Seven Questions: An Interview with Mr. Satalino

Seven Questions: An Interview with Mr. Satalino

By Anthony Lee

Mr. Satalino, chair of the Math department at Charter delivers a speech at the graduation of the Class of 2016. Photo courtesy of Lucy Zuo.

Hello, Mr. Satalino. I hope you have had a restful break. Before I begin, congratulations on your birthday! I hope you have a most wonderful and excellent one.

Thank you.

We have now crossed the threshold into a new year. 2017 will most definitely be filled with many surprises, some good and some bad. As one of the most experienced teachers at Charter, what have you found is the best way to react and adapt to a new year?

With any New Year, you just have to roll with the punches. You give everyone a chance. It’s always been my philosophy not to cause any drama and not to give judgement before something happens — I don’t worry about things before they happen. So whatever the year presents — in relation to an election or a national event or whatever - you roll with it. You give your opinion then after the fact.

Do you have any specific, special memories about 2016?

Well, first, Alan Rickman [Professor Snape, Harry Potter series; Hans Gruber, Die Hard; Sheriff of Nottingham; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves] passed away. I always have thought he was one of the best actors in the last 50 years. Additionally, there were some unusual, fantastic, and tremendous things in relation to locally in the election. This is the first time Delaware has elected a woman representative, and not only is she female, but she’s African-American. That has never happened in Delaware. Her election was a great thing. 

2016 was certainly a most memorable year. Do any other past years come very vividly to mind? 

Two years before, 2015, Leonard Nimoy passed away. I’m a very big fan of the original Star Trek. There’s a calendar on the wall right over there, all the way over on the other side, that has the original Star Trek cast. If you send me an email and I respond to you, you see who’s picture is there - it’s Spock, live long and prosper. I think in any particular year when you lose someone, it’s difficult. They always say time heals all wounds but you never forget. 

Leonard Nimoy, the actor for Spock in the original Star Trek, gives the Vulcan salute. Nimoy passed away in 2015. Photo courtesy of TrekNews.net.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor for Spock in the original Star Trek, gives the Vulcan salute. Nimoy passed away in 2015. Photo courtesy of TrekNews.net.

An entire decade also comes to mind - the 60s - which changed the whole social and psychological circumstances in the whole country, culminating in 1969 with Woodstock. You have an entirely new way of thinking. I’m not saying it was good, I’m not saying it was bad. It’s just something I remember. 

What do you wish or expect to happen in 2017?

Going back to your first question, I’m going to give the person who won the election - the new President of the United States - a chance. You really don’t know what to expect in relation to that. 

Additionally, it will be my 43rd graduation ceremony. I always look forward to that. I have a senior homeroom, so they’ll be leaving me, which is a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that I’m glad to see them graduate and I wish them all happiness and success in the future. It’s another group of young people that I hopefully influenced a bit. The bad thing is that it makes me feel older. But when we start over again, that’s a good thing again.

Mr. Satalino poses for a picture with Ben Fickes, Charter Class of 2016 at the graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Lucy Zuo.

As a teacher who has been at this school for over 18 years, you have impacted many students and faculty along the way, including me. How would you like your legacy to be remembered at this school, and what do you envision as the future and potential of the Charter School of Wilmington?

Well, hopefully, I influence people in two ways to some extent. Knowledge-wise, in relation to what I teach, my goal is to make them successful when they go out into the real world versus the academic world - get their jobs, have their families, and be successful. The other goal I have is, hopefully, they learn something about life. Going along with success, there should be happiness. They should always go hand in hand. 

Charter is very successful. I like being the chairperson of the math department. We are the number one school in the state. You’re part of a department that correlates directly with the fact we are number one school in the state. They look at the math scores and the reading scores to determine that. That’s always gratifying, and I hope that continues. Then, for next school year, we already have 800 odd students who applied; we’re going take about 250 of them for the Class of 2021. And, of course, somebody of my age looks forward to being healthy - so I can continue! I have no intention of retiring. I love to work.

Any words of wisdom for students? It certainly isn’t free, but could you provide a gem for us at the Newspaper?

You know my commandment - always be in control. I’m not talking about controlling other people; I’m talking about controlling your own life. Never get into situations where you’ve lost control and you don’t know exactly how to respond to something. That’s always a smart way to live. That’s one part of it. You also should strive to pursue every avenue of success. Your future endeavours correlate to that directive. But with that success, you should always have some happiness. Don’t do something just for the money. 

Any final words, Mr. Satalino? 

I’ve said this before, but working at Charter is a dream job. Where else can a teacher actually spend their time doing what they were trained for - teaching? Where else can you not be concerned about any overall climate that will take part of your time away from that goal? Where else can I hand out a test in a class, and students actually say thank you?

Thank you very much, Mr. Satalino! It was a pleasure to hear from you. The Charter student body truly appreciates all your personal contributions to this school’s success. The Newspaper and I look forward to hearing back from you again in the near future!

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