As a product of the Spring Grove community I've grown to truly appreciate my past. I was raised in a home about 2 miles from the P.H. Glatfelter Company (Yes, the smelly paper mill!), and I remember my childhood with fondness. My father was gone many days each week, but when he was home, we made the most of our time. We would spend Saturdays cutting wood, working on cars, going to church, and traveling as a family. My mother worked part-time, but she still invested many hours into caring for us, teaching us values, and running us to sports practices. I am indebted forever to my parents for the sacrifices they made to make my life meaningful.

Though I had scholarship offers to play football, I opted to end my school career after graduation in 1989. I took a job as an auto mechanic at a car dealership in Hanover, because I thought working on my cars would be a fulfilling career. It didn't take me long to realize I wished I had gone to college. A year later, I started school again at York College of Pennsylvania. I graduated in 1995 with my teaching degree and began working in the Eastern York School District. I taught second grade for five years before I decided to apply for a job at South Western. I was hired in 1999 by South Western to teach fourth grade, and I have loved working here ever since. In the summer of 2003, I earned a Master's Degree in Teaching and Curriculum from Penn State. I had spent six years of evenings and summers going to classes to become the best teacher I could become. Teaching has been a real blessing to me.

In 1996, I met my wife Diane Papoutsis. We had a "big, fat, Greek wedding" a year later! My mother loved to frequent her parents' restaurant, Jimmy's Gyros, for lunch, and Diane sometimes waited on her. One day, my mom commented to her mother, "We have to get these two together." My mother-in-law, Maria, liked the idea, so we tell people our marriage was arranged. My mom invited Diane to a Bible study I was leading at my parents' house, and Diane said she would love to come. To make a long story short, we really hit it off that night, so we began dating soon after. In fact, after only a handful of dates, Diane's aunt invited me to Thanksgiving dinner where her uncle asked, "So, when are you kids getting married? What are you waiting for?" Greeks don't like to waste time! I didn't care; I was ready, too. This was only the first of many interesting and exciting family gatherings. In December 1997, my life changed. I married my beautiful wife, Diane. Later, my daughter, Sophia, was born. She is a happy, helpful, friendly, and hard-working young lady. She has been growing, is a hard worker, and loves spending time with her family and friends. Mostly, though, she is becoming a very loving and compassionate young woman.

Our family loves to travel and see the world. For our honeymoon, Diane and I flew to the Dominican Republic for a week in the sand and sun. Six months later, we flew to Greece to meet more of Diane's relatives. Talk about being treated like royalty; I came back in two weeks a LITTLE BIT heavier. :) Since then we have continued to travel. We have been to most Eastern states, Greece again, and also Germany. We have also visited Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and also Tennessee, and Alabama to see my brother's (Kirby) family. He and his wife Rebecca have three children: Lyla and Preston (twins) and Ryder. I also have a sister, Tiffany, who has three children with her husband, Dave: Carson (oldest), Grant and Tate (twins).

Today I enjoy spending my time in a few hobbies. I have a few muscle cars that I like to drive and work on. I also enjoy being in the woods and hunting, particularly deer hunting. The time I have alone in nature allows me to reflect on how blessed I am and see the natural wonder of the world God has given us. I am grateful that He has blessed me with a wonderful family and life. He has filled my life with peace, happiness, and love. I try to live one day at a time and enjoy it to the fullest. I'm sure this year will be a great year with my new class.