|photo by JK Photo|
At first glance, Zach Galvin (Mr. Galvin to the students of Natick High School) is just a regular Vice Principal. However upon a single conversation, one can tell that there is much more to this educator than meets the eye. Knowing that some readers may not have a chance to have one of those conversations, I decided to conduct one for you all. Prepare to have your expectations defied.
Favorite Song? (Too many favorites to mention)...Toby Kieth's "How do you like me now"
Favorite Sandwich?... Bubblin' Brook Clam Roll
Favorite Book?... David McCoullough's Adams & Alex Haley's Roots okay... And The Great Gatsby!
In honor of your amazing emceeing at Your Just Desserts, Vanilla or Chocolate?
Vanilla ... it is not as fun as chocolate; but simply classier.
How has your involvement in Monkeyhouse and the art world in general influenced the way that you approach your role as Vice Principal at Natick High School?
My job as vice principal is really just a stage managing job. My job is to help the performers (the students and the staff) have the best performance they can have that day. I work in the background to make sure that they have what they need to succeed: safe environment, people following rules, etc.
I am a big fan of Dispatch and State Radio, so I was impressed to see that you appeared in their “Knights of Bostonia” video. Tell us a bit about that experience.
It happened because I have great friends from growing up who still to this day remember that I am a performer at heart. The director, Andrew Mudge, and the lead singer, Chad Urmstrom were both friends of mine and my siblings. Best part of that experience was sitting in the park in Hull, freezing to near death and watching this crowd of extras come over the hill and in it were three students from Natick High who I knew had no idea that I was there. They walked right by me (as I was in a police uniform) and as they did I said to one of them . "Hey, Ashlock....Shouldn't you be in class??" It took him almost two minutes to figure out his vice principal had followed him all the way down to Hull. The other great thing about that shoot was that I was with old friends having a great time and I also shot it with one of my nephews. Great gig! Good time.
With a surprisingly small amount of research I was able to find a “What You Don’t Know About Mr. Galvin” google site that I found hard to believe...until I saw that it was published by YOU! As a student, school administration in general can sometimes seem like an alien group of adults who were all born in their late thirties. How does this “breaking down the barrier”, so to speak, affect your relationship with students?
Clearly I was not born in my late 30s! It is all about not being afraid to show them that I am a real person. Students know so much about me because I think it is important that they do. Just earlier this week four or five seniors learned for the first time that I can rap. They were caught so off guard and yet at the same time they were excited by the fact. There is a human behind the job that I do. I look at VP like a character I play on stage. It is realistic, but it is not who I am as a person, though many parts of me are in the role. I try to break down the barrier by being real with students, but there are realities that order is my job and maintaining order so people can feel safe and perform well is my reality.
You are an avid fundraiser and supporter of the Jimmy Fund, leader of the Boston Jimmy Fund Walk team “Zach’s Pack”, and an inspirational cancer survivor. With how chaotic everyone’s schedules and lives are these days, what advice can you offer to those who want to lend a helping hand but have a hard time fitting it into their everyday lives?
Any little thing helps. I have every reason in the world not to continue raising money. It is always so much work and it is always so much time. In the end I am reminded that I would not be here, literally, if someone did not help raise the few dollars it probably cost to find a drug that would keep me alive and enable me to beat cancer. So, I always suggest to people to do what they can. So many students and teachers from Natick High have helped me for one day of walking over the years that we have now raised nearly half a million dollars for people fighting cancer. Half a million!! Find a way to keep the importance of the work in perspective. If you come to my office, you will see kids faces, all fighting cancer. Some of them are gone. When I see them on my desk and across the desk from some student having a crisis of drama here at the school, I often let the student know that the problem they are facing, though challenging, will work out. One day at a time seems so uncomplicated and yet it is often so difficult to accomplish that focus and perspective. Lending a helping hand in any manner, in any group is important and though it often goes unnoticed by most, it is so noticed by those who benefit from it. It doesn't cost a dime to be nice to people. In fact, it is free. And yet what we often get in return for helping, for contributing is of so much more worth.
So why does Monkeyhouse love Zach Galvin? He brings together the three things we love most: art, education, and a massive heart. On top of it all, Monkeyhouse’s Karen Krolak has been friends with him since high school, and that’s really all the endorsement I need.