Three decades of U-High

Janelle McDowell, Reporter

For teaching the longest at U-High, Michael Sondgeroth and Lester Hampton have impacted this school and the people within it.

“It was just the expectations here, the same expectations we put on our students, are placed on our faculty,” math teacher Mi Sondgeroth said. “We expect our students to be the best and the same is expected of our faculty.”

Sondgeroth previously worked as a TCH student before applying as a teacher. He was very impressed by the people he worked with and had mentors that made his transition easy.

“I student taught here, and that gave me an opportunity to see what a great school it was. I was open to the opportunity of teaching here,” Hampton said.

Hampton also student taught at U-High before applying, and this was his first career job after college.

In an interview, Markert described Sondgeroth as being this school’s “resident historian.”

“[Sondgeroth’s] impacted U-High in so many ways. He knows the entire history about basically everything related to U-High,” principal Andrea Markert said.

After being through so many years and changes, Sondgeroth provides a unique perspective. He knows the importance of each tradition and event.

“He does a lot of things that people probably don’t notice the importance of. I’m even talking about outside of the classroom,” assistant principal Steve Evans said.

Outside of the classroom, Sondgeroth reads names at graduation every year and even runs the practice for it. He also is the club sponsor for U-Build.

“I’ve seen how much work and time he puts into U-Build, it really means something to him,” senior Anna Rodriguez said.

Hampton also impacts U-High outside of the classroom.

“He’s really pushed us as a team and he always wants us to improve and get better. He’s pushed me to become a better runner,” senior Jack Franklin said.

Many runners are appreciative of Hampton’s coaching. Markert saw this on social media.

“I saw on the U-High Facebook post how so many of his previous runners posted about how he had changed their lives,” Markert said. “I think that pretty much encompasses everything about him.”

Evans has also seen Hampton’s impact personally.

“You have to think about the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students that he’s impacted. He care. He truly cares; it’s not just words,” Evans said.

As much as U-High has been impacted by Sondgeroth and Hampton, it’s made a big impact on them as well.

“Even though it’s been my only job, I’ve been to a lot of schools. Just the way that things operate here, the way that the teachers interact with the students and the way the students interact with the teachers, I think it’s just different,” Hampton said.

Hampton places a huge emphasis on interactions between students and teachers. His advice is to get to know students and show them that you really care for them.

“When I do walk out that door for the last time, it’s going to be emotional,” Hampton said. “But it’s also going to be an opportunity to look back on my time here with some really, really fun memories, memories that I won’t forget.”