The Phoenix

Goodbye, Mr. Unverzagt

Get to know one of Holy Family’s favorite teachers, in CASE you never got the chance to meet him…

Mr. Case Unverzagt, otherwise known as @hfapenglish on Twitter, an individual whose name no one can say and handwriting no one can read. His witty humor and elaborate in-depth explanations of books such as The Scarlett LetterThe Great Gatsby, Heart of Darkness, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Huckleberry Finn, The Awakening and many others, is nothing short of incredible. Not only has he contributed to the academic development of students, but also to their character and morals. This particular Holy Family English teacher has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless Holy Family students.

We decided to interview Mr. U to hear about some of his favorite memories at Holy Family and learn more about his plans for the future.

How did you feel during your first day at Holy Family?

“Like most people starting a new job, I felt a little uncertain and nervous, but excited. I did get a lot of help from the people in my department who were willing to help out.”

What is one of your favorite memories from Holy Family?

“Some of my students once brought a Christmas tree into my classroom- that was really funny. I remember some funny Christmas convocations too.”

What’s your favorite book?

“Ooo just one book? Ummm I don’t know if I  have a favorite…. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road I think about that one, particularly the ending and some of the imagery and then some of William Gibson’s novels really stick with me, he writes a lot of technological thrillers which are solid.”

What will you miss most about Holy Family?

“I think I’ll miss the people and the relationships with people. The students are great, the staff is great, and it’s been fun to get to know people and work with them over the years. *Quinn coughes* Oh, and of course Quinn Pausche.”

If you could meet with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?

“I would probably want to go out and go fishing with Ernest Hemingway, I think that would be a ton of fun. He always writes about fishing and I love to fish. I think it would be fun to talk to Tony Morrison, Seamus Heaney, I’ve heard he’s a great conversationalist and he’s fun from people I know who have spoken with him. I think Nathaniel Hawthorne would be really boring.”

Are there any embarrassing teacher moments you’ve had during your time at Holy Family?

“Oh yeah I’ve had a bunch of embarrassing teacher moments! I’ve never thrown up in class which is great. Just saying stupid stuff that you didn’t mean to say in class can be funny. When you mis-enter a grade and don’t realize it until after the fact, that happens sometimes. Sometimes the lessons you plan just blow up and don’t work.”

What are you most excited for at your new job?

“I think it will be interesting to meet new people and to have new opportunities and to meet new students. I also think it will be nice to be closer to home, I’ll enjoy not being in the car as much.”

If you could give any advice to your students what would it be?

“Trust yourselves, you’re good students and you should be confident in your skills and your abilities. Don’t be overly anxious about the outcome but engage in the process, work hard and you will be successful.”

 

Nora Erdman, a 2018 graduate, stated, “Mr. U helped me learn how to not only write well but how to enjoy it. He emphasized that I should always make my writing my own by using a style that I like and writing about things that I found interesting. AP English and Honors American Literature are two of my favorite classes that I have ever taken and it’s mostly because Mr. U was the teacher. He knows how to have fun with his students while teaching like 5 subjects in one class. Also, he gave us a lot of extensions on papers so that was pretty nice.” 

Mr. Unverzagt has done more than help students academically. Not only has he advanced the knowledge of students inside the classroom, but also outside the classroom. Mr. Unverzagt led numerous school-related clubs and activities.

Mark Haran, another 2018 graduate who had Mr. U for Honors American Literature and AP English, stated his deep appreciation for Mr. Unverzagt as a teacher and influential individual: “Hey Mr. U! If you are reading this, I’m still publishing articles for The Phoenix even though I am on summer vacation. What a loser right? I find interest in doing this partially because of you! I didn’t even tell Anna that I was going to put this in but when I saw that there was an article about you, I had to use my editorial powers to say something: Mr. Unverzagt is one of those teachers that you will always remember. Not only was he a fantastic teacher that helped me delve into a subject that I had no interest in beforehand, but also contributed to my own personal growth and fulfillment. Whether it be on the soccer field where he laughs when we are down 0-14 to Edina, or in the classroom when he hosted Super Smash Bros Club and found enjoyment in watching us play video games, he always seems to look at things in a positive and hopeful manner. Mr. Unverzagt is more than just a teacher, he’s a friend to students. He understands what we are going through, he knows that high school is rough, he even tends to bash it quite often in his lectures. Nevertheless, Mr. Unverzagt’s ability to connect with students was something truly special. He will be immensely missed by the Holy Family community, and we are thankful we got to learn and grow from him.”

Thank you, Mr. U, for all of your lessons. Whether it was life advice or teaching your students how to properly write a paper, your work has never gone unnoticed. You will truly be missed here at Holy Family Catholic High School. We wish you the best of luck at your new job!

 

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