The first year as head principal of a high school has its many challenges in itself, but Mr. Larrotta stepped into Cherokee High School amidst a historic pandemic that included daily uncertainties, new and every-changing protocols, and a student body now split between digital and in-person learners. It would be a relatively safe assumption to say that this could be the most stressful new position to be in.
However, CHS is not new territory. Mr. Larrotta is Cherokee High School’s new principal this year, but he was previously assistant principal here at CHS from 2013 to 2016, as well as principal at Hasty Elementary School for four years before returning following Mr. Miller’s transfer to River Ridge for the 2020-21 school year.
At the outset of the year, Mr. Larrotta outlined goals he had for his first year at CHS, and we wanted to see how he thought we were progressing to meet those goals now that the year is coming to a close.
We asked Mr. Larrotta a few questions reflecting on his year as principal.
How do you think this year has gone, with it being your first year at CHS?
“We had great PSAT and ACT scores. We had an amazing year in athletics and sports with the football team, basketball boys and girls, lacrosse, and wrestling we had a state champ. Also our Teacher of the Year, Dr. Burn, is a finalist for the district for the top four in the district. So, honestly, other than COVID, it has been a wonderful year for us.”Mr. Larrotta
With being able to experience both traditional and Covid classes, how has this year been a different life experience?
“It is totally different, and I believe that the most important thing is we know that our students and our teachers need each other.”Mr. Larrotta
What were your professional goals at the outset of this year?
“At the beginning of the year those goals were to make sure that everybody was safe and that we could open schools within the protocols of COVID, and that hopefully we didn’t have that many students or teachers sick.”Mr. Larrotta
Now that the year is almost over, how do you feel we are doing at meeting these goals?
“Its about celebrating our students and celebrating our seniors. We had the senior carnival last weekend, it was amazing. Then we have graduation coming up and all those awards.”Mr. Larrotta
What areas do you want to continue to see more growth?
“I think that we need to continue growing and training teachers, especially new teachers. I also want to see us grow in clubs and also more sports and athletics.”Mr. Larrotta
What is the main piece of advice you have for students?
“To be yourself. Nowadays with social media, sometimes for our students it is so difficult to have a very clear identity. There are so many influences there that maybe you can get lost, so be true to yourself and don’t lose your identity.Mr. Larrotta
What is the main word of encouragement you have for teachers?
“The teachers are our students heroes. In the news you hear a lot that the health care or first responders are the heroes of the pandemic, but teachers, too. Teachers are the ones that have been here in the classrooms at the risk of getting sick. They were here for us and our students and make it happen.”Mr. Larrotta
Mr. Larrotta has been a great principal this year and is continuing to make Cherokee High School grow. He says to just keep swimming and being awesome. Although this year has been difficult he has done a great job keeping everyone safe.