Former Student Returns to Teach His Favorite Subject With His Mentor


Mr. Temple , a 2009 graduate from WSHS, joins his mentor, Mr. Stan Svec, as he begins his first year teaching in the History Department at West Side.

Alex Temple was a 2009 WSHS graduate and now you can find him in A013 teaching history one door down from one of his biggest influences, History Department Chair and teacher, Mr. Stan Svec.  Mr. Temple has always loved history, so it was something he knew he was going to pursue.

 “When I was a student here, I had a vague impression that I would be a teacher. There were times when I thought of moving away, but the idea of teaching here was always a possibility in my mind,” Mr. Temple recalled. 

Mr. Temple graduated from UMass Lowell with a degree in history. He thought about getting his PhD and becoming a professor but decided to move back to West Side instead. After moving back, he started substitute teaching, and then taught at Michael E. Smith Middle School in South Hadley for three years, until becoming a permanent part of the WSHS community this fall.

 “I had experience here as a student, a student-teacher, and a substitute, so I was very comfortable coming back,” he shared. 

 Temple remembers the old building as a student. Coming into this much newer and much more technologically advanced building this year was an adjustment. Yet, he misses the old building for a different reason. He admitted the old building definitely had its flaws but it had so many memories and a unique presense that he will always remember. “I’m nostalgic and miss old places. I have a brick from the old building in my room so I can remember it,” he said. 

The kid’s knowledge of History…and breadth of knowledge of History is outrageous and his desire to share matches that. He eats, sleeps, and breathes History,”

— Mr. Stan Svec, History Department

From what he has experienced, “The atmosphere feels generally the same so far. The attitude of the students remains the same,” he said. At all the different schools he has taught in the past decade West Side really stands out to him. 

“My favorite thing about teaching here is the sense of community in the building. I’ve taught at a lot of different places, West Side is unique in how strong its community is,” he said. Mr. Temple loves this town, school, students and faculty. 

Mr. Temple’s dad grew up with Mr. Svec, and he has been a part of his life since he was young. In eighth grade he was a student of Mr. Svec’s. Temple also interned for Mr. Svec when he moved from teaching at the middle school to the high school. 

“Between the official Civil War field trip and a ton of other reenactments and historic themed journeys, Svec showed me this can be an exciting, living topic, and inspired me to emulate him,” said Mr. Temple. 

Throughout his education, all of Temple’s history teachers inspired him and helped foster his love for history. 

Katherine Blazejowski, another one of Mr. Temple’s history teachers here at WSHS expressed, “He was meant to be a teacher. He cares about the students and wants to see them succeed.” And because of that the History Department is happy to have him on the team. She said, “He was already a historian in high school, so it is no surprise that he became a history teacher.”

 The kid’s knowledge of History…and breadth of knowledge of History is outrageous and his desire to share matches that. He eats, sleeps, and breathes History,” echoed Mr. Svec.