By HAMZAH ALAM and TANVI BARGAJE
There are few things as scary as falling down an 18-foot ladder. One minute, a person is standing up, in the middle of diligently painting the roof of a house. The next minute, a loud crash and a bang, and suddenly, the painter is lying down on the ground, ankle broken, shattered into 8 different pieces. As unfortunate as this sounds, it happened to one of the most beloved teachers on campus: Mr. Knight, the head of the science department.
“While the ER doctors thought I had broken both the tibia and fibula, it turns out that only my tibia is broken,” said Mr. Knight in an email he sent to his students after his accident. “I’ve seen the CT scans–it’s a mess. It’s a jigsaw puzzle I would not want to deal with!… After the surgery I will continue to recuperate at home. If all goes well… I am cautiously optimistic that I will return to UNI the week after Thanksgiving.”
Mr. Knight is an incredibly impactful teacher, and as such, there is much students have to say about him and his unfortunate situation.
“When I first heard about it, I thought to myself, ‘No. There’s no way that could happen,’” said senior Karissa Maeda. “I was really sad because I didn’t realize just how much he was hurt.” Mr. Knight also brings a certain energy to the classroom, and his enthusiasm is conveyed through his teaching.
“Mr. Knight…really goes out his way to explain everything from different perspectives.” said Maeda. Despite the severity of the accident, this biology teacher is still determined to teach biology away from the classroom. He sent his students a set of pictures showing where his ankle is broken and how doctors are helping to fix it all via braces and rods. Mr. Knight is also considered an adventurous person by his students, traveling to many different parts of the world, such as Central America and Iceland, and participating in many exciting, yet dangerous, activities.
“I’ve learned to live my life more adventurously,” said senior Rojan Javaheri. “He’s visited so many places and done so many cool things like hiking and ziplining, and other crazy things…I think that’s really cool [that] he inspires his students to go out more and live their lives more, and forget about the stress and anxiety that they put on themselves.” Mr. Knight’s unfortunate injury affects more than just the students. Teachers in the science department are feeling the repercussions of his absence as well.
“Since Mr. Knight was the head of the science department, it has been kind of hard to keep up with everything,” said chemistry teacher Mr. Brighton.
“…He is head of the science department…So that’s been kind of hard. Ms. Bunch has picked up the slack there and helped him lineup substitutes and things like that. Mr. Shrake has helped a little bit as well cause he teaches AP Biology… It’s a little bit harder, but we’re managing” Along with helping the science department organize everything, Mr. Knight also helps out other teachers behind-the-scenes situations.
“He kind of like stands up for our department, fights against “the man” you know,” said Brighton. “We don’t have to do things that are ridiculous or that don’t make sense, so that’s really helpful. He manages all the department funds and oversees that.” Mr. Hurley, a substitute, will be taking over for Mr. Knight until he recovers. Mr. Hurley has a degree in biology, and is an alumnus of University High School. The courses Mr. Knight regularly teaches will continue at the same pace, and Mr. Knight will be grading written work and entering grades. Despite this, however, some students are still adjusting to the situation.
“I guess because we don’t really know the sub that well, the atmosphere is different from before,” Maeda said. “It’s a lot more formal.” Mr. Knight would like to remind everyone that he appreciates the concern he sees from his students, and will definitely be back to teach.
“Thank you for concern, I truly appreciate it,” he said in his email. “UNI has been my professional home and family for twenty-nine years and I am blessed to have helpful and supportive teachers to work, supportive parents, and outstanding students like you all. I shall return….”