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2024 Senior Awards Ceremony
2024 Senior Awards Ceremony
Marializ Diaz June 7, 2024

Waterford High School’s 2024 Senior Awards Ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 4th.  The ceremony gave honor to many...

Camille Cadrello meeting her roommate for the first time after talking online.
Finding a Roommate
Saeeda Samed, Author • June 4, 2024

As the school year comes to an end, the 2024 Waterford seniors are getting ready to graduate and move on. In college,...

Michael Ellis: The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Michael Ellis: The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Saeeda Samed, Author • June 4, 2024

Inside the third floor computer room at Waterford High School resides veteran teacher Michael Ellis. This year marks Mr....

Michael Ellis: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Michael+Ellis%3A+The+Man%2C+The+Myth%2C+The+Legend

Inside the third floor computer room at Waterford High School resides veteran teacher Michael Ellis.

This year marks Mr. Ellis’s 29th year of teaching. Over the years he has taught mathematical subjects such as Coastal Navigation and Probability and Statistics. 

He was raised in the Stonington side of Mystic and attended Stonington High School.

Teaching has been a prominent profession in his family: “I come from a family of teachers. My father was a teacher. My mother was a teacher. I’ve got a sister and a brother who are teachers and now one of my eldest daughters is a teacher so I always had a lot of teaching in the family that way”. 

Mr. Ellis had a good high school education and came to have a love of math during that time. 

“As a kid I enjoyed high school. High school was fun for me. My favorite subject was math and computer programming because at that point in time computers were just starting. And the other class I really enjoyed was drafting. I enjoyed constructing pictures or diagrams with all the different tools.” 

When he first started as a teacher, he had to learn through experience to adapt teaching styles and recognize that every kid learns differently. This is especially true when he deals with female versus male students. 

“In the beginning when I first started teaching, I taught everyone the same way. It didn’t matter if it was male, female, whatever. And I guess being a football coach I deal with almost all males in that realm.”

Ellis, however, has five daughters. “Then at home I deal with all females, so I’ve kinda seen the difference in how they handle things and how they work and I guess I am the point now where a lot of times I can just look at someone or see how they are responding and tell, okay I need to go figure out what’s going on or I need give them space.” 

“My home is like a sorority house (laughs). My girls range in age from 11 to 25, so I deal with a lot. Males are emotional but hide it whereas girls they don’t hide it; they’ll let you know that way. I had to learn to be more patient and to really ask questions that can get to the bottom of the issue and then once we know what the issue is we can get to the bottom of it”. 

One person that inspired Mr. Ellis’s teaching career was his PE teacher Joe Ciriello. The traits Mr. Cirriello displayed as a teacher and as a human would be something Mr. Ellis would appreciate much more when he became a teacher himself. 

“He was a great storyteller. He was a hard worker. He instructed in a way that was piece by piece to work it up to the main goal that you had. Another thing I appreciated about him was that he was a person of his word. What he said is what he did”. 

Moreover, Mr. Ellis loves his job dearly and prioritizes his students’ learning and getting better at subjects they didn’t know about before. 

“I want every single student to be better at whatever subject it is that they’re in my class with at the end of the year then at the beginning of the year, otherwise it’s all a waste of time”. 

Senior Ava Tinnerelo says, “It’s been hard coming to school consistently for the past couple of weeks so whenever I’m in class he makes it easier for me to catch up.”

“He respects students and students respect him. He’s really well rounded and he has a great energy to bring to the class everyday”, says Jamison Rush. 

Another student, senior Cate Smathers, had Mr. Ellis both her freshman and senior year: “Whenever I went to his class, whatever mood I was in he always found a way to bring it up”. 

Overall, Mr. Ellis is content with having done a profession he loves and is passionate about. With this being Mr. Ellis’s 29th year of teaching he often reflects on his career as a teacher and is unsure of his life post-retirement. 

“You get to the point sometimes where you want to try to do something different and it’s not that I want to not do anything, I want to continue to do stuff, I just don’t know what it is at this point in time.”

 

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About the Contributor
Saeeda Samed
Saeeda Samed, Reporter
Saeeda Samed is a senior from Waterford High School. She has lived in several  places, including Ghana, and now resides in Quaker Hill. She lives at home with her mom, dad, and older sister. In her free time she likes to take walks, listen to music, and bake. 
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