Teacher Spotlight: Tony Del Puppo
For a man who once made a black bear run away in terror, Tony Del Puppo spends a lot of his time in pursuit of academic glory.
Del Puppo is busy studying for his degree in applied economics, although he already has a master’s degree in history. On top of being a full-time history teacher, he is also writing a book and raising his daughter Maria with his wife Jamie.
However, one of Del Puppo’s outdoorsy interests is hiking. Since October 2006, Del Puppo has taken students on over 20 camping trips. They range anywhere from one to five nights.
“I began this program to make students aware of the beauty of the environment. We, as humans, have the power to conserve and protect the environment, or to wantonly destroy it. But if people don’t understand the beauty of nature, then how can you expect them to protect it against those that would exploit it? I’m just trying to do my little part,” Del Puppo said.
He remembers one camping experience particularly well. “In May of 2009 on the AT in Virginia, with the Senior Project, I was hiking alone and came across a large black bear. We looked at each other and before I even had a chance to be afraid, it took off running in the other direction,” Del Puppo said.
Despite his current occupation, Del Puppo was once on a very different path. He originally wanted to be a lawyer, but later decided that he wanted to change professions.
“I want to feel in my life, when my time comes, that I did something that mattered. I couldn’t achieve that as a lawyer,” Del Puppo said.
He also cites his personality as a reason for not pursuing law. “It’s very easy to lose your principles as a lawyer, and I am a very principled person,” Del Puppo said.
These same principles have found their way onto the pages of his book, a historical novel that takes place in the 1800s.
“On the surface it is a story about two friends from Georgetown College that find themselves on opposites during the Civil War. But at its core, it is the story of a young man’s journey into adulthood in the midst of the greatest tragedy in American history, which ends with his realization that what he once held in contempt, he has come to understand and love, but only after it is too late,” Del Puppo said.
While he’s not sure if his book will ever be published, Del Puppo will continue to write. He has currently written about 250 pages but, according to Del Puppo, it is “not even close to being done.”
Martha Schick is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.