Before becoming a teacher, Jim had an eventful life. Right after high school, he joined the navy. During this time, he was stationed on the U.S.S. Enterprise, where he worked as an electrician. Soon, he was shipped out to serve in the Vietnam War. When he returned home, he got a job as an electrician for the New York Port Authority. During this time, he served the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. Soon, that wasn’t enough for him.
Jim went to work during the day and went to school at night, where he worked to earn an engineering degree. After graduating, he moved to California, where he got a job with Hughes Aircraft. He spent his free time volunteering as a children’s sports coach. It was then that he decided he wanted to be a teacher. He got his teaching degree, and he got a job at St. Francis High School, which is a Catholic prep school in La Canada, California. There, he taught algebra and calculus. His students didn’t see him as a pushover at all. He was known to be stern and a strict disciplinarian.
Jim believed that to teach 30 boys effectively; there was no time for fun and games. His classes were all about learning. One of his students, Michael Tinglof, says that if you looked at the clock during class, you would be on Jim’s bad list for the rest of the class. Another student, Pat McGoldrick, says that when he tells a joke, the kids don’t get it, and they think that he is mean. Jim’s reputation for being strict didn’t bother him. He knew that his students needed to succeed, and being strict was the only way to do it.
Jim’s Personal Life
Jim didn’t speak much about his personal life, and people believed that this was because he didn’t really have one. Jim never married, and he never had children. Most people who knew Jim thought that teaching was all that he had. It wouldn’t be long before these people would realize that they were wrong.
Student Blood Drive
In 2013, Jim’s students, Michael and Pat, headed up a blood drive. It was their job to get people to donate blood. Before the drive, the boys decided to do some research on the subject, so they went to visit the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. They wanted to see how the donated blood would help those in need.
When the boys got to the hospital, they told the staff what school they were from and why they were there. When the staff heard the name of the school, they were delighted. They were greeted with open arms, and it was because they were students of Jim’s. At first, the boys couldn’t figure out what their teacher had to do with the hospital. They were even more shocked when they got to the hospital’s blood donation center and saw a plaque with their teacher’s name on it.
The Most Donations
A staff member told the two boys that the plaques were there to recognize the people who had given the most blood over the years. It turned out that Jim had given more than anyone. In 1989, a nurse friend of Jim’s asked him to donate blood. When they discovered that Jim’s blood was O Negative, they told him that it was universal. His blood could be given to patients of all blood types. He was also told that the blood could be given to newborns and people who had been in accidents when there was no time to test their blood type. With that in mind, Jim donated over 70 gallons of blood between 1989 and 2014. Pat and Michael were shocked to hear this. After speaking to the staff, they learned even more about their teacher, which showed them that he was more selfless than strict.
Because Jim was donating so much blood, he wanted to understand where his donations were going. This led him to see the tiny babies who needed operations and the toddler who was having chemotherapy. He also spoke with parents who were falling apart due to their children’s suffering. Jim decided that he wanted to do more.
Jim was told about a position called a TLC volunteer. Volunteers would hold and cuddle sick babies and walk around with them. Many sick babies’ parents had to work, and they needed love and attention during the day. Some children’s parents weren’t allowed to visit due to alleged abuse, and they also required TLC. This was when Jim decided to help. He says that at first, he was nervous because some of the babies were so small, and some were hooked up to machines. Over time, he became more comfortable with the babies and spends his days walking up and down the halls with them, making them feel safe. He says that he may not have had children of his own, but he loves dedicating his life to these children.
Strict But Kind
A tough 70-year-old teacher has no kids or wife. Then students expose the truth they must report. Michael and Pat always thought of their teacher as being strict and not much fun. After learning about his blood donations and his volunteer work with the babies, they discovered another side of their teacher. Pat says that learning more about Jim doesn’t make him seem any less strict; it shows them that he is a really good guy. They are both proud to have him as a teacher.