Columnist appreciates a principal who cares about the students of UAHS

By Clare Driscoll, ’19

At its core, student journalism gives a voice to stories that students are worried about, but nobody is addressing. Through my three years on the Arlingtonian staff, I’ve written about how the #MeToo movement impacted our school, party culture, the political climate of the school following the 2016 election and many other stories that call in to question the climate of our school. In many schools around the country, stories like this don’t run.

When I decide to pursue a story that may deal with sensitive topics, it is always so helpful to know that Mr. Theado will support us. The first time I interviewed him for the story about sexual harassment in the school, I thought he was going to be very defensive of the school and its policies. I was expecting to go in and have this interview be more of journalism versus administration conversation. Instead, we had a constructive conversation about where the school stood with the awareness of sexual harassment and how he thought we could improve.

From then on, every interview I’ve had with Mr. Theado has been a positive conversation about our school. He gives us all of the information he possibly can and will make time to meet not just with Arlingtonian, but any student about anything they may want to talk about. There have been times where I have stopped Mr. Theado in the hallway to ask him questions for a story and he dropped what he was doing to help out.

Writing a story that may criticize the school can always be tough for a student journalist. Not only do you have to worry about what administration or teachers will think of you once the story is released, but it also means having difficult conversations with the people literally in charge of your academic life. With Mr. Theado it’s never felt like a difficult conversation. Instead, he let’s there be an open dialogue and will answer anything we have for him. He has made it feel like it’s not only ok but encouraged to ask about how the school we spend all of our time works.

After seeing how great he is with my stories from the Arlingtonian, It really made me appreciate more all that he does for the students and staff of UAHS. My first few years as a student, I only saw Mr. Theado as an authority figure to be feared. After taking notice of how he was so kind and open during interviews, I noticed how much Mr. Theado cares about every single student in this school. From saying hi to everyone in the hallway to having lunches with students to talk about what they want to see out of the high school, he puts in the work to make sure every student feels a part of the school.

When we lose our parking or have to switch to iPads, it can be easy to blindly blame the administration for not thinking of the students. But after seeing firsthand how Mr. Theado cares about every single student and staff member, I ask everyone to think about how the school would be different without an honest and well-meaning principal like Mr. Theado.