Charlie Mahaffey

New civics teacher sparks hopes for students and staff

Cianny Belen

With the new school year, Park has found a lot of new teachers roaming our hallways and setting up shop in classrooms. 

One teacher who has now set foot into Park’s community is Charlie Mahaffey. He teaches freshman civics and world history for the juniors. And he’s just as excited to be here as we are to have him.

“I think [Park] has great energy,” Mahaffey said. “I think a lot of the students are super excited to be here. And some people are nervous, which makes me feel at home since it’s my first year.”

Students can attest to the vibes he gives off. Freshman Eleanor Cruz states just how obvious Mahaffey’s caring demeanor is to not only herself, but other students.

“I think Mr. Mahaffey is great, he really seems like he’s trying to connect with all of his students,” Cruz said. “My first impression of him is that he really wants to make sure that what we’re learning will actually help us in the future.”  

It’s a student like Cruz he hopes to inspire. He doesn’t want to be just another teacher, but a person in their students lives they can learn from. He hopes to be part of  being able to watch his students bloom into adulthood.

“Highschool is a time young students become more mature versions of themselves and also take out identity questions and like change in those ways,” Mahaffey said. “I look forward to watching them grow. I think it’s a really cool process to get to watch.”

With students and himself remarking on how comfortable he seems to be, it’s easy to tell just how easy he has snuck into the hearts of the students and staff at Park. Even before he was hired, staff could connect instantly with his vibes.

Jill Merkle, sophomore and junior history teacher can agree with just how much she thinks he would be a beneficial voice for students and staff alike.

“[Mahaffey’s] great! He is incredibly thoughtful, critically conscious and passionate about teaching and about the community,” Merkle said. “It was his racial consciousness and self reflection as well as his eagerness to learn and grow. He was incredibly passionate as well which made it an even easier decision to hire him.”

And for Mahaffey, the feeling is mutual when it comes to staff. His transition into a new community has been much smoother knowing the staff has his back.

“And I love the other staff that I work with. They’re really wonderful and super supportive,” Mahaffey said. “I also love like I said, I love the energy of the students and I love how they’re also unique and interesting.”

And with those unique perspectives he knows each student and staff in the Park community to have, he knows he’s able to have riveting class discussions because of all the perspectives and beautiful minds that walk into his class everyday. Which was exactly why he wanted to teach at a highschool level.

“I think I can have deeper conversations with high schoolers. I also have coached baseball at the high school level and I was a camp counselor for high school age boys, so it’s the age group where I feel most at home. I think we can have those deeper conversations,” said Mahaffey.

“I knew I wanted to be a high school teacher when I was studying criminal justice and college and realize that a better way for me to change the world was be in a classroom with students, so that I could help them realize their full potential, and also help to work through some of the problematic histories that we have in our country,” said Mahaffey.