A Word With Watson

A+Word+With+Watson

Arianna Heyman, Writer

“Mr. Watson is my favorite principal. He’s cooler, and funnier than any I’ve ever had before” Senior Dean Eggenberger said. Mr. Pat Watson is the school principal, and undoubtedly the heart of the school itself. Mr. Watson is immensely admired by all of the students and staff, such as Vice Principal Eric Pace who said, “Mr. Watson is a great principal because of the relationship he builds with the students and staff, and that he truly cares that each one of them is successful.” The positive changes that the high school has gone through since Mr. Watson has become principal is because of his spirit, energy, and determination to make West Bloomfield High School into the most friendly, fun, and accepting environment that it can be.

 

S: Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?

“Probably my mom. She was a single mom, and so she always had to do everything on her own for myself and my two brothers. She was always making sure we had everything we needed before she did anything for herself.”

 

S: What was your favorite memory of high school?

“One that stands out, 1987, I attended high school at Ann Arbor Huron. Traditionally, we were horrible in football. Much like West Bloomfield High School always was. We were playing Ann Arbor Pioneer, which is our crosstown rival. They have always beaten us. We had to play at their home field every year because that was the only field in Ann Arbor. We both went in with a record of 7-1, and the winner would be the league champs. It was a tie game, and there was three seconds left. They lined up to kick the winning field goal and they missed. I remember being so excited they missed the field goal and it was going to be a tie game, and we would be the league champs..only to find that we were off sides and so the ball was moved five yards closer, so they had to kick again. Long story short, we blocked the field goal and returned it for the winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. Everyone came out of the stands, and it was like a surreal moment because we were predicted to lose by a lot of points, and it was the first time we had ever won the league championship in football. That was one of the memories that sticks out the most.”

 

S: Did you always want to be an educator when you were young, or did you want to do something else?

Yeah. In eighth grade I thought, ‘God, wouldn’t it be great to be a teacher?’ because I really had a passion for history, and I always liked the structure of school. You knew what time you had to be there, you knew what time you have to leave..there’s always a start and a finish. I wanted a job where there was a clearly defined start and finish. If you’re a banker, fine, you close the loan, you sell something…or if you’re in sales…but it’s always the same thing over and over. In education every year is different. It’s always a fresh beginning with a new group of kids. There’s always that great feeling at the end of the school year and the first day and how exciting it is. So I wanted a job like that.”
S: What is the toughest part of being an educator?

“Just finding enough time to get done everything you want to get done. There’s so many things you’d love to do, and so many creative and amazing things that you’re like ‘oh, if we could just do this, this year would be so much better!’ It’s just trying to find the time to actually get every idea implemented.

 

S: What was the biggest lesson you learned from being a teacher?

“Probably to always be kind, because everyone has a struggle that they’re dealing with that you don’t know about. To always approach people knowing that they’re having a bad day, or if they seem out of it, that most likely there’s something you don’t know about that’s going on, so to always be kind.”

 

S: What made you decide to apply at WB?

“It wasn’t a matter of actually working at West Bloomfield, when I graduated from college, I was applying for a job. I just wanted a job in a school district, and so I was fortunate to have some different opportunities, and believe it or not, I actually came on a tour of the building before I made a decision whether or not I wanted to work here. I actually liked it better than almost any building except for my former high school, which was Ann Arbor Huron. I felt by coming here it gave me the chance to do something new, something different as opposed to just staying where I spent most of my life..at my former high school. You know, teaching all my brother’s friends, all my friends siblings and things like that. But it gave me the chance to do something different. I felt that I could always go back to Ann Arbor if I didn’t like it, but I loved it out here, so I’ve always stayed.”

 

S: What has been your fondest moment at WB?

“There’s so many different ones. One that really stands out though is the pep assembly we had this year at 5:00 in the morning where we had over 800 students show up. I remember talking to Mr. Pierce about it and we figured, you know, we should be able to get maybe 200, if we’re lucky 300, but then when over half the students showed up, and kids were begging to get rides to be here by five in the morning, It was pretty cool. It was really amazing.”

 

S: Were you nervous when you were promoted to principal and having to take on more responsibility?

Nothing typically really makes me nervous. I was more excited for the opportunity. I know I’m going to make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, and I’ll make more. It’s just having the ability to make sure you learn from them. When I first got hired, the superintendent said, ‘you know whatever you do, make sure if you are going to make a mistake, you make it in favor of the student.’ I’ve always tried to take that advice and move forward, so when I do make decisions, I may make the wrong decision regarding the student, but it will be in their favor.”

S: What is the most rewarding part of being a principal?

“You guys. The kids. That’s the best part. That’s by far the best part. To see you guys have success, see you guys overcome things that are roadblocks in your way, to see what you become.”

 

S: What are some improvements that you think have occurred since becoming principal?

“I think that school spirit has greatly increased. We used to be a school where everyone was like, ‘everything’s lame, everything’s dumb.’ I think the way teachers have gone about creating relationships and being so positive over the past couple of years has been huge. I think we have created a culture where kids know that you can be you and do what you want, as long as you are respectful and you can carry yourself in the proper manner. That you have a lot of opportunity to make decisions here. I think we’ve as adults, tried to listen to you, the students, as much as possible, and implement what you feel is best for you, because you know you better than we do. Just overall excitement of being part of something, you know, this ‘us against them’ mentality has been a lot of fun.”

 

S: What do you think makes WB so special?

The diversity we have. Literally once you graduate from this high school, you will have met every type of person you can meet in life. We have over 50 different languages spoken in the building by our students. We’re kind of like a mini United Nations. I think that’s one of the things that makes us unique, and some of our specialty classes whether it’s a different AP we offer, or our video production and having access to a green screen, the radio station…getting that up and going, to medical mentorship, to political internship, all the different specialties we have the other schools can’t offer.

 

S: What are you most proud of in your life?

“You know, that’s a great question. I don’t know. I couldn’t identify one thing….I wouldn’t even know how to answer. I can’t, I don’t know.”

 

It is hard to imagine that Mr. Watson is uncertain of his accomplishments. Without a doubt, his achievements as principal is something to be immensely proud of. The students of West Bloomfield constantly rave about him, like Sophomore Jordan Robinson who says, “Mr. Watson is a very comical person, yet he is always there for his students.” From staff to students, Watson has made an impact on all of our of our lives, either through teaching or being a principal. He has changed this school for the better, and hopefully, will continue to for a long time to come.