Farewell: A Tribute to the Beloved Mr. Newson


Chase Neagle, Reporter

Have you ever noticed a beautiful melody being strummed out on a guitar in lower E hall? Or a kind person standing by his door at E106 greeting each and everyone that walks by? That’s Mr Newson. First coming to Chatfield in 1999, Mr. Newson has taught numerous courses such as world history, philosophy, and anthropology. Mr. Newson made the decision to finally retire after many brilliant years of teaching. I wanted to honor Mr. Newson for his countless hours of dedication to make memories and inspire the many students that have had the privilege to be taught by such a kind and humble man. I recently sat down with Mr. Newson to hear some insight on his life and learn new things about him before he leaves after this year.

What was your greatest memory here at Chatfield?

I guess I would have to say when students complete extra credit stuff. And every now and then it’s really something mind-blowing. Also the murals, that’s been really cool. I think art is such a big part of my classroom. That’s something I’m proud of and really like.



What is the greatest challenge you’ve experienced while teaching?

I think the greatest challenge I’ve experienced while teaching is trying to be inspirational. I think that’s the hardest thing. Trying to come to class staying positive. I try to have fun with kids first and then worry about the education later. I think that’s probably the hardest thing because it’s so deadpan. I walk into every single class and say good morning, every single day. And so few kids actually respond. And that’s just part of the deal. That’s the hard thing about coming into a classroom and trying to pump kids up. But it’s a good thing, I like it.




What is some advice you can give before you leave?

You gotta have a crew, that’s it. You gotta have a posse, you gotta have some friends. And you gotta have friends that will lie down in traffic for you, and if you have that, then that’s all you need. Because no matter what happens, you will always have a support system. So who cares about school, who cares about grades, who cares about homework. Nurture your friends, make them first. Nurture your family. They’re the ones who are going to take care of you. They’re the ones who are going to be there. Your teachers won’t be.

What now? What are your future plans?

I’m going to work in an upholstery shop! I’m going to take apart couches and upholster furniture and things. Just do stuff with my hands for a little while rather than just with my head. I’m kinda looking forward to that. And I don’t have any more due dates for anything. I can go on a motorcycle trip for as long as I want. I can watch TV for as long as I want! I can do what I want! That’s a mind blowing thing.




What have you gained from being a teacher?

I had a friend a long time ago and he always thought it was so cool I was a teacher. And I kept on asking him, “why?” And he would go on saying ‘that’s so cool!” I would ask what’s so cool about being a teacher and he was like, “I make glass cases. I make and sell glass cases. I mean it’s fun to make glass cases, but I really don’t do anything. Teachers do something.” And so I guess the most important thing to find is something you believe in and do it as if it were your last day. This guy made glass cases, he liked his job, he made good money doing it; but it wasn’t satisfying. He always had to go to other areas, he did a lot of volunteer work, helped out in a lot of places. But he was always envious of the fact that teaching is what I do, all day everyday. I never thought of it like that. And then I think about how I love teaching and how it’s so much a part of my life and my existence and how I approach pretty much everything I do in my life. I think that it’s something I really believe in and I’m surprised that I’m leaving.




What got you teaching in the first place?

I went to college and my major was psychology, and I realized that psychology was super lame. For me at least, I’m not dissin’ the disciplined self. But I just didn’t dig on it. And so for two years that was my major but I wasn’t taking any psychology classes because again I didn’t like the subject. So, junior year my advisor called me up and I sat down. He said “Eric, what are you doing?” And I said, “what do you mean?” Again, he goes “what are you doing?” And i’m like, “well you called the meeting…” My advisor said, “no, no, no, no… what are you doing? You’re twenty years old, you’re in the middle of your junior year in college, what are you doing? You should know by now.” And I truly didn’t know. He told me “that’s a problem. I took a look at your transcript and you take a lot of history classes.” And I knew I liked history a lot. He was like, “why don’t you be a history teacher?” Okay! That makes sense! Both my parents were teachers and so I kind of knew the lifestyle of it. So I thought, “what the heck! Why not give it a shot?” As it turns out, it totally worked!




What does Chatfield mean to you?

Chatfield is my whole professional life. My son always corrects me because I talk about my kids. And when he’s in the room, he’s always sure to say “no, those are your students! Your students! I’M your kid.” As if to say maybe I focus a little too much attention on my kids at school. That’s everything I think about. That’s everything I want to think about it. It’s consuming, it’s liberating, and it’s constraining all at the same time. It’s like a different kind of family. I have other teachers I get to talk to and I have kids to go to in every classroom. So that’s really a special thing. I mean a school is a special, special place; especially from the teacher’s end of it.


Mr. Newson, you have changed many people’s lives. We all wish you the absolute best in your retirement and on your next step in your life! Thank you for not only helping me, but being a huge role model in all of our lives.

Thank you.