Better Together

Chloe Slome, Writer

While students spend about five hours a week in class with their teachers learning, this does not include the lunches teachers give up or after school sports practices they coach. Teachers are more than just educators – they are coaches, supporters, and cheerleaders for their students in and out of class.

Derek Larkins, Mr. Larkins, or Coach Larkins is not only an English teacher, but also a soccer coach who has made an impact on many PVHS students, particularly Luke Madden. Madden and Larkins met when Madden was a freshman on the soccer team, and they are now spending time this year both in English class and out on the soccer field.

“In terms of our soccer relationship, he gives me a ton of pointers on the field, physically and mentally. He made my mental game a lot stronger, which I think has helped me become the person and player I am today. In class, participation-wise, he helps me out and makes sure I’m always engaged,” Madden said.

After four years of soccer, Madden and Larkins have gotten to know each other pretty well. While Madden admires Larkins’ consistency, Larkins appreciates Madden’s adaptability and positive nature. Larkins considers Madden to be one of the most considerate players he has coached, as Madden acknowledges his teammates before he acknowledges himself and stays enthusiastic, even when switching various positions to help the team.

“I was very stoked when we were talking on the phone in the summer and he told me he committed to New Hampshire for soccer. There might be people who are equally as deserving, but not anyone more deserving than him. He has probably the best body language I have ever seen of an athlete – just positive. Like we give up a goal and you don’t see it on his face, you don’t see him react that way. He knows how to move on to the next thing,” Larkins said.

Inside and outside of the classroom, Larkins has been working. Although teachers’ efforts are often overlooked, Madden does notice the extra mile Larkins is going.

“He’s been getting his masters in coaching and he’s been studying how to be a great coach, watching videos, studying other professional coaches. I think you can see it paying off, maybe not with our success this year besides playoffs, but overall with the team mentality and overall how we gel as a team,” Madden said.

From spending weekends together for PVIT or working on their club Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Hana Meroth and Lorraine Norris, over the past two years, have created a bond that doesn’t end once the school bell rings. Having met in Norris’s math class last year, Meroth and Norris have bonded over their love of engineering.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to do engineering when I first started high school. Definitely seeing Ms. Norris’s passion and enthusiasm for it and having gotten more involved through PVIT and WISE got me excited about it,” Meroth said.

Norris is an important part of why Meroth wanted to study engineering, and has helped her in promoting women and engineering through their club WISE.

“Hana is honestly one of the most amazing kids I have met here. She’s not only super accomplished, really focused, and driven, but she also has an amazing personality that’s always very bright and warm. I’ve never seen her down or without that gorgeous smile on her face,” Norris said.

As Norris is involved in so many different activities at school, inside and outside of the class, Meroth is happy to have a teacher she knows she can depend on.

“Ms. Norris just cares so much about her students in general. I feel like with a lot of teachers, I go to class and I sit down and I learn from them and I leave, and it’s just that in-class relationship.

“But with Ms. Norris, it’s always so deeply involved, not only in class, but outside of school. I’m never afraid to come in and talk with her or tell her any exciting news I have,” Meroth said.