Former Falcon returns to teach German


Mr. Crites teaches his German 4/5 class. Photo by Zahra Ahmed

Zahra Ahmed, Staff Writer

After recently graduating from the University of Michigan, Mr. Brady Crites, who graduated from RHS in 2011, returned to Rochester to take the position of one of his former teachers, Frau Nancy Hanson, as the German teacher.

“So far so good,” Mr. Crites said. “It’s been strange calling some of my former teachers by their first names. That’s something I have to get used to, but I feel very happy to be back and I like the staff around me, and the students of course.”

Mr. Neil DeLuca is also very excited to have Mr. Crites back.

“[It’s] an awesome accomplishment for Mr. Crites to be hired back into the district that he went to school and the building that he went to school,” Mr. DeLuca said. “It’s so awesome to show our teachers here the accomplishment of Mr. Crites; to be able to go to college, study for four years, and come right back to the building that he once was at.”

As a recent graduate, Mr. Crites is among the “new generation” of teachers. Junior Sarah Schneider believes this is a valuable asset.

“It’s pretty cool that’s he’s a young teacher. That makes him more relatable,” said Schneider. “He went through high school not that long ago, so he knows how much pressure we’re under.”

Mr. Crites was very involved as a student at RHS, being an active member of the Soldiers of Fortune, Improv Team, Cross Country Team, United Lacrosse Team and Chamber Choir among many other activities. He recalls his time here as a student as an inspiration.

“I loved going to the football games and the basketball games and cheering and screaming our heads off,” Mr. Crites said. “[My time at Rochester] is when I made all of my best friends that I still keep in touch with today. It’s when I found a passion for learning, German and English.”

Mr. Pasquale Cusumano believes it is a unique advantage to have Mr. Crites take the position of his former teacher.

“Another huge thing is that he had Frau Hanson, who was the German teacher that inspired him to be a German teacher. That’s not very common,” Mr. Cusumano said. “He’s taking the spot of the teacher who inspired him to be what he is.”

As a previous German student at RHS, Mr. Crites has been able to offer his insight to improve the already well-established Foreign Language Department, and he plans to create a German NHS chapter at Rochester.

Mr. Crites’ experience also helps make the transition from teacher to teacher easier for students who had Frau Hanson in previous years. Sophomore Meredith Benson says that Mr. Crites is highly energetic.

“Herr Crites is very excited and bubbly, even in 6th hour,” Benson said. “He has three drawers full of Frau Hanson’s patent puppets.”

Junior Lauren Alison agrees that Mr. Crites’ insight on German at RHS has been beneficial, as Frau Hanson’s teaching style is evident in his instruction.

“I think that it’s been a pretty good transition since he was a student of Frau Hanson and he teaches practically the same way as she did,” Alison said. “It’s been a lot smoother than I thought it would be with a different teacher.”

Mr. DeLuca also thinks it’s a plus that Mr. Crites already knows Rochester in and out.

“You can’t teach the tradition and culture of a school. It’s very hard. You can learn it, as a part of your time here. For a teacher, that might be year one, year two, year three, year four, or year five. Year six they start to get the knowledge and the culture of the building,” Mr. DeLuca said. “Mr. Crites, year one here he knows this place. He lived what [the students] live. That’s awesome. The value, you can’t replace it.”

Mr. Crites teaches all five levels of German and among his students is his younger sister, sophomore Grace Crites. Mr. Crites says their relationship at school is the same as every other student, while at home, they’re simply siblings.

“I just treat her like another student. I don’t make a big deal about it. I don’t embarrass her. We are really close, we get along really well, but when we’re in the classroom we’re just here to learn German. I’m the teacher, she’s a student; it doesn’t go beyond that,”Mr. Crites said. “When we get home, it’s totally cool –we’re best friends again, but in this classroom those are the rules, student and teacher.”

Throughout the past few years, while Mr. Crites was away, many changes have been made for the teaching staff, security personnel and the custodial staff.

“We had hall monitors who didn’t have badges or uniforms. They were friendly women who lived in the community who worked here as hall monitors. So I miss them,” Mr. Crites said. “Just the people in the building, the teachers, the administrators, everybody who makes this school work: a lot of them are gone, but a lot of them have stayed. There’s a lot of new faces, which isn’t a bad thing. I like the people I’ve met here. I’m glad that a lot of them are still here, but it’s sad that I don’t see some of the faces I used to see when I was a student.”

Mr. Crites observes a variety of adjustments at RHS and notes the changes with approval, especially in the dedication and effort of his colleagues.

“I’m realizing more and more everyday how lucky we are to be in such a good school district, with a really great staff of teachers and a great group of administrators,” Mr. Crites said. “I think Mr. DeLuca, Mr. Wescott and Mr. Cusumano are doing a great job.”

Mr. Crites reflects further on why he came back to teach at RHS.

“A lot of people say that the best years of your life are in high school. Some people say that the best years of your life are in college. I always look back at my time here at Rochester as the best four years of my life” Mr. Crites said. “Really I just look back on the memories here very fondly. We had so much fun. ”