Alumni Reflection: Eric Velt ’04

My name is Eric Velt, and I am a proud member of Academy at the Lakes’ Class of 2004. I say proud member because I am proud to say I am a member of the Academy at the Lakes family. I was a part of the “Trailblazer Generation” of students that helped build the school to what it is today. During my time here I thought, as any student would think to themselves, “Does the administration really know what they’re doing?” Now, as a teacher myself and through my travels with my own schools, I’ve learned that Academy really is doing something right. I’ve worked at other private schools that have their own missions and approaches to private school education, and while great in their own regard, they simply do not compare to the personal approach that Academy delivers.

Academy shows a large level of decorum toward every student, whether an individual might be that particular teacher’s student or not. I’ll never forget my first day as a student at Academy. I stood in the main office waiting for my schedule when a teacher came up to me and welcomed me with open arms. I simply said, “Thank you” out loud, but in my head, I thought, “Who are you?” Lo and behold, it was Miss Ivie, a middle school teacher that I would never have the pleasure of being her student, but we will always be entwined as stage crew buddies for life. I went on to help establish the Junior Statesmen of America and created the traditions associated with being the photo editor of the school’s yearbook.

I mentioned earlier that I am a teacher, but it was an experience after my graduation from high school that brings me full circle. I was thinking of pursuing a career in teaching and contacted the Middle Division Director Mr. Pitcairn for a little advice. He awarded me a teaching internship in the fifth and sixth grade suite. Within the first five minutes of standing in front of a class, I was hooked on teaching, and I have Academy to thank for that. Most importantly, I finally got to go in the infamous kitchen that Mr. Heller spent so much time keeping me out of!

Throughout my travels as a teacher, I’ve always compared my experiences to those from my time at Academy, doing my best to replicate the success Academy finds within my own classroom and with my students – from the level of decorum to the individuality of the teachers. To this day I always teach History like Mr. Hagenau does – by telling it like a story. Because who doesn’t love a good story… especially from Mr. Hagenau?!

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