Since the 8th grade, Wayne Straka has had an interest in history above all other classes. As time went on, his interest continued to grow leading him to take course after course. Right before he left for college, he decided he wanted to pursue one goal: becoming a teacher. To some, history may seem just what it is, but to Straka, it means a lot more.
“I feel like knowing what happened back then is very important,” Straka said. “I think even events that may not be well known are so fun to look into. You learn about so many different parts of the world.”
Straka is now the history teacher at Hebron High School. He teaches AP, American, and world history classes, using a method far from typical. Straka develops a lot of the teaching material himself and strives to be as active as possible with students to keep them engaged, having them often work in groups to keep them active and interested.
“I feel all of my students are my biggest inspiration,” Straka said. “I love to get to know each of these kids, and I try to at least learn one major thing about everyone.”
According to Straka, nothing could tear him away from teaching. There is one thing that comes close, though: sports. Straka has been a sports fanatic since he was little. His father took him to basketball games in Hebron, which led him to take up both baseball and basketball.
“When I am not at school or home, I can be found at the track or near a field,” Straka said. “I have traveled all around the country for some events. I just love the atmosphere it brings.”
Though his love for sports has not translated into a coaching gig, Straka right now has the next best thing, sports commentating. He announces both the boy's and girls' basketball games and loves every second of it. Straka found this passion by listening and learning from the former voice of Hebron basketball who was one of his mentors and teachers.
The atmosphere of sports brings a lot of highs, and Straka has one particular favorite.
“When the crowd cheers and is excited, it gets my adrenaline going,” he said. “It is easy for me to get lost in all the exciting action, but I think I can still get the job done.”
When the summer comes around, it doesn't mean vacation for Straka. He likes to work during the summer to help keep himself busy before the next school year gets underway.