The Apple Leaf
This story represents a portion of the recent work produced by The Apple Leaf staff. The Apple Leaf is published by the Advanced Journalism class at Wenatchee High School, under the tutelage of adviser Dave Riggs. The award-winning publication is a forum for expression by the students of Wenatchee High School, affording them a chance to air facts and opinions relative to all issues of concern to them.
After 41 years in education (eight of those being at Wenatchee High School), Mike Franza is entering his last year in the work force. His official title this year is “Dean of Students,” a new position that will be continued at Wenatchee High School after Franza retires.
Franza’s new position includes enforcing disciplinary action (especially related to attendance) and organizing and helping with PAWS activities, iFrosh activities and Culminating Project.
The main difference between the discipline that Franza enforces as opposed to that which campus security officer Don Durden or vice principal Gracie Helm enforce is that Franza’s job is to prevent students from getting in trouble and keep students from reaching a higher level of discipline.
“I try to keep behavioral problems from getting so bad that a kid might get sent home or kicked out of school,” said Franza. “My job is to support the students and sense when something is wrong, so that I can talk to them about the problem and try to fix it.”
Franza was asked by the district to stay for one more year about halfway through last school year. He was given the choice of where to work for his last year, and it was an easy one for him to make.
“I like working with this age group, and there’s something really special about this group of students,” said Franza. “Working with teenagers becoming adults is an amazing thing. The makeup of kids at this school is broad, like the world itself.”
The attitude of the students at WHS about the variety of ethnicities and social classes inspires Franza. “There is no elite group of students; no one really thinks they’re better than the rest of us,” Franza said. “I mean, look at the UNITE project. I love the fact that everyone in the school has a chance to be represented through all of that.”
Bob Celebrezze, the new principal of WHS, is looking forward to working with both the students at WHS and Franza. This will be his 27th year in education, and his 14th year being a principal.
“I had the opportunity to work at one of the finest schools in Washington, and I took it,” said Celebrezze. “I came here for the student body, faculty and staff.”
But don’t think that just because Franza will be involved with the student body, Celebrezze will stay behind the scenes.
“The people I work for are the roughly 2,100 students that go here,” said Celebrezze. “It’s all about the student body, and I hope to develop the same kind of close relationship with the students here that Franza has created over the years.”
When asked why he decided to keep Franza at the high school, Celebrezze answered confidently, “Why wouldn’t I keep him?” He said that the agreement had already been made with the district to keep Franza, and the only question was where he would go. Celebrezze described the dean of students position to be the “perfect fit” for Franza’s people-person personality.
Amanda Bixby is opinion editor for The Apple Leaf, the student newspaper at Wenatchee High School.