:00carried for a while and that ill will from basketball, or from football carried over to basketball season so, to be a soccer player, unless you could shoot the lights out, basketball probably wasn't going to- wasn't going to be a big thing. So I only played my freshman year and didn't get a lot of minutes as a result and then in high school I picked up golf so my senior year I played golf 'cause why not?, you know go outside and enjoy the spring afternoons and play a free few holes of golf wasn't something I argue against. So between all those things. You know, High school was- High school was busy between classes and extracurriculars and you know, still being small town youth groups and things like that.

AK: Okay. Then education in your community, how valued was that, was it like-


AD: Education was huge in Lomira. Everyone every year after all of the testing happened for the state, everyone got you know, the test results, the local newspaper would, you know, post the rankings of the schools based on test scores and we were expected to be the top school in the conference and we always- we almost always were. It was huge. Our teachers in school had high expectations. I mean, we- we did well. We didn't have a lot of- we didn't have a very large population of kids who were just there because they had to be. You know, everyone came in with kind of a pretty clear picture of you know, no matter what I want to do, whether I'm going to college with aspirations of a doctorate or you know, a "I'm going to go work at whatever factory you know, 16:00Quad Graphics or something like that or you know, small town," I'm going to blow this popsicle stand the day after graduation." Everyone kind of knew and the teachers did a really good job of making it pretty clear, "this is important because- " You know, so everyone knew- everyone kind of knew, "I need to do this. I need to learn this." You know, we never had problems with truancy. Everyone was at school all the time. I mean, we had a police liaison officer who, I mean, she was just there. She didn't need to be there, but everyone- you know, so everyone was best friends with her because she was a nice lady. Her son was in my class, then her younger son was two classes behind us. She would laugh and joke around with everyone, she just enjoyed her job because no one go in 17:00trouble. I mean, we didn't have a place for detention. We didn't have a place for in-school suspension. I mean, it was a big deal if someone even got detention. It- It didn't happen. You know, everyone knew that they were there and had a job to do and those 4 years were going to be fun, you had a- it was a small school so there were lots of opportunities. Everyone made the team. You know, cuts really weren't- cuts really weren't a thing, we were fairly decent at all of our athletics. We were very good at a lot of our extracurriculars. I mean, Forensics was really, really good. Our band was really good. There were so many things even our musicals, we would sell out three shows-four shows, and to sell out four shows in a town of a thousand people, I mean, They were fairly decent. Everyone came because you know, there [unclear] so many quality 18:00activities that everyone was involved. And you know, even the kids you'd classify at a lot of schools as (air quotes) "The shop kids" you know even the shop kids were there because they- they knew, you know, 'Hey I got to take these classes. I got to learn how to do this because if I'm going to work on the farm I have to know how to weld this. I have to know how to fix this. We can't afford to, you know, (air quotes) "call a guy". You know, there was no calling a guy. You- you learned how to fix it so even, you know, even the shop kids saw the reason and the value and the purpose in you know, all of their stuff, so, education --education was important.

AK: Alright. And then, so, Tell me about extracurricular activities. What about hobbies like outside of those.

AD: I mean, in my family you know, especially [unclear] my grandpa the one who had the farm, like hunting and fishing was his thing. If he could get off the 19:00farm for an afternoon we were going fishing. You know, and that- that was-that was his thing. I mean, his plan was you know, he was going to retire at 62 and he and I were going to go fishing every day. He- he ended up getting cancer and dying when I was in 6th grade. You know, he never- He never made it to retirement. You know, but that was his thing. Hunting --hunting was his thing. His prized possession was probably his 30 to 6 (.30-06). You know, and as a kid, I idolized Grandpa. So as a result, I mean, hunting -- hunting and fishing were things I did a lot. You know, small town, it was a lot of hanging out with friends, so we'd go to my friend's house a lot and you know, we do the dumbest things. We'd play- we'd play video games and things like that. You know, we'd hang out but, never anything crazy and you know, go out and knock a soccer ball 20:00around or you know, whatever. It was small --small- a lot of small towns. So as a result, you know, club sports weren't really a thing. You --you didn't have the collection of people to be able to play it, so if you wanted to play club sport it would be 20 minutes to practice, so no one did it because it was too much of a commitment and you know 20 minutes one way, go practice for 2 hours, 20 minutes home there's, you know, the whole afternoon or whole evening is toast, so that didn't really happen, so - a lot of hanging out with friends, hunting, fishing, things- things like that, I would say.

AK: What about a job in high school, other than like working on the farm-

AD: Yeah.

AK: or was that not really a thing?

AD: Yeah, I mean, working on the farm was- was the big one. Because education 21:00was important, you know, my parents especially, and a lot of parents of kids at my high school, school was --school was your job. You know, and if they had a farm, you know, you worked on the farm and that was just kind of what it was. My senior year I worked kind of just a general labor thing at a local trucking company, you know, kind of you, know, landscaping stuff. Not even landscaping, let's be real. It was cutting the grass and making sure everything still looked okay. Fixing pallets, changing tires, patching tires, things like that. But it was- it was the farm and school. And I would say that you know, school was the primary thing I mean, there were people in high school they worked at like the McDonalds in town and things like that, but not a lot of --not a lot of people you know, saying 'I have to have this job' or you know, 'I'm working at these 22:00two places'. Kids at my high school didn't really do that. And I think it was because education was so important and it was kind of seen as this thing that you know, was going to make sure that if you get the education, you can give your kids the type of life that we're trying to give you now. So, work wasn't -- work wasn't a big thing beyond people working on farms and things like that.

AK: And what kind of goals did you have for yourself in high school?

AD: For me, I can't say that I was necessarily one of the kids who chased having to have all straight A's or anything like that. Obviously mom says A's and B's. More A's than B's, you know, you got to pull that one off. But I-I think it was just always to you know, do my best, make sure I was still learning you know, 23:00and doing- doing all those things and really just my goal through high school was to set myself up in a place where I could go to college and be successful. You know, soccer in the grand scheme of everything was really something that I probably more viewed as a break from school and not necessarily something that I was going to go out and do all the time. So, yeah- Just really getting the stage set to be ready for what comes next,

AK: Okay. And then when did you know that you wanted to go to Oshkosh, or was it like one of your first choices, or not really?

AD: I mean, Oshkosh was you know, I mean, now in the state at this point education was struggling. I mean, but At that point you know, coming out of high 24:00school in 2006, if you were going into education, you were going to Oshkosh. You know, Oshkosh- everyone knew Oshkosh is education. Oshkosh is nursing. And the business program was on its way. And you know, I knew- I knew that I had the ability to do well. And I- I knew that you know, I had the ability to be a good science teacher, or at least, you know, I really thought that at the time so, it was never a huge question you know. Oshkosh was the end goal because I'm going to go to one of the best places in the state to be what I wanted to be.

AK: okay, and then, was it an easy transition to college or not so much? Was it 25:00like a culture shock?

AD: For me, I think one of the things that actually really prevented it from being a culture shock thing was, you know, I went to a small high school, so obviously that had its thing, but before I went to Oshkosh, I actually did one and a half years full time at UW Fond du Lac first. And Fond du Lac you know, I mean it's so close to Oshkosh that the transfer stuff was pretty rock solid. Between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh, the advisors in Fond du Lac knew Oshkosh so well because so many kids went to UW Fond Du Lac before they went to Oshkosh. And then my last semester, so I mean ultimately, technically I did two years at Fond du Lac. But my last semester was a split semester. I was technically considered a full time student at Fond du Lac and I held special student status at Oshkosh. So I took a couple of classes at Oshkosh and then, you know, 26:00(unclear) had the rest of them in Fond du Lac. So, I mean Fond du Lac was, I mean, it's a UW college, so it's a small campus, it's just a two year school, everyone's there. I --You know, get you associate's degree and transfer (unclear). There's- There was no place to live on campus in Fond du Lac. Parents live 20-some minutes from there so, it ended up being a really easy transition because I actually end up viewing UW Fond Du Lac as anything all that different from high school. The general culture was so similar to what I was used to, that it was normal, I mean I played soccer at Fond du Lac. Our team was really good my freshman year. We were the best UW college team in the state. We lost the 2 27:00year school state game 4 to 3 against MATC Madison. I mean we were- we were good. You know, so all those things kind of just made it feel so normal. I had a bunch of friends at Oshkosh, so when I had- I had that semester as special student at Oshkosh, I had a morning class and a nigh class, so I would go to class in the morning and I'd end up hanging out in the dorm s with my friends during those Tuesday and Thursdays when I had those classes. So, it ended up being a kind of quasi, you know, on campus student two days a week anyway, which you know, so I went from high school, year and a half in a college setting very similar to high school, to then you know, going to Oshkosh where I was kind of 28:00there, kind of not for a semester, that by the time, you know, I transferred there fulltime, my junior year, I mean, it was life as always, transferring in as a junior I had no requirements of living on campus, so ended up living off campus with a bunch- a couple of my friends , a couple of guys that I got to know really well hanging out with them in the dorms. We all ended up living together. I mean, so, the living situation was super comfortable, we had a house which you know, brings, I think a little bit more normalcy to the whole routine. You know, versus, you know, the dorms, not that there's anything wrong with the dorms, (unclear) a lot of fun hanging out with them in the dorms and that was fine, but I think that progression of high school to UW Fond Du Lac, to sort of at Oshkosh, sort of not, to then, you know three years of full time student at 29:00Oshkosh made it a really simple transition. I mean Oshkosh too, for its size doesn't feel like a big campus. It feels like, I mean, grand scheme I think the way the people act it kind of makes you feel like you are at home anyway. So I- I thought it was a really- a really easy transition just because of the path that I had taken to get there.

AK: And then, your friend group from high school did they- did a lot of them go to college, or-?

AD: A lot of -- a lot of my class went to college. That was- that was just kind of the expectation, I think, because of the emphasis on education. You were going to a four year or a two year, unless you know, you had something lined up, or you know, maybe there was a family company or something (unclear).But a lot of my class went to- went to college and out of my friend group, specifically we 30:00all did. Every one of my friends went to college. Two of my best friends went to Oshkosh, I mean, they were the dorm room I'd crash at that last- that semester where I was the special student there. Yeah. The whole- whole friend group almost, I mean the vast majority in my class did some sort of you know, post- secondary something.

AK: And why did you- well you already said you decided on Oshkosh because it was the big school. But like was there anything else, that really pulled toward Oshkosh and not another, like out of state school?

AD: I mean, Oshkosh, I mean, first of all, I mean Oshkosh versus and out of state was- was never- never a question about of out of state. I was always going 31:00to pay, you know, an instate tuition. But you know, when it came to Oshkosh versus the other schools in the state, I mean, I didn't --I didn't have an interest in Madison. I didn't have an interest in Milwaukee. Those two didn't really interest me. And once you got past those two the clear choice for education was always Oshkosh. I mean, I had a- I was talking to my principal in high school- we were talking about me wanting to be teacher and all that and she said, really honestly, she's like, "In my career, as a principal, if I get a stack of résumés, I'm going to look at some people with a few years of experience because I expect really good teachers, but also, if you're a brand new teacher and I see Oshkosh, I'm probably going to give your résumé a little bit closer look than others." I (unclear) Oshkosh is- was the place to go. You 32:00know and it's kind of sad because I was talking to Dr. Lemberger, who teaches, the methods classes for science teachers. I was talking to MaryBeth Petesch who places the science teachers just a couple weeks ago. Well MaryBeth actually places all of the student teachers but, I was talking to them a few weeks ago and to know that the secondary-ed programs at Oshkosh are collapsing becausae no one want to teach anymore, because of the attitude towards teacher. To know that the Oshkosh- the education program in Oshkosh, especially the secondary level is struggling because no one wants to do it, you know, as a teacher for very understandable reasons at this point, it kind of sucks. I mean, to know that you 33:00had one of the crown jewels of the state and in five years- it took less than five years, but in a few years that whole thing fell apart because of a few policy decisions that Oshkosh had no control over, you know, really sucks.

AK: And then, for your first semester at Oshkosh, what did you do? Did you spend like most of your time studying was it more like a laid back, I'm here to get my degree, but I'm going to have fun doing it?

AD: I was pretty laid back. I mean, by the time I got to college, I had really settled into the A's and B's more A's than B's. I mean, I was major- major in broad field natural sciences and secondary- ed and minors in chem and math, 34:00emphasis is geology, earth and space sciences. And math and science were the things I was good at. And by the time I got the Oshkosh, since I had gone to Fond du Lac first, I had knocked out a lot of my Gen-Eds. They were almost all finished. You know, so that means a lot of the classes that I maybe would have said aren't my favorite, I was already done with those. So I got to Oshkosh and it was all math and science and education classes, all the time. So, as a result, school was pretty simple for me overall, I mean, yeah, you get into your upper level math classes, upper level science classes, and they are a struggle, but as a result of being broad field, it also meant I had to knock out a lot of intro level geology, intro level biology, and when you are a junior in college, taking Bio 105, you've already got the college school thing figured out you 35:00know, so while a lot of the freshman are struggling and trying to figure things out of 'how do I be a college student?' . As a junior, in intro level class, you know, which meant, you know, life was a little bit more simple and you know, I made choices to be able to spread out the more difficult classes, you know, so It was a pretty relaxed time. A lot of times with- a lot of time with friends. A lot of times, you know, just being able to enjoy college life and have fun with it and you know, really just enjoy. I mean, and it really helped to in terms of learning. I really excel as an auditory learner, which, I mean, college plays to. College plays to the idea of 'We're going to sit here for an hour and I'm going to tell you a whole bunch of things and maybe we'll practice a little bit and then, you know, you've got to go do your thing.' But being someone who 36:00really excels as auditory learner, I thrived. And then in that setting, I mean, would take some classes where I'd go back to study and I could essentially hear my professor verbatim talking in my brain and you know, at that point, you know, it made the studying go a lot faster. I'm also a morning person, which meant, you know, unlike most college kids, I'm all about that 8am class, which I scheduled almost all of my classes that more often than not, I'd be done by noon. Well if you're a college student who's done with class by noon, everyone else is in class all afternoon, so there's nothing really to do. You know, so I'd pound out a lot of, you know, the studying and odds and ends stuff that I had to get done in the afternoon, so by five, six o'clock I was done. I had 37:00nothing left to do. You know, so scheduling wise, too, because of being a person who was very content getting up in the morning, college afforded me alt of freedom just to be able to just enjoy the experience.

AK: And then, what did you do like, after you were done with everything, like all your studying and classes, how did you kill the time?

AD: I mean, you know, we were college kids, so, we would you know, stupid games, you know, we would play you know, call of duty was huge at the time. We were coming off of the craze on Halo, but, you know, we'd play some video games and things like that and have fun with that, because we were living off campus, we had a lot of friend who were living off campus too, and a lot of our houses were close together so we'd hang out at each other's houses a lot. I mean, it is 38:00college, so, you know, we'd go out Thursday or Friday nights and you know have fun, but not even so much at the you know quote unquote college bars, you know, we (unclear)we didn't go to those all that often, we'd usually we'd usually walk down main street. We weren't- and that was one of the things that I appreciated about my friends 'cause we were all similar that way. We aren't about the big crazy you know, out of control whether it was house parties or big crazy out of control slammin' a hundred and fifty people into, you know, a tiny little bar that should only have seventy people (unclear), you know. We weren't- we weren't about that kind of thing, so We'd go down to main street and find the bars that , actually quite frankly most of the college kids didn't even know existed, wouldn't go to, You know we'd walk-we'd walk that way. You know, on the 39:00weekends but even still, I can't necessarily say we were a group that went out a ton. Probably substantially below average, by you know, some standards, but you know, it was- it was a lot of hanging out. We'd- There was a campus parking lot across the street, so we'd, on the weekends, we'd go into the parking lot and throw a baseball around, football around. Sometimes we'd go to the park in town and you know, go hit balls (unclear) hit baseballs. We'd go-We'd go- there was a place outside of town that had twilight golf and it was five dollars you know, whatever you could golf from the time you got there until it got too dark. (unclear) you know, golf is a little out of- out of the price range for most college students but you'd drop at twilight golf, it was five bucks and all of a sudden that becomes affordable, so (unclear) We'd do that sometimes, we spent 40:00probably the last two summers, - we spent a lot of time playing tennis Just 'cause Why not? You know, I don't know, I mean, I had- I had never really picked up a tennis racket until my junior year of college, you know. We had-we had gotten into it and I mean Roger Federer was at his peak and you know, he's kind of like- I mean, he was a good role model type of player and I mean, I guy who kept his nose clean, never got in any trouble and it was kind of at the peak of his competition with Refael Nadal so, a lot of people, I mean in college you- you've got time to get into weird things so, we got into tennis a little bit. We- all of a sudden one day, we're like, "hey we should- we should play [unclear]" So we drive across town, go to Walmart, we all get tennis rackets and buy a couple cans of balls and we started playing and- One summer because, again 41:00its college, so why not, we went to- Oh man, I don't even know, I think it was Hobby Lobby. We buy the most gaudy, ridiculous bowl and we decide to have the "House Cup Tennis Tournament" where it was the five of us, who lived in the house and then one other guy, so we had a six tournament. And we played a round- robin tournament that summer for the House Cup. Which was the dumbest thing because we bought it, it sat there on top of the TV, no one claimed it. We played the whole tournament. My roommate- Alex wins the House Cup, leaves it sitting there anyway. I don't think it ever moved from the day we bought it until the day we moved out other than the day he won, he stood there in the 42:00living room holding it over his head, like shaking it, takes a couple pictures and (both laughing) then sets it back down and it never moved after that, but I mean, other than that, I mean, so a lot of dumb, stupid stuff, I suppose. You know, but, probably wasted more time than it should have.

AK: Then, like, on campus, where did you spend a lot of time? Library, building?

AD: I mean, with you know, all of the stuff that I was doing, obviously a lot of time you know, in Halsey. A lot of time in Harrington. [unclear] classes and you know, the nursing ed building, you know, I mean, but the time I got to Oshkosh, I was pretty much down to math, science and education classes anyway. We met on 43:00campus- I met on campus a little bit more for math stuff. The math classes tended to lend themselves a lot more to needing to work and study with groups of people, so we'd- we'd meet in the library sometimes, but even that, you know, getting there as a junior we spent a lot more time, I think, of campus, You know we'd swing through- obviously you're on campus for classes and- One of the guys that I worked with on my math stuff, he was -- he worked in the math tutoring lab, so sometimes for math problems, sets and things like that, we'd meet in the- in the tutoring room, and we would you know, use all the chalk boards in there and we'd work through problem sets instead of wasting you know packs, and packs of loose-leaf on stuff that was wrong, you know. We'd just do it on the board. Sometimes you know, if we couldn't get in there, if it was all locked up, 44:00we'd try and find a classroom that was open and we'd use the board in there. And that was really just a, you know, where could we find it. One of the girls who was in my group, she was a dual major- math and physics. So she had access to kind of one of the lounges of the physics students, generally occupied and there was- there were whiteboards and stuff in there and we'd go in there sometimes, but, you know, I- I can't necessarily say that we had a place that was like locked down as 'our' place.

AK: And then, was there somewhere, like off campus then that you spent more, other than like a house, or?

AD: I mean, we-we spent a lot of time kind of at our house, it ended up being specifically just because of the fact that between all of our friends, our house 45:00was generally like the central location. In terms of off campus- type of stuff, you know, I can't necessarily say that there was a big hang out place. I mean, we'd go to different places in town, you know, for lunch or dinner, something every once in a while, but I can't say that there was like (air quotes) 'the place'. I mean, like I said, if we decide to go out on a weekend and you know, walk down to one of the bars on main street, I can't necessarily say that there was you know, necessarily 'our place' either. It's not like, 'oh it's Friday night,' you know, 'they are going to be at Mabel's' or something like that. It wasn't like that. We'd go different places and kind of check it out and I think it was kind of you know, our goal- we --we spent probably you know my junior and 46:00senior year just checking out different places you know, and seeing what was around and- I think by my- by my senior- call it super senior, second senior year, we would-we'd do some- we'd do some-we'd do some- we'd -- we'd probably settled in on a couple places that we would go and then the last semester of my fifth year of college, or my third year at Oshkosh, I was student teaching. You know, I didn't have a lot of time, you know at that point to do a ton of stuff, I mean at that point, going out with my friends was usually pretty much limited to Saturdays. Fridays I was just burned out. you know from the week you know, you get also get, I suppose, you know, a little bit of, you know, I think a lot of high school kids get it too, but you get- you get to the end and you know, 'okay, you know, I'm almost done here. It's the last semester' you know real 47:00life's about to start, you know and kin of getting ready for that. Also by that point, I mean ,having been in school for five years and all that stuff, I mean I graduated with 183 credits, so it's not like five years was crazy or anything, but by the end of five years, you know, funds were really starting to dry up a little bit. you know, so I don't know. I don't -- I[unclear] to go back to I can't necessarily say that we had you know (air quotes) "The place" Beyond our house just because it was central to our friends or...

AK: Okay. And then, did you go back home a lot or not really?

AD: I mean, Home was thirty, thirty five minutes away. I would- the washer and dryer in our house sucked. It was so bad. I mean, you'd put clothes in the dryer 48:00and they would have to go in for like an hour and twenty minutes to get dry, which was just stupid. You know, so since it was only thirty minutes home, I'd go home every two, three weeks for laundry, things like that. It wasn't bad, you know to get out and then roommates need their space anyway, and one of my other roommates he was from Neenah, he did the same. Every few weekends he'd go home and just run a few loads of laundry and you know, maybe he'd only be gone for a day, but- So I -- I ran home probably every two to four weeks mostly for the purposes of you know, laundry, which coincided with a nice little need to get out of the house full of five guys. Sometimes you need to eat real food. Sometimes you need something where you're, your know, living in clean, normal clean conditions, not college clean conditions, you know, those two are 49:00different, so I- I wouldn't say I ran, well by some people's standards, I guess I went home a lot being every two to four weeks, but it was never- it was never a long thing. I would be a Saturday morning til Sunday afternoon.

AK: Where [unclear]- Where did you make most of your friends, like in your friend group?

AD: The-- the center of my friend group ended up being the two guys that I went to high school with and then they went to Oshkosh directly, which meant as a result, you know, they were in the dorms, so they met- the people that my friend group grew into, they met them first 'cause they were living in the dorms and then that [unclear] that one semester where I was there kind of part of the time, I got to know those people too. And then that ended up being the center of the group that I hung out with the most. And then, as we went, and I picked up a 50:00few more friends, though, usually more specifically, some of the math classes that I took, just because of the need to work in groups, you know, a couple people out of the education classes. But I would say, you know, it ended up being you know, the guys that my friends met in the dorms. From there it would expand out into those guys' friend group a little bit. Picked up a few people out of some classes. But that- that was probably the biggest part. I can't say that we had a hug friend group or that I had a huge friend group. It was a pretty tight friend group. We- We were together all the time. I mean during school, when it wasn't school, I mean ,you know, summer, winter, whatever, you know, our you know friend group probably fifteen, twenty people- we saw each 51:00other all the time.

AK: And have you stayed in touch with those people or?

AD: I would say about as much as guys do.

AK: Okay.

AD: You know, I keep in touch with- with most of them. Some of them who weren't as- as tight, who I would say were more of the fringes of the friend group, more because they friends of the friends, not so much with a lot of those guys. With the guys I lived with- I lived with, overall, I still see them a few times a year, we text, sometimes, so you know. There's just the things that pop up on Facebook, too and things like that, so -

AK: Okay, and then, did you participate in any extracurricular activities at Oshkosh, or was just school?


AD: Oshkosh, not- not so much. I mean, we were -- we were encouraged at the time to you know, join a student teaching organization, like students [unclear], like that. We- So I guess I can say I joined it. I can't necessarily remotely say that I was necessarily an active member in that. I was- I was active for the two years in Fond du Lac probably more so you know, having played- played soccer there. I was a little bit more involved in some of the student government and things like that, there. I think that was something that was something a little bit harder to break into at Oshkosh, coming in as a junior, also, you know, coming in as a junior I was you know, really getting my feet wet in the upper level math and science classes and things like that and I -- I was pretty content with a pretty laid back, you know, kind of lifestyle there and you know, 53:00I- I wasn't necessarily super involved, I would say, suppose at Oshkosh, now.

AK: What about like sporting events? Was that like a big thing for people to go watch football, or?

AD: The sports, at least with my group of friends, I can't necessarily say that it was. We- We caught a couple games here and there. One of the guys I worked with, on the math stuff, and became really good friends with, he became math teacher went to a few track meets, 'cause he-he ran track. He was a high jumper. SO we- we watched him. We- since it was college and we could, we drove to La-Crosse one time just to watch one of his meets 'cause why not? But I- I can't say it was necessarily a thing of you know, its fall a Saturday, we're going to the football game, or anything like that. We weren't- I don't know. We weren't 54:00-- we weren't so much, you know that way. You know, we were more inclined to, on a Saturday, you know, sit at home, flip between the few games that were on, you know, watch the Badgers and you know, things like that, so . Not, I-I can't say Oshkosh athletics was necessarily a-a huge part for us.

AK: And then what did other people do for fun? Was that like, were you guys like the odd ones out, like going to like bars farther away, or was that like what a lot of people did, just to try and get away from, like, that..

AD: I mean

AK: College bar culture?

AD: I would say you know, at Oshkosh, at the time when I was there, There was- There was kind of like this transition, you know, you had the kids who you know, when they turned 21, you know "YEAH!" [unclear] Hit the college bars, 'cause I can go to the bars and generally they're a little cheaper, things like that. By 55:00the time I got there, I mean, I suppose when we all turned 21, we did that a little bit too, where we first were going to some of the college bars but, I think we left that scene a lot earlier than a lot of people. We would see you know, people that I recognized as people who were in even higher level classes than I was, so you know, my junior year seeing people who you know would have been senior, fifth year seniors, we'd see those people out on main street, you know. But we wouldn't see a lot of people our --our age. You know, we would check out if we knew friends who were having people over at their house, we'd go, you know, we'd [unclear] I suppose, we'd go to someone's house if they were having a party or whatever but- I don't know I-I suppose we didn't necessarily follow the most traditional of tracks in terms of what- what people did. You 56:00know, but that's also probably, maybe to some extent a consequence of you had a math and science teacher, you had a geology major, you had a kinesiology major, an art major, and a guy who was a few years older than us, who was kind of quasi managing the food side of one of the bars on main street. We weren't, I mean, I-I don't think that we also fell into like a normal necessarily collection of people. We were a really diverse group. Which I thing, as a result led to a lot of different experience you know, where normally you get a lot of friend groups who are you know,' I'm friends with a whole bunch of people and we're all you 57:00know, nursing majors.' And we didn't- we didn't have a cluster. I don't think there was any overlap in our friend group of majors at all, I mean other than, my roommate who was the art major, he was dating another art major, you know, but beyond that, that was largely the extent to our overlap, which led to a lot of different tastes and different opinions and what we should do, you know, stuff like that, so-

AK: And then, what was like, one of the biggest things you learned, not academically at Oshkosh?

AD: I think one of the biggest things that I learned in Oshkosh that was non- academic was you know there's -- there's a time in life where you have to chill out. you know, even though I wasn't necessarily 'I have to get all A's.' 58:00sometimes I think, you know, I maybe took things a hair more serious than I needed to and I think my group of friends, which maybe you'd classify some of them as a bunch of doorknobs, but, I think that you know, that was also beneficial. I think learning that you know, sometimes you can't take life so seriously, you know. Sometimes you need to take a step back and kind of enjoy things, and I think that that lesson you know, that I learned from that group of people is honestly one of the more important things that has helped me in teaching after. You know, not everything has to be dead set- dead set cut and dry, on schedule perfect all the time. Sometimes life happens, you need to adjust and really kind of roll with it on the fly. You know, and sometimes it's 59:00just not a good day, and if it's not a good day, that's okay. You know, we can tweak and adjust, and I think you know, having such a diverse group of friends has really helped me understand some of my students a lot more. Just in, "you know what, I hate chemistry" you know and I don't know if I ever would have understood a student like that because I think chemistry is just so wildly fascinating, but to actually have friends who are like that, I would sit there and help some of my friend with chemistry, 'cause they hated it, they didn't like it, and they didn't want to do it. And they hate it and didn't like it, and didn't want to do it, 'cause they didn't understand it. And it wasn't a thing of , they were a bad kid, or whatever, they just- they didn't like it and who knows, maybe they didn't like it because they didn't understand it in high school, so they just didn't want to do it, or maybe they just didn't like it 60:00'cause they just didn't like it. But you know, they really taught me a lot about loosening up, rolling with the punches, and you know, sometimes, the goal is to just get to tomorrow. You know, sometimes, you know, you just look at the day and nothing on that day has gone remotely how you want it to be and you've got two choices. You can get upset, you can get bent out of shape, you can get all "type A" about it, or you can say, 'you know what, today's just not the day, and we're going to make the best out of it, we're going to get through it, and you know, we'll- we'll move on to tomorrow, and we'll pick up the pieces tomorrow and we'll get it all set and we'll do it again.' And I don't think I would be successful at teaching if I hadn't picked up that lesson.

AK: And post-college, how did you feel, when you [unclear] finished? Did you feel prepared?

AD: I was super prepared. I- I mean, I was student teaching. I had- I already 61:00had a job offer. I had already signed a contract to teach the next year before I even finished student teaching. I had a month left and I had already signed my contract to Union Grove. And I mean, that-that itself gave me a really good sense of "I'm ready." And It made it even better when I had talked to the principle when he- when he called after. He said that I was their choice out of 83 people who applied. And going through not even finished student teaching and know you were the choice out of 83 really kind of solidifies, for me a lot of the things that I kind of believed. I mean, I knew when I was student teaching in Fond du Lac and I was teaching accelerated and AP chemistry, I thought things 62:00had gone pretty well. And my cooperating teacher had said, "you know, that was- you- you've done a great job." You know, but then you know, in the back of your mind I suppose there's that insecure side of you that is like "well, you know, is that really true, or is he just saying, you know, you're better than some I've had", you know, or is it a, "Well, keep working on it" you know and just kind of an encouraging thing, and I had thought it had gone pretty well, but you know, to get that validation before I ever finished student teaching you know, really solidified it that, "Yeah, I'm- I'm ready for this. I'm ready to go." I mean and I moved out of Oshkosh early. You know, our lease ran through August, and I moved out in June, 'Cause I was ripped, roarin' and ready to go. I was- I was ready to move on and you know, as some of my students say now, "start 'adulting'". I was ready to start adulting at- at that point. I- I was ready to 63:00get started with real life, have real person job, get a real person pay check, you know, and start life.

AK: And was the job market good market good for like, everyone, or was it just kind of like," I'm really good at this, so I got the job"?

AD: At that point, there was competition. I mean, there were 83 people who applied at the job at Union grove. I mean, things in math and science were definitely easier than you know, they were for like elementary, social studies, English, things like that. I mean there were stories of people applying for a first grade job and there were 300 people who applied. They had a seminar for us while I was student teaching, we had a day where we weren't supposed to go 64:00student teach. We had to stay on campus and the superintendent from North Fond Du Lac school district came and he was talking us ad he said, "You need to be ready to sell yourself. You need to be ready for a fight." He's like, "because I just posted the kindergarten job and there were 432 applicants. You have to be ready for a fight. You have to put yourself in the best situation to be successful. You need to absolutely sell yourself. You need to let people know how good you really are." You know, at that point, you know, we were just on the turn. Right at that point, I was coming out of school right when Act 10 passed. So at that point there was still probably more teachers than teaching jobs. You know, now that has majorly switched since now you've got a posting in science 65:00and you've got 10 applicants instead of 90. But it- at that point, you needed to be ready. You- you had to go into an interview ready to go, or you weren't -- you weren't going to get it.

AK: And since college, what you done?

AD: I took that job at Union Grove. And started in the fall of '11 and I'm still there now. When I got the job at Union Grove, I actually got hired as a math teacher, so I taught that first year. I taught Algebra and Algebra 2. I loved teaching Algebra. I can't necessarily say I loved teaching algebra 2. Although I don't think most math teachers would say Algebra 2 is necessarily their favorite 66:00class to teach. It's not- It's full of a lot of very important things, but it's not necessarily full of things that it's easy to get students to buy into as being important. So algebra 2 was okay. But after- part of the ways through my first year, I had proposed an AP chemistry class at Union grove. They had never had that class before. They decided to run it, so they told me I was going to teach AP chem and I was going to teach Algebra. I was okay with that [unclear] I loved teaching Algebra. I was actually pretty excited that you know, I get to keep teaching algebra, so I had some comfort there, while I started this new class. And then, science numbers kind of went up. You know, with- it was --there was a very good group of science teachers, that I work with and they really did a lot to spark interest in science so there were- there was this huge expansion that same year that we were going to start AP chem. We also started astronomy 67:00and meteorology, which as a result meant that there were a lot more kids in science classes, so all of a sudden, they needed me to go full time science, so you know, a few months before the end of the school year, they really start looking at the schedule, they realized they need a whole new science teacher, so I ended up just being that new science teacher and I taught AP chem, mostly chemistry , and then I had one class of physical science that I taught that year. And they- they hired a new math teacher to replace the position that I had vacated. So this is now my fifth year at Union Grove. Overall it's my fourth year as a science teacher. The- near the end of my first year at Union Grove, there was [unclear] it was a volunteer coaching job, but it was a volunteer 68:00coaching job with the girls soccer team. So that year, I- I started with that. That ended up also being- that season was the last season for the varsity coach, who really started the program, and really got it off the ground. Nicest guy with the best of intentions, but he stepped away after a few- a few years of struggles. So the JV coach, who's phenomenal, he took over the varsity and I got the job as the JV coach, so I spent a couple years coaching boys and girls JV soccer, with great success. I ended up getting in a just the right time, we ended up getting so many kids as one of the club teams in Racine really started to take off, and we started getting a lot more of their kids coming in on open 69:00enrollment out to Union Grove, and started getting all these good soccer players. Much more success with the boys than we had seen, and then with the girls, this is my fourth season with the girls, and we are not at mid-point of the season and in four seasons, we've lost four games. You know, we really have taken off and that has been a lot of fun. This fall was the first time I didn't coach the JV boys' team. I started my master's program. I'm getting a master's degree in educational technology through Marian University in Fond du Lac. It's an all online program, so I don't have to travel up to Fond Du Lac, but with that commitment, and I've gotten married in there, I couldn't continue to teach what's now expanded to two sections of AP chem at a high level, Still be a great 70:00teacher, great coach, great husband, and great student. I couldn't do all of those things. And I -- I didn't want to try because it didn't -- wasn't willing to mess up on any of them. So I ended up stepping away from the boys. I'm still coaching- still coaching the girls, I'm now a little over half way done with my masters so I'll finish up in December. But it's really been a focus on teaching, you know, through three sets of kids who've taken the AP test, our average pass rate is way over national average. Though three years, we've passed kids --kids out of my class passed at a rate in the low 80's. National average is almost 20 percent lower than that. SO the teaching has been phenomenal, I mean, when I moved down there, I didn't wasn't to live in Union Grove 'cause I just- I didn't 71:00necessarily want- I mean it's- it's nothing against students, It's just students don't necessarily want to see their teachers outside of the school they- teachers are very okay not seeing their students outside of the school day, so I ended up living in Mukwonago. My wife and I now bought a house in Mukwonago. And we'll -- we'll stay there. I met her at Union Grove. She was and English teacher there. She's since left, she's got a job now at Muskego- Norway High school. She teaches English there now instead. But you know, it's- it's been a ride. I mean, and it's been a great one. And one that you know, I don't know- I don't know what happens if I had not gone to Oshkosh, what if it was a different school for education. What if Union grove pulled my application if it didn't say 'Oshkosh'? I don't know. But it's been- it's been a great ride in the now five 72:00years since.

AK: And what advice would you give current students at Oshkosh?

AD: I think the biggest piece of advice is, college is an experience that you'll never ever have again. There's -- there's just something about the whole college experience that's so different from anything else. You're at this weird- you're at this weird point of kind of in between being a real adult, you know and still being a kid, you kind of have this ability to try new things and be free to just go for it. With, I mean, in the grand scheme as long as you're not doing something really stupid, with minimal repercussions, so why not try it? Why not have fun? Why not break of that shell and take a run at it? You know, worse 73:00case, you try some classes you don't like and it you know, sure you are now there four and a half years instead or maybe it's five years instead of four and a half. You know, it's an opportunity to learn lessons about life that you'll never learn anywhere else, or again if you do it's probably not under the best set of circumstances. You learn how to struggle through not having a whole bunch of money, but figuring out how to have fun. You know, where, I mean if you have to learn that lesson outside of college, I can't- I mean I can't imagine. You know, in college you're sharing a house with a bunch of people so maybe rent's only 200 bucks, 250, 300 bucks, you know, for a person, you know, where is you 74:00get behind on that, you borrow a little bit of money from someone, you know, whatever, it's not so big of a deal, but if you are trying to figure that out all by yourself, not in that situation, I- I can't imagine you know, it's- it's a place to go so far beyond the classroom, it if you want to. I mean college is really the experience that you make of it. You know, you can choose to figure life out, get things, set, learn to succeed on your own, or you know, you can live afraid of trying new things and you know, I would imagine that leads to a potential looking back and saying, 'man I wish I would have-' or you know, some people suppose go the other way, and get a little too fast and loose with it and end up looking back the other way and then you know, "Maybe I should have paid a 75:00little bit more attention to school" Or I suppose. College is your opportunity to have the experience that you want to have. And I think that I look back now and there's nothing about that experience I would have changed. There was a great group of people that I chose to surround myself with. You know, I chose to make the dual commitment to, I was going to enjoy myself and I was going to be a good student, you know. It really I suppose, the biggest lesson to sum that whole thing up is, college really teaches you that life is about the choices you make. You know, what choices are you going to make while you're there? And then, you'll also learn to deal with the consequences of those choices, and the consequences of the choices that I made while I was there have led to a great 76:00life. I mean, it's a great start. I mean it's been an amazing five year start to my life after college. It was all because of choices that I made. You know, so make good choices, and enjoy.

AK: Alright. Thank you.

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