Celebrating 15 years of happiness at SHS


Jordin Baker

SHS teacher Joseph Leonard talks to student during class. Leonard has been teaching at SHS for 15 years.

Social studies teacher Joseph Leonard, better known as Mr. Lenny, is starting his 15th year of teaching at SHS. Students know him not only as a psychology and geography teacher but also as someone that is always there for them.

Before he became a teacher, he had tried several different jobs and didn’t like any of them.

“It was a challenging time to figure out what I wanna be when I grew up, even though I was growing up,” Leonard said. “I was just trying things, and failing at things. Saying, ‘It’s okay. I’ve tried it, and it didn’t work, I will move to something else.’”

Leonard became a substitute teacher at SHS during the time he was just thinking about being a teacher. He enjoyed being a substitute teacher, so he went back to college to take teaching classes. He says, he was fortunate enough to get a real teaching job at SHS. At first he thought he would teach U.S. history and government, but when he got here, he was told that they needed someone to teach psychology and geography.

“I said, ‘Sounds good for me,’ and I truly ended up loving these two subjects,” Leonard said.

In these 15 years, SHS had been through many changes. The school has more students and it’s growing bigger and bigger. Leonard thinks it’s a good thing, because it means that more people know how special the community is and why they want to go to this school. In his opinion, the SHS community is something that makes SHS special.

“I feel like it’s a place that welcomes all the different cultures to be a part of the school,” Leonard  said. “The school feels like a community. It feels like people care about each other and support each other – it’s teachers, students, and staff. Everybody. It just feels like a big community. “

Through all of his years at SHS, Leonard has influenced and supported many students. One of the students, Carson Moore, said that Leonard has helped him with his attitude, grades, and he has always been there for him.

Leonard loves helping people. “Especially, I love meeting the freshmen, when they come in and some of them aren’t that interested in school or haven’t been very successful at school before. I remind them how important the freshman year is. I like trying to connect with students to help them know that there will be somebody here every day to help them to have a better experience at school. “

He is also involved in many school activities because he loves being around the community and helping out. As a sponsor of Student Council, he and the class officers are in charge of the upcoming Homecoming dance and many other events. During spring, he helps and sponsors the boys volleyball team and tries to go to and work in different sports and events.

“I like to see my students playing sports or playing at concerts and not just as students in my classroom,” Leonard said.

Being at SHS means so much to Leonard. He says that he feels blessed that he found something that he loves to do every day and has done for the past 15 years.

“I’m still happy to come to work like I was in the first years. I have the same happy feeling,” Leonard said.