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By Veronica D, BTW Student

As we say goodbye to our beloved and passionate teacher, Ms. Thomas, who has taken on a new role here at Washington High School, we say hello to our new teacher, Mr. Somto. He is a young, energetic teacher who was born in Nigeria and graduated from the University of Houston. He has come to us ready to take on the challenge and reward of being a full time social studies teacher. I had a chance to get to know our newest Eagle a little better.

Veronica: Why did you choose to become a teacher? What attracted you to this career field?
Mr. Somto: “I believe I can make a difference in a student’s life and believe that students should be able to learn something new every day. That is what I have set as a goal for my classroom this school year. Ms. Harris and Ms. Haynes interviewed me, and they convinced me to come teach at Booker T. The passion and love Mrs. Thomas had for her job and students was actually what made me want the job even more.”

Veronica: Are you a role model?
Mr. Somto: “I feel I can be a great example or in other words, be a role model to the students here at Booker T. Washington. So far, BTW has been an amazing experience for me. The students are great, and I kind of know what they are going through as young adults. I can relate myself to each and every one of them. As for the staff, I feel very welcomed. When I walk down the hallways, lots of teachers have asked how I was doing and everyone is willing to help with ideas and advice. I personally couldn’t have imagined it to be any better.”

Veronica: What has surprised you most since you have been here?
Mr. Somto: “The school is very different from how I thought it would be. It has been wonderful. The students are so engaging that they are the first thing I think of in the morning. I am excited about teaching my classes, especially during this time in history, and it makes me smile to think about the decision that I have made.”

Veronica: Who or what has motivated you to continue striving for success?
Mr. Somto: “My dad is the one person who has motivated me to remain focused to do my best. Being born in Nigeria and seeing my dad make the decision to give up financial security there to begin anew and start from the bottom in a new country keeps me driven to give my all every day. When I think about his sacrifice, it motivates me.”

Veronica: Do you think the recent election has inspired or deterred students from wanting to learn about American government?
Mr. Somto: “I think a little of both. They have so many opinions and yes, some have questioned the purpose of voting at all; however, it made for some very good discussions. It gave me the opportunity to explain the Electoral College and the importance of congressional elections.”

Veronica: Last but not least, Mr. Somto, what is your impression of Washington High and what should we remember about you?
Mr. Somto: “I have nothing but positive statements for our principal, Dr. Phillips, and my new school. Dr. Phillips truly, truly cares about the students and shows it. It is a pleasant surprise because out of all the schools I have been to where I see how nobody really cares and people just want to get it over with and go home, here you can actually see how every single person cares about the students’ well-being. I am pleased to be here and want students to know that my door is always open to them. I am elated and excited about the opportunity to inspire our next generation of leaders.”

The student body would like to give a big Eagle welcome to Mr. Igbelina Somtochukwu!