Editor’s Note: This story was originally written by and republished with the permission of “The Tattler,” Ithaca High School’s student newspaper. 


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Why I Shop Downtown

Written by Sophia Shi:

Ithaca, N.Y. — William Sauve is a technology education teacher who also is involved with myriad clubs at Ithaca High School.

He teaches a number of Project Lead the Way and manufacturing courses, and advises Remote Control Car Club, the Technology Student Association (TSA), and Code Red Robotics. Having known him for four years, I decided to interview him so others could get to know him as well.

Sophia Shi ’15: Where did you grow up? What is your family like?

William Sauve: I grew up in Camillus, New York, which is a suburb of Syracuse. My mom and my dad are both from the Syracuse area, and my brother, Chris, is two years younger than me. I’m pretty close with my family.

SS: Describe your high-school experience.

WS: I guess it was a typical high-school experience. I didn’t really know what I was going to do when I got out of high school. There was a big push for college back when I was in school, so I thought that I had to go to college. I wanted to be a professional baseball player; I thought I could be a fighter pilot—these were pretty high aspirations for me. Ultimately, I pursued baseball in college and wound up in education, wildly enough.

SS: Why did you decide to become a tech ed teacher?

WS: When I took my classes at Onondaga Community College straight out of high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in. I was told that it was a good option to try the general studies classes and get a bachelor’s degree. When the time came to transfer, SUNY Oswego was a school that I’d been looking at because I knew I was strong in technology. I wanted to do something that I loved to do, and I knew that I had always wanted to build things and tinker with things, so I figured that a technology-related career would be a good way to go. When I was looking at the course studies, technology education popped out. To be honest, the biggest contributing factor for me to get into tech ed was my high-school baseball coach. He was a role model for me all through school. He was also my tech teacher. I guess I identified with him, and we shared a lot of the same interests, so I figured that I’d give it a shot. Once I got through student teaching, I realized that I like working with kids, so that’s what I followed up with.

SS: What are some of your goals as a teacher?

WS: The one thing I want my kids to be able to do in a classroom is to be comfortable with me as their instructor. I want them to be able to trust me—to know that I’m there and I’m trying to do my best so they get the material—and hopefully have a good time while doing it. A demonstration of mutual respect between me and the students—that’s what I really shoot for.

SS: What’s your favorite class to teach?

WS: Digital Electronics is one of my favorite classes to teach. It’s funny, because it’s one of the harder classes to teach in terms of the prep and the material, but it’s a really good mix of applied math and hands-on stuff. I think most of the kids who take it enjoy it too.

SS: Why should people take a tech ed class?

WS: It’s cliché, but we’re kind of like a best-kept secret. The deal is, if you think that on any level, you want to pursue a career in technology, technology education, or related fields, you want to get a good head start. A lot of what I’ve heard from students coming back from college is that our classes have prepared them very well for classes and courses, even outside of college.

SS: What’s the hardest part about teaching tech ed?

WS: You can never really get comfortable with anything. Everything is constantly changing. One day, you could be 100 percent comfortable with teaching a class or software, and then a whole new version comes out and you’ve got to reacquaint yourself with it. And you have to be prepared to not only answer your own questions, but to anticipate the questions of 110 students every day.

SS: What’s your favorite part of the high school?

WS: One thing that I really enjoy every year is the holiday craft fair. I feel like it gets kids together working with faculty—it’s a really fun and laid-back atmosphere. I’ve also enjoyed some of the sports-themed events. I played in the handball tournament one year with some faculty, which was a really good time. I’d like to see more of that, definitely.

SS: How do students today compare to students when you were in high school?

WS: I feel like students today in high school and college have a lot more opportunities than I ever had at this point in the game. For example, I know that when I was in high school, there were very few opportunities for dual college credit. I never really had the chance to take classes for free or reduced college credit. So that’s one small example of how things have changed. This is a tough subject, but I hope that the preconceived notion that you have to go to college to be successful isn’t something that’s still around. I remember when I was in high school, you went to college and that was it. We’d like kids to know that you can go to a trade-specific school or do something that’s skill based. It’s not that college is bad, but it doesn’t have to be forced.

SS: What do you like to do outside of school?

WS: I like to fish, which is super relaxing. In the summer, on Sundays, I pitch for the Syracuse MSBL Chiefs, which is a fun way to spend the summer and keeps me in shape and on my toes. When I’m not fishing or on the mound with the Chiefs, you can find me under the hood of my Lancer Evolution trying to find something to fix.

SS: If you were a student at IHS, which extracurriculars would you be in?

WS: I would probably be in TSA and Code Red Robotics because I find things in each of the organizations that I really love. TSA offers the opportunity to do pretty much any technology-related event you want, and we still work as a team within the organization. Code Red has a very similar setup, although they work on one event throughout the course of the year with a much larger crew. Out of both clubs, you get the math-science-technology–hands-on approach, and I think both are super beneficial.

SS: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

WS: One day in college, I was working out in the weight room. At the time, I was pitching for the OCC Lasers. I had a freak weightlifting accident with a 45-pound dumbbell and I severed the tip of my middle finger. I thought I’d never throw a baseball again. I thought my finger was gone. But I recovered from it, and I was able to play not only at OCC, but at Oswego State in another two years.

SS: What’s one thing that your students have taught you?

WS: It’s okay to fail—and it’s okay to fail often—as long as you learn from your mistakes.

SS: What is one piece of advice you want to give to IHS students?

WS: Don’t ever stray from your dreams, but at the same time, maintain a balance of reality. Don’t let people discourage you from following what you really want in life.

Favorite high school subjects: Physics

Favorite invention/innovation: Jet engine (I’m currently building one in my garage)

Biggest pet peeve: Bad drivers

Favorite piece of mechanical equipment: Laser cutter

Desert island necessity: Duct tape

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.