Mad for…Tommy

Great is a teacher’s influence on his pupils if they love him. (St. John Bosco)

Eeyore. That’s how we usually describe the youngest of my boys. He’s definitely the guy you want standing next to you as the tornado is about to roll in, because he has already thought through the worst-case scenario, and he will be strong and steady through the storm. Anything less than the apocalypse itself will be a total win in Z’s mind. Perhaps this is why the two of us laughed this week at my attraction to a festive Christmas t-shirt which said, “In a world full of Grinches, be a Cindy Lou Who.” Let’s just say Zach didn’t feel it would work well in HIS life, but he felt it was an annoyingly solid fit for mine. As my youngest son is taking his first set of final exams as a high school student presently, those kiddos and their teachers are on my heart today. It takes a solid educator to be able to reach the Eeyores as well as the Cindy Lou Who types. That’s why I think…God bless good folks like Tommy Mascari, as they serve the Lord through teaching!!

Coach Mascari (pictured above with his wife) has been a Kinesiology teacher at Guerin Catholic for a number of years. In fact, I recall with some humor when my son Nick told me his first test grade in the class was like a 57%. I am certain it was the first test the kid ever came close to failing. I said, “Well? What happened, Nick Fred?” He replied honestly, “It’s PE, Mom. Who knew it was going to be hard? Probably I should think about studying next time.” It was a sage self-correction. You see, Coach Mascari’s class was challenging 7 years ago, and it remains so today.

That said, Tommy Mascari is an understated, hard-working educator who does a beautiful job connecting with the young people entrusted to his care. He’s understanding, faith-filled and fair-minded. Some kids, especially the ones who are related to me, seem to connect especially well to the quiet wit and low-key authenticity of folks like Tommy. They identify best with teachers who lead by example and treat others fairly. It doesn’t hurt if, like Tommy, they are gifted with a little less natural volume and slightly more sarcasm in the arsenal than your average bear as well. Apparently, a Thieme guy can only take so much cheerful enthusiasm, ha?

Tommy Mascari is the handsome husband to an athletic fellow educator named Jen and the father of three. Those are three blessed young people to have such an attentive Dad who supports them in all they do! I’m pretty sure the Mascaris are parishioners at St. Maria Goretti, but I could be wrong on that, so don’t hold me to it?

As a teacher, I think it’s clear Tommy Mascari plans for the success of all his students by the way he operates. His students are attentive and engaged, because he has good control of his classroom. After 8 years of parenting high schoolers, a mom has her sources. He’s generous with his time, and could often be found sharing his classroom space after school with young athletes who needed a place to eat a sandwich before their basketball game, for instance, when my older two kiddos were at GC. He’s been involved for many years with the Guerin Catholic boys basketball program, on which he’s had significant impact– including during a couple state championship runs! He’s not a man who seems to seek notoriety, but he just honestly does his work, offers his gifts, and makes a difference for many young people every day.

I’m indebted to folks like Tommy who brighten the future by the wisdom they share, and the patience they display with their students every day. Thank you, Coach Mascari, for being a friendly face, a bright light, and a gentle guide for my sons….and so many other young people over the years! We are grateful for you!!