Clarion

They Walked These Halls: Top Gun to Teacher

Kevin Turk

Courtesy of Rouser
Then a Senior, Turk showing off his dance moves as top dog of the school.

Charlie Connelly, Staff Reporter

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For the vast majority of high school students these days, to know exactly what you want to be when you grow up isn’t as simple a question as it may seem. For 1992 RB graduate Kevin Turk, the answer to that question did not arrive to him as conventionally as it does for most. Turk has now been teaching at RB for over ten years, but he had a much later start to his career in teaching. Prior to becoming a teacher in the Social Science department, he had been involved in two completely opposite fields of interest: the military and marketing.

“The student body itself was much smaller when I went here, about 900 kids maybe and it wasn’t nearly as diverse. The only sports offered were football, basketball, baseball, swimming, and track. That was pretty much it,” said Turk.

Despite having limited options Turk was almost as busy as a high school student could be during his tenure at RB. He wase a three sport athlete his freshman and sophomore year (football, basketball, and baseball), and was a two sport varsity athlete his junior and senior year (football and baseball). Seemingly able to juggle it all academically and athletically, Turk seemed to epitomize what it means to be a hard nosed Bulldog.

“I had a wonderful experience here as a student. I always thought the teachers were here to help and ensure our success and I think that continues. The faculty here goes above and beyond to help kids out and put them on the right path.” Turk said.

Turk laughingly had a few words of advice to his 17 year old self as well as to students currently across the board,words that he ultimately wishes he could have abided to wholeheartedly as a student.

“Develop good study habits,” Turk chuckled,” That’s a big thing. I struggled in college. I did very well in high school, and I think high school was easy for me. When I got to college I didn’t have my mom over my shoulder telling me to get my homework done. That freedom can  be tough to adjust to.”

When Turk was 17 he wanted to be a fighter pilot, and as much as he regrets to admit it, much of that desire was thanks to the movie Top Gun.It wasn’t until after his freshman year in college that Turk materialized those wishes into a reality as he took his sophomore year off and trained in the military for a little more than a year.

“The movie Top Gun inspired me, as cornballish as it is. That movie was groundbreaking and that was what I wanted to do. I also needed to pay for college as well, that’s why I pursued it [military involvement] during my undergrad, and once I was in the military I realized maybe it wasn’t something I wanted to do full time.” said Turk.

Turk was in the Army reserves for a total of eight years, and throughout his military involvement and following it as well, he immersed himself into the corporate world. At the time the career path had seemed liked one he would enjoy, but to his displeasure it simply wasn’t the right fit.

“I came to teaching a little bit later than most. I’m technically what you would call a career changer. When I came out of college my first job was in marketing. I worked in the corporate world for a little while and realized that it wasn’t for me and decided I wanted to try something else. As an undergrad I had no idea that I was going to teach. I knew I loved history, and I majored in history and political science, but I didn’t even consider teaching until I had some experience in the corporate world,” Turk said.

Turk went back to school and obtained a Masters degree in secondary education, being by then 30 years old. Taking one look at him now you would never guess it, but Turk is now in his early forties and has gained a lot of experiences in the RB community having been a part of it for nearly 15 years as a student and teacher.

“As different as the school is, it’s still home,” he said.  “I don’t have plans on going anywhere else. I feel like I’ve laid some groundwork here, I know the kids and I’ve created relationships. I love it, I love the atmosphere and I love the community. My family and my parents are still in the community, so it’s great. I’m glad I made the decision to come back,” Turk said.

 

About the Writer
Charlie Connelly, Staff Reporter
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Charlie is a Senior at RB and this is his second year as a part of the Clarion staff. Being very interested in the field of writing and interviews, Charlie couldn’t be more excited to see what this year will have to offer in Clarion. While he isn’t writing for the Clarion, in his spare time he additionally writes for the Chicago Tribune’s teen publication “the Mash”, which is distributed once a month to schools all throughout the Chicagoland area.

As for extracurriculars, Charlie is involved in Best Buddies, AST (Association of Students for Tolerance), and the baseball program. Although he decided not to tryout for the team last year, he opted to help Noah Wiza manage the Sophomore team and couldn’t have been happier to have made that decision and will continue to manage in the Spring. This senior year has a lot to offer Charlie and he is ultimately excited to simply soak it all in and take advantage of all the great things he can before college rolls around next Fall. As for college plans he is currently undecided but wishes to stay in the area, possibly at UIC or Columbia.

Charlie Connelly can be contacted at [email protected].

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They Walked These Halls: Top Gun to Teacher