Reverbs from the ECHO Chamber — a Q & A with Mr. Adam Klein

Kyle Hodes '20, Staff Reporter

Trinity teacher Mr. Adam Klein

Another in a continuing series of Q & A interviews with Trinity faculty, staff and administrators.

The work Trinity House and Activities Director Mr. Adam Klein does on a daily basis impacts students and faculty alike. A conversation with Mr. Klein revealed his passion for teaching and for Trinity High School. 

Q: What is the best part of the Trinity House System?

A: Giving students the opportunity to get involved is one of the best aspects of it. In general, I think teenage boys like competition, so we can do it in a more friendly environment where everyone is just having fun with it.

Q: Why do you like working with the House System?

A: It gives many opportunities to get involved. It gets competitive and casual people an opportunity to get involved, for example, in the chili cook-off or a Ping Pong tournament.

Q: Why do you enjoy going beyond the classroom?

A: My first love will always be in the classroom. I enjoy teaching, interacting with the students, and sharing new things with them, especially in teaching video production, teaching them basic fundamentals. Video production is open-ended, and they have the opportunity to really express their creativity through filming and editing.

I also wanted to be a larger part of Trinity High School. I wanted to have an opportunity as a teacher just to improve as a professional, and I wanted to be able to have a kind of leadership role in the school. I’ve been with the House System since the very beginning, I was one of the first House directors, and I believed in the system. When I learned that the house and activities director position was open, to me it was just a perfect match. 

Trinity really is a family. Some of the biggest moments in my life have been the result of my family here at Trinity.”

Q: What classes do you teach?

A: I currently teach Video Production and Video Production II, and I teach an ACT strategies class. Over the years I’ve taught at the school in the English Department and World Languages Department, and I’ve been a part of the Fine Arts and Humanities Department for the last 10 to 15 years.

Q: Why do you believe it is important for students to take part in House activities?

A: I feel like students have interests that classmates and teachers don’t ever get to really know about. They never really know what they are good at, what their interests are, and I think the House System provides some of those opportunities. I try to create different opportunities that appeal to lots of students. They aren’t always going to be athletic events; they are going to be events that require you to be a little more artistic, have some musical interest, be able to show off culinary skills, whatever it is. I try to mix up those activities. Students show off those interests and also help their House and earn some points.

Q: What other behind-the-scenes work do you do?

A: I work closely with all the moderators, making sure they have what they need for their clubs and activities to be successful. I am also responsible for the Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior dances, with organizing those, selling tickets, and making sure that the events are set up and that the different dances are a success. I also help organize bus rides to state championship games if there is enough interest.

The student-faculty basketball game — I work behind the scenes for those kinds of things. I help out with the Junior Job Shadow program. Ms. (Mary Ann) Snyder does the heavy lifting there, but I act as sort of a liaison between the different shadow hosts and the students to make sure the students can have a good experience.

Q: What is your favorite subject to teach and why?

A: Probably my all-time favorite has been broadcast journalism. I taught that for a number of years. It was my favorite because the guys typically that were in the class wanted to be there. They were interested in it, whether purely in broadcast journalism or they had some interest in film; there’s a lot of connections between those two. Making TTV, when I did, was a daily show. Learning to create and do a production of TTV is important, but I always thought it was more important to develop story tellers.

I would give students the opportunity to start with very basic sorts of news stories and news packages. For some of my students that were a little more experienced, they were creating features that would last three to five minutes to challenge them. Especially some of those guys that were interested more in film, it kind of gave them the opportunity to create little mini docs or short films.

It gave them opportunities to compete in the Kentucky High School Journalism Association and the Western Kentucky University competitions, again not so they are in this bubble or vacuum. They get a chance to share their works with their peers, to be able to share their works with students at other schools across the state and region, and to be able to get some feedback, not just from me but also to get some feedback from other teachers and professors.

It’s nice to receive those rewards, but it was always just better to see those people grow as story tellers. A lot of our guys have gone on to study film and have gone on to study broadcast journalism in college, and now they are successful. There are students out in Los Angeles, and there is a student creating content for YouTube; a recent graduate is down in Savannah working on all sorts of independent films. I always enjoy when they share work that they’re doing. They are always appreciative of that foundation that I was able to give them and the freedom I gave them to discover their own story-telling voice. I gave them the space to be creative as a broadcaster or as a film maker.

Q: Who has inspired you the most to help you work this hard?

A: On a personal level, my father. My father worked hard his entire life. He was the type of guy that felt always passionate about putting his three boys through Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. That required him often to have to work two jobs. He worked from five a.m. to about five p.m., and he would go into work from six to 10 at another job just to help us through school. I saw the work he was doing and the dedication that he had when he was doing it for his boys. That inspired me to work hard in school, and it helped me create my own work ethic. I think that carried over to me beyond school and just into my everyday life.

Here at Trinity, there are so many people that have inspired me here. If I think early on, Tony Lococo, I taught print journalism with him and just to learn the craft of print journalism, a lot of that carried over when I had started to teach broadcast journalism. I am very appreciative of him in that respect. When I taught English, I was fortunate enough to work closely with teachers like Dr. Zoeller and Mr. Daniel. I learned a lot from them. I am just inspired by people here that have worked really hard and sometimes don’t always get credit for it — to see those people put their head down and work really, really hard and are dedicated to students and dedicated to school. I have always just appreciated their efforts.

Q: How big is the reward to you through helping your students?

A: Well, everybody knows you don’t go into teaching for the money. To me, the true reward is sometimes not achieved in the day in, day out kind of grind of teaching. A lot of the times it just comes years afterwards when a student graduates. I’ll get an email or I’ll see them at a football game, or I’ll see them out somewhere, and they’ve had a few years to think about their Trinity experience. They’ll just share with me their thoughts and their appreciation of what I was able to do for them. I am very fortunate that I stay in touch with a lot of the students that I’ve taught in broadcast journalism.

I get together with a lot of those guys, whether at Christmas time or to have lunch. I get students that say ‘Hey, I am working on this short film, let me know, critique it for me, let me know what you think.’ They’ve got professors that have worked in Hollywood, yet they’re still kind of coming back to me and asking me for some feedback — that I’ve always appreciated. The reward for me is not really so much of what I do in the classroom; it’s what I am able to impart or what I am able to share with them, and then they take it to the next level.

Being able to keep some of those former students in my life and for them to consider me to be someone they can confide in — we’ve become friends and being able to maintain those relationships and those connections — it means the most.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Trinity?

A: Trinity really is a family. Some of the biggest moments in my life have been the result of my family here at Trinity. I met my wife through Ms. Snyder and Mrs. Meyer. They introduced me to her, would’ve never met her otherwise, so I am always very thankful and appreciative of them. Dr. Zoeller was the best man at my wedding, Mr. Waggoner is the godfather of my son Evan, and Mr. Henning read at my wedding. They were just people that I’ve just been friends with for a very, very long time. It’s been the result of Trinity. It’s given me a good foundation; it’s given me almost like a second family.