Faculty Spotlight: Michael Arvites ’04
Social Studies Chair, Assistant Basketball Coach
AP World History, AP European History, US History Honors, and World War II
Where did you go to college? What was your field of study?
What is the most interesting part of your job?
The most interesting part of my job is the day-to-day changes that take place throughout the year. Each class is a new topic and each week is a new event on campus. It is also great to see the growth of my students throughout the year both as students and as people.
How long have you been working for Holy Cross School?
Funny question. I have been a teacher for nine years, but I first started working as a coach in the 2004–2005 school year in middle school and coached basketball each year after at different levels.
What is one thing that you think makes Holy Cross School a special place?
I’ve always said that Holy Cross is a special place because you aren’t a number here. Teachers know you, and you matter. At Holy Cross, we teach the individual, not the subject or the class. It’s about forging your own way and discovering the man you are. In that process the school continues the mission of Holy Cross and transforms boys-to-men, instilling a strong sense of brotherhood along the way.
Tell us about your favorite memory from your time teaching at Holy Cross School?
It is hard to pick out one memory that stands out. Each year there is always a student who enters my US History Honors class with a lot of doubts about his ability to write effectively and succeed in the course, and each year I get to see that student work through the course and succeed beyond his expectations. That individual growth truly makes this job worthwhile. There are so many other memories I have from basketball to class, so it’s hard to hammer down one individual memory.
Tell us about your teaching philosophy.
I have two quotes on my classroom wall:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal – It is the courage to continue that Counts” – Winston Churchill
“We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – JFK
I believe that every student can learn and be pushed beyond what they think they are capable of. But I also feel that it is important to forge strong relationships and help teach the man, not just the student. Through discussion, debate, and conversation, students can grow in all directions. Continuous growth as both a student and a human being is the epitome of a Holy Cross Man.
Tell us about your participation in the WWII program.
For the past two years I have been part of the National WWII Museum Sumer Teacher Institute. Along with 29 other educators from around the country, I was chosen from a pool of 400 applicants. As a part of the program I traveled to Normandy, France, this summer, where we toured the various historical locations associated with D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. We were accompanied by Dr. Donald Miller, one of the museums chief historians.
Also, as a part of the program, I presented at the National AP Conference in Houston on how to include WWII in AP History Courses. At the Conference I presented to 75 other educators from around the country.
As a result of this program we have established a WWII Honors class for the 2018-2019 school.