Meet Saint Paul’s Newest Teachers

A new year at Saint Paul’s brings many new teachers, all coming from different backgrounds. I asked these four new teachers about themselves through a series of questions to help us all get to know them.

I questioned them about where they’ve been, what they’ve experienced, and what they are passionate about. I also included a fun little game of “two truths and a lie,” in which you can participate along the way.

For Mr. Whitney Brown, it has been a long dream to return to Saint Paul’s following his graduation in 2005. While sitting in Coach Barwick’s Religion class, he realized how special Saint Paul’s is. “Every discussion we had in that class felt vital and pertinent… I wanted to ensure other young people were having those conversations,” stated Mr. Brown.

The Northshore is very familiar to Mr. Brown. He has clear, fond memories of growing up, one of them being visiting his favorite restaurant, The Pizza Man.

Once he graduated from Saint Paul’s, Mr. Brown left the nest and attended the Loyola University of Chicago, where he earned his B.A. in English. He later returned to Louisiana and received his M.A. in English from the University of New Orleans. Mr. Brown then went to teach at Christian Brothers, a fellow Lasallian School. He has spent the last twelve years living in New Orleans.

When I asked him about the topic of his TED Talk, Mr. Brown gave me a six-word answer: “In Defense of Howard the Duck.”

Howard the Duck was a 1986 Marvel Comics comedy film starring a human-sized crime-fighting talking duck. While the movie has been ripped to shreds by critics and the public since its inception, it still has its cult-like following, and Mr. Brown is apparently a part of that.

Mr. Brown is now back at Saint Paul’s to teach the sophomores English II during school hours.

His two truths and a lie were:

1. I jumped into Lake Michigan when it was 37 degrees. 

2. I played Pony Boy in a Saint Paul’s production of The Outsiders.

3. A Mardi Gras float was built in the likeness of my late English Bulldog, “Pig.”

ANSWER: Mr. Brown later noted that he never jumped into Lake Michigan when it was 37 degrees.

As an alumnus of Saint Paul’s, Mr. Nicholas Guarisco has had the opportunity to fully understand what makes this high school campus grounds in Covington, Louisiana, so unique. That’s why he’s back at Saint Paul’s.

He grew up in Durham, North Carolina, but has spent most of his life on the Northshore. Following graduating from Saint Paul’s in 2008, he received his B.A at Louisiana State University in Mass Communication. He later earned his J.D. from Tulane University Law School and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 2016. 

When asked about the topic of his TED Talk, Guarisco instantly went into talking about fantasy football scoring formats. He would discuss why Super Flex formats and PPFD (point-per-first-down) scoring are superior to one quarterback PPR leagues, which is the standard format in the industry that he called inherently flawed; he also stated he could teach a class on accurate NFL Mock Drafts. The newly-established Fantasy Football Club is in good hands while being headed by Guarisco.

Mr. Guarisco teaches freshman English and journalism during school hours and has established the fantasy football club for after school hours.

Now that you know a little bit about Mr. Guarisco try to decipher between his two truths and a lie!

1. I was one of a handful in America with a perfect Mario Kart Wii Online rating.

2. I finished in the top 5 of a high diving competition in a swimming meet at LSU.

3. According to NFLMockDraftDatabase.com, my NFL Mock Draft ranked as the most accurate in the world in 2015 and then again in 2019.

So Mr. Guarisco, what’s the lie?

ANSWER: “The lie is the high diving competition. Embarrassingly, I do not even know how to dive into a regular pool. I’ve never done it successfully,” said Mr. Guarisco.

Last year, Mr. Grant Gussman and his wife learned they would welcome their first-born child into the world this September.

Mr. Gussman was teaching across the Causeway Bridge at Newman, a long, grueling, daily commute. With a significant change coming at him at full speed, Gussman wanted to make another change in his life. “I’d heard incredible things about Saint Paul’s from everyone I asked–incredible academics, devoted faculty, strong administration, world-class students, impressive athletic programs, etc. … I feel truly blessed to be joining SPS this year, and I hope to be a part of this incredible community for years to come,” said Gussman.

Gussman grew up in Indiana and decided to stay and attend Wabash College, where he earned his B.A. Gussman then moved to New Orleans via Teach for America, a non-profit organization that helps get teachers to people who need them. He fell in love with the southeastern Louisiana culture and decided to make a move permanent. Gussman lived in New Orleans for 11 years and now currently lives in Covington.

One of Gussman’s biggest passions is learning. Whether learning himself or helping and encouraging others to learn, Gussman has a fascination for expanding his knowledge.

He started talking about memorization techniques when asked about the topic of his TED Talk. “There’s a ton of research on human memory, and it’s still not understood completely, but I think rote memorization is just a bad idea in almost all cases… If you can relate something new to something you already understand, that connection forges a much more powerful memory in your mind,” said Gussman.

Mr. Gussman is currently teaching Advanced Math to Saint Paul’s seniors during school hours.

Now that you know a bit about Mr. Gussman’s background try to find his lie!

1. I play the tenor sax.

2. I attended an all-men’s college.

3. I have a twin.

ANSWER: Mr. Gussman later revealed that he doesn’t play the tenor sax.

When Mr. Eric Orphys was given the invitation to return to his alma mater, he was beyond ecstatic. Much of his upbringing was influenced by the great minds of the people at Saint Paul’s. “I graduated from Saint Paul’s, and much of my development as a person, I credit this school and my teachers with,” credited Orpheus.

Orphys aka “Orpheus” spent most of his life in Covington before attending LSU, earning his B.S in Geology. He later moved to Alaska to receive his M.E. in Secondary Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he lived for six years.

Orpheus returns to Covington to help give the young men of Saint Paul’s the same experience he once had. “I was excited to have the opportunity to return to my hometown and teach at a school that means so much to me,” commented Orphys.

Mr. Eric Orphys is a football and rugby assistant coach who is teaching Physical Science during school hours.

Asking for him to participate in two truths and a lie, Mr. Orphys stated as follows:

1. I once ate a whole chicken in less than 8 minutes.

2. I played paintball in high school.

3. I was once a ranked League of Legends player.

ANSWER: The lie? Mr. Orphys has never been ranked in League of Legends.

Hopefully, this piece helped you get to know Saint Paul’s newest teachers. If you see them on campus, don’t be afraid to say “Hello” and have a conversation with them. They will heavily appreciate the hospitality that Saint Paul’s provides.

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