By Griffin Cappelletti
Blake Wells, a five-year veteran of the Loyola teaching staff, will be moving onto law school next fall.
During his tenure, Wells primarily taught both regular and honors courses in Spanish 1 and 2; in addition, he taught summer school classes in reading comprehension and served as head freshman basketball coach.
Next school year, Wells will attend Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he hopes to build on his experiences at Loyola High School by studying with a consistent work ethic.
Discussing his decision to go back to school and stay in his hometown, he said, “Loyola [High School] has been such a fantastic place to be, but I’ve always been interested in law, and it runs in the family. I felt that I needed to spread my wings and embrace new challenges, but I wanted to keep my education within the Jesuit and Loyola family, so Loyola [Law School] was the best decision for me.”
Focusing on the work ethic of the Loyola community and the driven student population, Wells said that the daily effort it takes to be a successful student at Loyola is commendable. According to Wells, it is the incredibly hard work and intense effort that students put into everything they do that drives Loyola forward:”The Loyola identity comes from a sense of pride in working hard and always giving full effort in every facet of life.” According to Wells, the never-ending work ethic of Loyola students is what has made his job as a teacher and coach so enjoyable over the last few years.
This past year Wells undertook the position of freshman basketball coach where he brought his teaching skills from the classroom to the court. In this new position, he was able to better understand the difficulty of managing multiple extracurricular activities.
According to Wells, coaching the freshman team gave him a more diverse perspective of the sacrifice that students and parents of Loyola make to reach success in an out of school. He was able to better see the juggling act students do to balance school work, sports, and other extracurricular activities is very difficult and even first-semester freshmen are initiated into the culture of diligent labor to earn any recognition in the classroom, on the field, or on the court.
“On the freshman basketball team, guys are practicing six days a week and still working on specific skills on Sundays to give themselves even the slightest edge over other players and other teams. This hard work made our team successful. The effort the guys put into every part of their lives was clear when the played hard every time they stepped on the court,” said Wells.
Wells said that his teams were strong because of the consistency of athletics at Loyola, a precedent set by coaches who set the standards of a Loyola-quality team long ago: “When I was a student, Loyola was the bar for athletics. Every other school tried to reach the level of Loyola, which is why I believe the Mission League has improved so much and is so strong right now. It is a true testament to the work of Chris O’Donnell and all of the coaches here. Certain school’s sports programs have improved substantially, but Loyola is still the bar other schools around Los Angeles are striving to reach.”
Reflecting on his term at Loyola High, Wells said, “It’s bittersweet to leave. I’m excited to start my law career, but I’m, obviously, sad leaving teaching, especially at Loyola [High]. Over the past month, and especially at this last liturgy, I’ve thought a lot about my time here and all of the great experiences I’ve had as a teacher and as a coach.”
Wells said that his time as a teacher and coach has proven to him why Fr. Goethals often makes the assertion that Loyola is the “best damn high school in Southern California”: “Right here, Venice and Vermont, it’s an impressive place to be. I’ll never forget my time here, and with Loyola [Law] being only a couple miles away, I’ll be able to keep in contact and stay involved with the Loyola [High] community.”