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Palo’s Real Life Superhero: Mr. John Read

Save the Babies!

by Chandler Patrick and Brisa Muscaglione

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When you think of a superhero, images of Iron Man or Captain America come to mind. In reality however, superheros are the ones who dedicate their time and knowledge to helping others, whether it be doctors, firefighters, or even teachers. When you combine passion, comedy, and a little bit of crazy, you get Mr. John Read– Palo Verde High School’s beloved and long term–18 years to be exact– psychology superhero.

A Las Vegas native, Read spent his adolescence loving comic books, superheroes, Star Wars– the works. Like any little boy, Read was fascinated by the DC and Marvel series, especially looking up to figures like Batman. His classroom is its own superhero shrine, with these characters adding an element of fun to his already animated teaching.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of friends. So toys, TV shows, and comic books became my sources of entertainment; Disney and superheroes were all apart of that. Now that I’m an adult, these things are a line back to my childhood and happiness, so why wouldn’t I put them all over my classroom?” he explains.

His love of teaching stemmed from a long-line of inspired history teachers that motivated Read to want to help students. Instead of history, he fell in love with a different area of study instead.

But what exactly would you be walking into Mr. Read’s classroom for? The study of human behavior has become a popular topic for this generation, and Read does an exceptional job of teaching that to the hundreds of students who sign up for psychology, both regular and advanced.

I laugh everyday while teaching.”

“I was made to teach psychology. Everything is psychology. Psychology is everything. I could make any topic in a discussion relate to psych someway, somehow. I go to a movie and I can’t just enjoy it because I’ll be analyzing it. Sometimes I can’t turn it off,” Read explains, laughing.

A day in Mr. Read’s class is a joyous one indeed, rather than one you drag your feet to. From topics of Freud to Pavlov to psychological disorders, there’s never a missed opportunity for an engaging lecture.

“My favorite part is the interactions with the students. I love talking to them, laughing with them, telling them stories, getting their feedback on things,” says Read.

His students aren’t the only thing that makes Read love his job, the Palo community as a whole adds to that ever-growing love. Read recounts an incredible story within his first years on the job.

During his early years at Palo, Read was in the portables just starting his long journey as a teacher. Being the caring Dad that he is, Read hid his kid’s presents in his classroom only to find out they were missing the next day. Distraught and extremely upset, he vowed to quit the next day, but not before his students could give him a Christmas miracle. It was almost as if Santa Claus himself had walked into his classroom when a parent decided to drop off an envelope filled with cash, purely out of the goodness of their heart.

“In the next few days, the generosity that was shown to me makes me emotional just thinking about it. I ended up receiving so much money that I went ahead and gave most of it to charity. It was unbelievable. My kids had the merriest of Christmases that year. I’ve been loyal to Palo since then,” explains a teary-eyed Read.

His loyalty to Palo extends to his dual role as a Panther Bowling Coach. After the previous coach and next-door classroom neighbor to Read, Mr. Marshall, was promoted to dean, he handed the torch off to Read, who has remained the coach ever since.

“The bowling team is special to me because you don’t get the usual “jock” in bowling. You get the kid that isn’t going to go try out for the major sports, but come out for bowling because it’s a fun thing to do. By being on the team, they can be apart of the Palo community while also enjoying themselves,” explains Read.

When Read isn’t coaching the bowling team or teaching students about the mind, you can find him spending quality time with his family. From going on Disneyland trips to just BBQing at the house, Read makes it a point to show his kids what it takes to be an amazing parent.

A final word from Read: “Save the Babies!”

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Palo’s Real Life Superhero: Mr. John Read