Andrew Patterson

Andrew Patterson

10th & 11th grade English; Head Football coach, Robbinsville High School
16th year

What teacher had the biggest influence on you as a student & why?: Amanda Porter (11th Grade English), Manchester Township HS in 1994-1995 school year.  You could just tell she actually cared about you as a person, not just a student. She ended up teaching in Allentown the following year, and a few of us went over to see her during her school day, since AHS didn't graduate until the next week.  She left teaching for a while after she had kids and got back into teaching a decade later and ended up teaching at Hightstown. During my first year as the varsity head coach at RHS, we played Hightstown. She ended up stopping me for a hug after the game (we lost 27-24).  I had no idea she was teaching there, or even at the game, but she had been waiting for that moment all season. Really cool stuff.

Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

Hobbies: Traveling, aviation, community service.

Favorite color: I like neutral colors (white, black, gray).

Favorite meal: Hot dog from a Love's Travel Stop. (Not for the quality of the food, but it means that I'm on an adventure and probably road-tripping with friends or traveling to see family.) 

Favorite musician or musical groups: Sugarland

Favorite sports team: Wyoming Cowboys Football, Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football,  Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS Eagles Football 

Favorite movie: We are Marshall” and                                 “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Original with Marlon Brando)

Favorite TV show: The Office” and “Modern Marvels” (on the old History Channel)

Three for dinner: My mother (She passed away in 2009 and it'd be awesome to have dinner with her again), President Obama (It'd be cool to ask a high-profile world leader regular-guy questions about being president with no politics attached to it.  He actually used to do this with people when he was president and there are videos on YouTube) and Chesley “Sully” Sullivan (I’d like to know how he kept his cool under that pressure).   

Proudest moment on the job: When Jared Twamley (Class of 2017) broke Shae Fahey's record for most receptions and receiving yards in a single season in 2016 and knowing that his success had nothing to do with actual football scheme. We had a conversation one day at practice where I essentially told him he didn't have to live his life as #3 (as in, the third-best triplet of his siblings).  I don't think he'd ever been told that before. Early in the season, we attended a dinner together for "player of the week" and after I spoke about him to the audience--without mentioning his brothers--he looked pleased, because that had rarely happened before; he hadn't been in many situations where he was spoken of an an individual and not "one of the Twamlies".   His entire demeanor changed after that. He became the player that all the younger kids wanted to become and I could tell he cherished every single one of those moments. Breaking the record was the extrinsic, material embodiment of all of that put together.   

Fondest memory on the job: When Robbie Zingaro (Class of 2010, who now goes by "Rob" because he's a VP for PNC Bank) showed up at my mother's wake in Spring of 2009 with signed football from the varsity team (I was an assistant coach at Robbinsville at the time).  He had his mother drive him to Toms River so he could attend. It's hard to beat that. Sometimes football "jocks" have interesting ways of saying they love you.  

What is your hidden talent: Cooking.  

What inspires you: Honesty.  Whether it's an honest answer to a question or an honest day's work.

How do you make connections with students?: Ask questions.  If you don't ask questions, you're not going to get answers or know anything.  A question about a student's personal life means you care; if you care, you've got a connection to work with.  

If you could pass on your wisdom regarding your job, what would you share: When your day at school is more focused on WHO you are teaching and coaching rather than WHAT you are teaching or coaching, you have arrived and you're doing it right.

Is there a quote or saying that you live your life by: “In a ham and eggs breakfast, there are two main participants, a chicken and a pig. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.  Be the pig..”   

What makes a good day at school?: The phrasing of the question is the answer.  The fact that I get to call it a day at "school" or a day at "football" and not a day at "work".  When it becomes a day at work, I'll retire.  

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