VoK: Greg Nicholson

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Maddie Meyers

“He’s an all-around good guy,” Nevins said. “He’s super active and reaches out to students to really get to know them, [rather than] just coming in for a day as a babysitter."

Aside from the warm welcomes brought to KHS students since 2003, Greg Nicholson, substitute, hasn’t always had it easy. His senior year of high school, he would behold a sight so upsetting and cruel it would change him. At eighteen, Nicholson walked in on a football dummy with his name on it being burned by sneering jocks. However, he turned to another outlet: poetry.

At the time Nicholson was in high school, the Vietnam War left the students of Roosevelt High School in a political divide. According to Nicholson, it was frowned upon to be against the war, and he expressed his opinions of war through writing.

“I was sort of infamous,” Nicholson said. “I was against the [war], so I wrote editorials, and I got into some trouble with my principal about it. I was also beaten up and bullied because of it. [The] administration and I almost never saw eye to eye.”

“The principal called my mother into school after I wrote an inflammatory editorial about the war and told her, “‘Read this, what do you think of it?’” Nicholson said. “She told him, ‘I think it’s pretty good.’ Through her support, [the principal] knew there was nothing he could do about my voice.”

With additional support from his loved ones, Nicholson’s confidence skyrocketed. However, so did the excessive bullying. From there, he explored the outlet of poetry in an attempt to cope with the traumas he faced during the war.

”Poetry is cathartic; being able to jot down your thoughts on a piece of paper helps a person,” Nicholson said. “Being able to write guided me. Once I [put my] thoughts on the paper, they guided me.”

Now, Nicholson has a new form of art: helping others. As his career as a substitute began in 2003, he said helping kids is his passion. Jill Harness, KHS Spanish teacher, explained how Nicholson’s charisma is unlike any other.

“I adore Mr. Nicholson. His only goal is to learn what he can so he can help others,” Harness said. “He wants students to achieve more by taking risks with very little risk of failure.”

Kelly Nevins, KHS testing coordinator, has also held a long relationship with Nicholson, and said it is due to a connection in their friendship.

“He’s an all-around good guy,” Nevins said. “He’s super active and reaches out to students to really get to know them, [rather than] just coming in for a day as a babysitter. He really tries to bring something new to  the table for these kids. It’s true that he brings his personality to the job.”