New Teacher Corey Coogan Joins Career and Education Department

Anna Van der Linden

Mr. Coogan smiles for a photo while helping a WHS student.
Mr. Coogan smiles for a photo while helping a WHS student.

By Christian Carr-Locke and Jack Bushway

Class of 2017

Only one year ago, Corey Coogan’s day was quite different from how it is now: he spent long hours in all weather conditions lifting and moving furniture — large-screen televisions, couches, bookcases, and other large furniture — for the William Duggan Moving Company. Once, while carrying a bookcase, Mr. Coogan even fell off the loading ramp in the back of the moving truck.  Mr. Coogan decided to make a drastic career change: he is now an aide at Walpole High School for special needs students.

Mr. Coogan left college thinking he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. Majoring in Journalism at the University of Rhode Island, where he ran cross-country and track at the Division 1 level, Mr. Coogan decided to pursue a career in Sports Journalism. At URI, he had his own blog on the track website where he wrote numerous articles about the team and his own experiences. However, his journalistic mindset changed after college when he began freelancing. This career choice was undesirable for him.

“I wanted something more secure. I felt like I could lose my job at any moment,” said Mr. Coogan of his freelancing experience. This realization is what led Mr. Coogan to William Duggan Moving Company and subsequently to Walpole High School in the middle of last year.

Later reviewing his career switch, Mr. Coogan concluded that his decision to become a teacher was due in part to his family, particularly his mother. About ten years ago, his mother began working in the Career and Education Department at Walpole High School.  As a child, Mr. Coogan often visited her classroom or spent time with the students. In addition to this connection through his mother, Mr. Coogan’s close friend’s father is the school’s resource officer, which provides a link to the school.

He thoroughly enjoys working at Walpole High, because he feels as though he is doing something with a greater sense of meaning than his previous jobs. Many jobs do not provide the rewarding feel that Mr. Coogan experiences from working with and helping kids.  Being able to make a difference in his student’s lives fosters his love for the job.

“Coming back to this environment just felt natural,” said Mr. Coogan.

Mr. Coogan arrived at the high school halfway through the 2013-2014 school year and was guided through the motions of what was to be expected of himself, as he quickly adapted to the responsibilities demonstrated by the other aides.

“I was getting my feet wet,” said Mr. Coogan when talking about his introduction into the faculty. He felt like a transfer student,, as it is hard to adjust to a new school, especially when everything is in full flow. “I was scared,” said Mr. Coogan.  “I came in with a new kid mentality, unsure of what to expect.”

Looking back on his decision, Mr. Coogan could not be happier, realizing that the educational environment is where he wants to spend the rest of his life.

Unlike last year, this school year has been completely different due to his increase in dependability. “I have seen my responsibility grow immensely,” said Mr. Coogan when asked about the difference between his first and second year.

Mr. Coogan is one of the more vocal figures involved with the Career and Education Department and spends most of his time ensuring that each student’s needs are met. As opposed to the typical classroom, this department stresses the idea of individualism, and it allows for everyone to receive necessary guidance.

In addition to being an aide, Mr. Coogan is the assistant coach for the cross-country team and coaches the mid-distance runners during indoor and outdoor track. Having run competitively in college, Mr. Coogan is capable of using his prior knowledge of the sport and sharing it with the other runners.

“I love [coaching], it’s great to branch out and still be a part of the school as a whole,” said Mr. Coogan. Mr. Coogan plans to become a head coach of a track program and, if the opportunity were to arise at Walpole High School, he would most definitely take advantage of the opening.

Many young adults leave college thinking they know the career path they want to follow; however, it is common for one to experience a change in heart, as was the case for Mr. Coogan. One year freelancing and lifting boxes and the next helping students, Mr. Coogan is extremely satisfied with his decision to change his career. Mr. Coogan, having finally found a job he loves, has begun a rewarding and enjoyable career with a sense of meaning.