Tag Archives: Mr. Harris

While some things change at Mount St. Joseph, others stay the same

Mount Saint Joseph has undoubtedly changed over the years, but change is inevitable. After 145 years, Mount Saint Joseph has gone through many changes along its path, but has continued to stand strong all these years later. Some significant recent events that have changed Mount Saint Joe could be the rise of technology, and the current pandemic that changed learning forever. Mount Saint Joe was built on the Xavierian values, and even with all of the changes that have occurred in the 145 years of Mount Saint Joe’s existence, the values and overall message of the school haven’t changed.

A picture of Mount St. Joseph’s campus today

I Interviewed the longest tendered Mount Saint Joseph community member, Mr. Jerry Naylor, who has been a staple at the Mount for 41 years. After finishing college with a political science and geography major, Mr. Naylor decided to get a license in real estate but decided to start taking night classes for a degree in accounting. In the 41+ years that Mr. Naylor has been at Mount Saint Joseph, he believes the most significant change with Mount Saint Joe was moving away from an open campus model. The open campus model allowed students to have a lot more free time during the school day.

As of now, the schedules are broken into specific requirements; for example, freshmen are supposed to take seven or more classes during their first year, while seniors get a lot more freedom in how many, and which classes they take. Another massive change for the Mount has been the evolving campus over the years. Not surprisingly, the school has gone under massive renovations to the buildings and the addition of facilities, such as the Smith Center. With the iPad being implemented in the classroom seven years ago, teachers have had to adapt to using the technology each day in their classes. The iPads have been great additions for students and teachers, but they have caused some problems as well. Mr. Naylor believes that “iPads should be used for researching information,  sharing, and projecting information to the students.” Mr. Naylor states that “technology has created a challenge to interact with the students on a more personal level.” Virtual learning was one of the most challenging things teachers and students have had to overcome. It was a fundamental change of environment, in which teachers and students were forced to teach and learn virtually. 

I also interviewed Mr. Jody Harris, the 2nd longest-tenured faculty member at Mount Saint, as he has been at Mount Saint Joe for 37 years. Mr. Harris, a political science major, left school and got a job selling electric security for Wells Fargo, but didn’t enjoy it. He was hired in 1985 without really having any teaching experience, and he has been a teacher at Mount Saint Joe ever since. “Teaching felt pretty natural to me, so I stuck with it,” said Mr. Harris. Through the years Mr. Harris has been at Mount Saint Joseph, he has seen the changes that have occurred to the school. He says that the essence of the school hasn’t changed, as we still follow the message and the mold of the brothers, but he says that the renovations to the campus are the most significant.

The iPad has created a challenge, but they have allowed the school to take advantage of the digital link between teachers and students. Mr. Harris believes that iPads can be a problem because they are significant distractions and are constantly misused from their original purpose. Covid also forced schools to begin an entirely virtual learning model, which has not ever been done before. Covid moved teachers out of their comfort zone and challenged them to use things they would have never used before. “Covid has also changed teachers’ expectations, and understanding of the challenges that the students were facing,” Mr. Harris added.

The newest building on the St. Joe campus, the Smith Center.

Mount Saint Joseph has changed in so many ways since it was first established in 1876. The most significant change that has occurred to the Mount during the times of Mr. Naylor and Mr. Harris are the dramatic changes to the campus. The entire renovation of the school and the addition of athletic facilities have changed the school considerably, and encouraged more students to attend each year. Teachers have also made significant changes to some of the challenges that came their way, such as how teachers and students have adapted to the technological advances that have happened in education. With all of these changes that have occurred during the 145 years of the school’s existence, the overall message of Mount Saint Joe hasn’t changed, and with so many teachers that hold on to their memory of their times as students, hopefully, that won’t change any time soon.

Joshua Sheppard is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

Teacher Tales: Mr. Jody Harris

Ever wondered what kind of funny stories the St. Joe teachers have stored up? So did we! So we set out to document some of the greatest stories from the school’s most popular teachers. Check out the second installment of Teacher Tales, featuring Mr. Jody Harris.

Nick DeLauro is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class, and a member of The Quill.

Cole Hite is a member of The Quill.

Orioles’ FanFest: An Interview with Coach Harris

IMG_2521Orioles’ FanFest is an annual celebration where the fans interact with some of their favorite players. The Mount Saint Joe baseball program gets invited back to help out with Fan Fest every year. To preview FanFest for this year, I sat down with Mr. Harris, the head coach of the varsity baseball team, to ask him some questions regarding St. Joe’s participation in Orioles FanFest.

Jake Howell: What is your favorite memory from any of the FanFests the team has attended?

Mr. Jody Harris: Well I’d have to say when Steve Clevenger got traded to the Orioles, that was kind of a pretty special thing. Not only were we interacting with the Orioles and helping them promote baseball in Baltimore, but the fact that we had a personal connection with one of the players was special for me having coached him. It was a pretty neat thing for our players to be around someone who played in the same program that they’re playing in.

JH: Who are some Orioles players you have talked to over the years?

MH: I’ve talked to a significant number of them. It’s been my experience that for the most part those guys are pretty accommodating and just regular guys. I mean, we see them as supermen because they’re professional athletes, but the fact is they’re just regular people. I remember interacting with players who were long shots to make the team, and when they made the team I sort of felt a connection to them. For example, last year I sat next to Jimmy Paredes, waiting for one of the instructional times to come up. He doesn’t speak very much English, but I was able to communicate with him and the Chick-Fil-A cow. That is what we had in common, that we both liked chicken. But the fact of the matter was he was a long shot to make the team, and then he had the best spring of his career and made the team out of spring training. Then I felt a connection to Jimmy Paredes all year-long, because of the chicken-cow connection.

Varsity Baseball Coach Mr. Harris and Orioles player Jimmy Paredes

JH: How do you think the Orioles’ players rub off on our players?

MH: I would say that generally the players are good role models for our guys. They see how those players interact with the community, they see how they interact with the kids, and more often than not those players are pretty friendly to our players too, so I think generally our players have come away with a pretty good feeling about those guys. It’s kind of neat to have been next to and helped in an instructional phase with a player that you see on TV that season. That’s kind of a neat thing I think is an outcome of our participation in FanFest. There have been some instances where I have been disappointed in some of the ways the players interacted with our guys and with the fans, but overall their actions have been positive.

JH: How did St. Joe’s participation in FanFest come together?

MH: I am not exactly positive, but I know that Mr. Norton and Mr. Cameron run the Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game, which is played at Camden Yards, and used to be in conjunction with the Orioles. So Mr. Norton has had a pretty long relationship with the Orioles, particularly people in their marketing department. I remember that it was the Crown All-Star Game at the time when Baltimore hosted the MLB All-Star Game, and the players that were chosen for the Crown All-Star Game were the ones that shagged flies for the Home Run Derby contest, so that connection goes back quite a long ways. I believe that was maybe 1993, so Mount Saint Joe and the Baltimore Orioles have had a pretty strong working relationship for a number of years.

JH: How did Steve Clevenger react when he found out he was being traded to the Baltimore Orioles?

MH: Well, I remember being in touch with him and how excited he was to be coming back to Baltimore. The downside was he also knew that the Orioles had Matt Wieters and that it would be difficult to compete for a regular job. So while it was exciting to come back to his home team, he also recognized that it may have been a more difficult path to stay in the major leagues than it would have been with the [Chicago] Cubs. Having said that, I think that Steve, who has now been traded to the Seattle Mariners, did the best with his opportunity here. He could not have had a stronger spring last spring, and he made the Opening Day roster. Then, unfortunately, he was optioned out after the first game, and that is because he had options. Because he had options, he did not have a lot of leverage for negotiation, and it was easy for the Orioles to send him down. And from what I understand, the life of a Triple-A player and the life of a Major League player are significantly different, not just to mention the pay check.

JH: In your opinion, how has his playing days at MSJ influenced the way he holds himself in the game today?

MH: I would like to think that St. Joe had quite a bit to do with the kind of character and man that he is. Obviously most of that comes from his family, but I think being a part of this community and being a part of this program helped him compete at a high level. It also put him in position where he had to handle himself in public because we’re a high-profile program, and he was one of the best players on a high-profile program. I think that was valuable for him to be mature enough to handle the adjustment to professional baseball.

JH: Mount Saint Joe is the only high school that helps out at FanFest. What makes MSJ stand out above other schools?

MH: From a practical standpoint, we had the connection. From the point of view as to why we’ve maintained that position with the Orioles, it’s because of the way that we do what we say we are going to do. When we say we are going to volunteer, we have people there who pay attention to the thing they are supposed to pay attention to. Now, if you’re a player and you’re running a station that has kids hitting a wiffle ball with a wiffle ball bat on a tee, and you man that station for an hour, it can be easy for you to lose your focus or concern for the next person in line. But what I think our guys recognize is that for that kid, that’s his time. We give him the attention that he deserves as if it was one of our guys who was up next. I think that attention to detail, that recognition about the importance of what it is that we are doing, and that it is a reflection on the Baltimore Orioles is a reason why the Orioles continue to ask us back.

This year, the Orioles FanFest is Saturday, December 12.