By SOPHIA HUO and ERIN KIM
Most people aren’t in high school for thirteen years. But UHS’s new principal, Dr. Kevin Astor (Admin.), has been immersed in a high school environment for much of his professional career. A graduate of Foothill High, Tustin and later Boston University, he initially majored in communications, with plans of working in the advertising industry. However, in his freshman year of college, he realized his passion lay in education. “I happened to really enjoy my high school time,” he said. “I played football and did fairly well in my classes. I got involved in ASB when I was a senior and went to dances and did activities.” Still in touch with his high school friends almost thirty years later, Astor agrees that his positive high school experience influenced his career choice.
We all know him as a principal, but few know that he also made it onto the big screen. Astor said cheerfully, “When I was in junior high, I got to sneak into a movie production. There was a movie called Fletch with Chevy Chase, and we were taking my sister to the airport. We were bored, so I grabbed my sister’s carry on, and I walked back and forth in front of the camera, as one of the airport extras.”
Astor also enjoys camping, hiking and other adventurous outdoor activities in his leisure time. He admits his guilty pleasure is eating junk food and watching TV. When asked what his favorite fast food place is, his response is classic to those living in Southern California: “You can never go wrong with a good In-N-Out. Double double.”
One may expect Dr. Astor to tire of constantly working around angst-ridden teenagers, but he claims the exact opposite. “It’s an absolute blast. There’s always tons of energy and excitement… when you get older, you sometimes start to get less excited about things because they become more in your distant past.” Being in an environment with teenagers allows him to still be a part of the spirited football games, exhilarating dances and pep rallies once again. In addition, he appreciates the different perspectives of high school life that he has observed through his long experience of working in education. “There are tons of kids, who if I were in high school, probably wouldn’t be friends with, but I get to know them because I’m the principal…they’ll take the time to talk to me.”
Even though it is his first year here, Astor is excited to discover the subtle differences that make UHS special and different from other high schools, wondering, “How does UNI do homecoming? What do the half-time performances look like? What does the dance look like? I’m excited to do all those things for the first time.”
For those new to UHS, Dr. Astor gives two pieces of advice: to get connected and to try something new. “High school’s so huge, you’ve got to be part of a smaller group, whether that’s part of a team, or a club, or an academic program…where there’s a shared interest and it’s easier to develop relationships.” He also encourages students to leap out of their comfort zones. “Be courageous and try something that you may or may not be good at but sounds interesting to you. It opens up a whole new world.”
After sharing valuable advice, quirky stories and fun facts about himself, Astor opens up about what he personally lives for, in light of this year’s theme. “On the deepest level, I live for my God, and I understand Him calling me to life. With that, I am living for my family, living for my work; I feel like it’s a calling…I live for understanding how I am supposed to work with people in the world, in both my family, my friends, and with all the people I get to be with, students and parents and staff.”
Astor’s commitment to UHS and its diverse student body could not be stronger. His experiences, from the years he roamed his high school halls to the moment he became principal of UHS, have put the future of this school into good hands.