Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CMH Faculty Member a "Difference Maker"


Photo by Kevin Harnack/Waukesha Freeman Staff

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37 rewarding years of achievement
He’s kind of the school’s dad’
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By Joe Petrie Freeman Staff
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WAUKESHA – While 37 years on the job may seem too long for most people, Catholic Memorial High School teacher Chris Andacht would beg to differ. “The everyday energy I get from these kids keeps my fire burning,” Andacht said. “And watching these kids make achievements every school day is always my high point of the day.”
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Besides teaching, Andacht keeps his work plate full. He’s a cross country coach, track coach and drama director for the school. And to his students and his peers, Andacht is a true difference maker at Catholic Memorial for his years of tireless work making sure children make the most of their potential. Andacht has spent the past 26 years at Catholic Memorial developing himself and his students.
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In his time there, he has coached countless athletes to victory, turned a fledgling drama program into a state powerhouse and seen students go on to do great things with their lives. He puts his heart into every school day in order to make sure students succeed and get the most out of his profession as possible by making them practice over and over. In fact, drama students said sometimes he has them watch tape of performances for up to six hours on the weekends just to show them areas to work on.
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Andacht said it can be difficult at times to balance coaching, drama and teaching, but he keeps them spread out through the year in order to devote full attention to programs. He makes sure to give full attention to them because he said he wants to give students opportunities he lost out on when he was their age. “There’s never a day where a kid doesn’t make a gain, whether it’s in theater, in track or in the classroom,” he said. “It’s a profession where you get a chance to touch and mold their lives.”
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Andacht’s ability to motivate kids is legendary for all of his students. His track runners say he knows how to push them to the next level, and his drama students say his passion and energy are so intense that they almost “expect him to salivate” at times. “He pays very close attention and always will talk to us one-on-one,” senior drama student Laura Hartmann said. “He’s also very patient and reminds us that what we accomplish comes from grunt work, and it’s just the grunt work and how hard we work at it that gets us to accomplish things.”
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Andacht has also had the pleasure of teaching his own daughters throughout the years at Catholic Memorial, which has drawn some concerns from students that he’ll retire after his youngest daughter Ame Andacht graduates at the end of the school year. But what his daughter already knows is that his Catholic Memorial family stretches well beyond his biological children. “It’s really cool to have him here because it feels like he’s everyone’s dad,” Ame Andacht said. “He’s kind of the school’s dad.”


Congratulations Mr. Andacht! Thanks for being a great representative of CMH!
Fr. Paul




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