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St. Mark's School of Texas
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The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

Faculty members draw from military experience to lead

Veterans Andre Stipanovic and Scott Moore bring armed forces background to roles on campus
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PHOTO/ COURTESY DILAN KOGANTI
VIRTUE ET HONORE In his first year at 10600, the Latin teacher uses his military background in his teaching

A tenured professor. A veteran. An Assistant Scoutmaster. A Pecos leader. The new Latin Teacher.

Many words can be used to describe Dr. Andre Stipanovic, one of the many new hires for this year.

With broad experiences and an immense passion for teaching, Stipanovic recently left The Hockaday School as a beloved individual, leaving behind many close friendships.

After 23 years of teaching at Hockaday, Stipanovic was looking for a clean slate and a new routine.

One of the most important factors in his decision to join the school was the Wilderness Program, an outlet for Stipanovic’s love of the outdoors – a love he has continually developed from a young age.

Stipanovic began his love for the outdoors when he first enrolled in Cub Scouts as a young boy, remaining in the program for a few years. However, in his hometown Morristown, New Jersey, Cub Scouts was all that was offered, so Stipanovic put his involvement on hold.

When his son began his own scouting journey between 2008 and 2009, Stipanovic quickly resumed his participation in the program, first as a Den Leader, then Cub Master, and now, an Assistant Scoutmaster.

His role now includes helping young Scouts with merit badges and different field skills, as well as Advisor patrol by acting as a mentor to a small group of boys. He also serves as an Eagle Scout advisor, helping scouts work on their Eagle Scout projects.

An active member of the community for 15 years now, Stipanovic has not only enjoyed countless memories with his son but has also learned valuable lessons that transfer to teaching.

“A lot of what [Scout Advisors] do translates into what we do here,” Stipanovic said. “Working with boys on projects, or advising and helping them if they need it. The best part is when you don’t have to guide them. That’s the goal. And I see that happening here, which is awesome.”

Another crucial experience in Stipanovic’s teaching was his time in the Army. Serving for two years in a time of “relative peace,” he feels like his service provided him with the perfect opportunity to hone in on what he really loved.

A first-generation student of European parents, Stipanovic’s first focus was STEM. But one day during English class at Morristown High School, an Army recruiter walked in and asked to speak with him.

Intrigued by what a career in the armed forces might entail, Stipanovic decided to join, enrolling in the College of Engineering on a partial scholarship and committing to two years of mandatory service – a sacrifice he was willing to make. In his eyes, he was being paid to go to focus on what he wanted to study.

But it was the lessons he learned that were the greatest benefits of his time in the Army.

It really helped me become independent, which is one of the things I really wanted to do,” Stipanovic said. “It also gave me a chance to really reflect and figure out what it is I really enjoyed.”

For him, that ended up being comparative literature – the topic he received his doctorate on. From there, he went on to begin his teaching career, now joining the school’s faculty.

And within that faculty, Stipanovic joins a small contingent of instructors who have served in the armed forces, many of whom are also extremely active in the Wilderness Program. One of these community members is Scott Moore, the school’s Associate Director of  Communications and an active member in the United States Army’s reserves. Since he arrived on campus, Moore has been welcomed by faculty members who have shared his experience.

“There’s an understanding between people in the military, especially people who have deployed overseas in combat which you can relate to and understand really quickly,” Moore said. “I would compare it to meeting somebody who’s not from St. Mark’s as opposed to an alum from St. Mark’s. When you meet somebody from St. Mark’s who has gone through the same things, you have a quick connection. Same thing with the military. If a new person came on campus with a military background, especially if they’ve been deployed, I’d probably be able to connect with them pretty easily.”

Though his time in combat is over, the lessons Moore learned through the military still apply to his  life, the most important of which is a perspective on life only achieved through brushes with death.

“It can’t get any worse than it did when I was overseas,” Moore said. “So if something seems horrible here, it can feel really rough and tough and you think, ‘How am I gonna get through this?’ But having gone through combat, when I have those things happen to me here, when a deadline is missed or we weren’t able to go out and cover a story the way we want it to, the world’s not going to end and no one’s dying. We’ll get it done when we get it done as best as we can.”

Despite his recent arrival on campus, Stipanovic has already seen the similarities between the school’s traditions and his previous lines of work.

“Something I realized during the Pecos trip was that I’ve done quite a few solos during my time in the army,” Stipanovic said. “I’ve gone through that experience, and realized how much potential we have in ourselves to rely on until we’re kind of put in that situation.”

For Stipanovic, this mindset was a crucial deciding factor for why he chose the school. To be surrounded by those who push themselves to their limits daily was a must-have.

His mindset: he will guide you, and help you, but at a certain point, you have to realize that whatever the situation, and however difficult or extreme it may seem, it is always in reach.

“That’s what happened to me a lot in the army,” Stipanovic said. “They push you to the point where you are saying there’s no way we can do that. But all of a sudden, you get through it. That’s really the lesson. Latin is great, but that’s the lesson I want to be part of here.”

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About the Contributors
Matthew Hofmann, Life Editor
Akash Manickam, Life Editor