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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

A 30-year snapshot: a retrospective on Jerry Pike’s career

Photography teacher Jerry Pike reflects on his 30 years of teaching before his retirement
Jerry Pike has been teaching for 30 years in a range of classes from AP English to Photography 1 and 2.  (Paul Invierno)

Within one of the classrooms of Granite Bay High School, a veteran teacher prepares for another semester of teaching, hopeful to close out his final year before he retires. Within his class, the walls are covered with photos taken by the many bright-minded students that he’s taught.

Though Jerome Pike has only taught at GBHS for four years, he has gone through a 30-year journey of teaching experience, where he has taught numerous subjects, and undergone many challenges as an educator. During his short four years of teaching at Granite Bay, photography teacher Jerome Pike has already created a CTE pathway for the photography class, inspired many students to pursue a career related to photography and made numerous connections with his own students.

“I didn’t go to a very good high school, so (my) teachers there weren’t very inspiring. But I had one in particular, Mr. McSlarow, who was…really good at history and social studies,” Pike said. “We would always talk about what (it’s) like to teach…and (although) he got a lot of intrinsic rewards from (teaching)…you don’t (just teach) for the money…you do it because you like being around young people, and there’s a lot to it that is rewarding.”

Pike felt inspired by many of his teachers during his high school and college years, including the late Mr. McSlarow, to teach the younger generations. As a result, he began his career path to teach by attending Chico State University in order to get his Bachelor’s Degree in English.

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“I was at Chico State (as) a tutor (and) an English major in the writing center,” Pike said. “I kind of had a knack for (helping students) and then figured, ‘you know what, this could be a career choice.’”

Right after college, he taught his first class at Santa Rosa High School as the instructor for both American Literature and AP English.

“It was rather unusual (as it was) a last minute hire. The (previous) teacher had suddenly quit and they needed somebody (so) they hired me,” Pike said. “It was just really exciting to teach at that level, you know, and ever since then, I’ve loved (teaching).”

After a few years of teaching at Santa Rosa, Pike switched over to Marysville High School, where he continued to teach both AP English and American Literature.

“(One time) at Marysville, (I) was teaching an AP English class of only 12 students…that was the best part (of Marysville), because they were awesome students,” Pike said. “We got so much done (and) they all passed the AP test because it was so concentrated.”

Two years after teaching at Marysville, Pike transferred to Lodi High School and taught there for 22 years. During that time, he also became the school’s own yearbook advisor for 17 years.

“Probably the most memorable (class) in my long career was teaching the yearbook and the newspaper class…It’s a production class (with) a lot of deadlines, but you form bonds that run pretty deep,” Pike said. “Working very closely with students in a less formal environment to produce something that they were proud of…it was always an experience (with) that class, and I loved it.”

After the many years he has spent teaching at Lodi High School, Pike transferred over to GBHS, where he would spend his last three years teaching both Photography and 3D Animation.

“(3D Animation) was very challenging…I would say teaching (that) was probably my most challenging experience…I spent the most time (trying) to learn the software,” Pike said. “It was so difficult to learn and so un-user-friendly; it kind of drove me crazy.”

Though he didn’t have any experience teaching 3D animation, and would eventually stop teaching the class after one semester, Pike fortunately found more success with a class that he is more familiar with: photography.

“I love (teaching photography), it’s like a dream job…It’s not as demanding to teach…because I’m not grading essays until eleven o’clock at night,” Pike said. “All those years of (teaching) yearbook and newspaper (helped me learn) how to do photography and (teach) it to students.”

His short three years teaching the photography class at Granite Bay have helped students gain a newfound passion for taking pictures. One of these students is senior Olivia Ruangsuwan, who was inspired by Pike’s class to take up photography as a hobby.

“I think he’s amazing. He’s sometimes really funny, he teaches the class well, and he gives us material that’s really advanced, such as Photoshop and Lightroom,” Ruangsuwan said. “I (am going to) really miss him later on in life and I (will) never forget about him.”

Junior Dylan Wing was another student who enjoyed taking Pike’s photography class, taking both classes of Photo 1 and Photo 2.

“I really liked his class; (he’s) a very hands-on teacher, (which is) what we need for photography,” Wing said. “He will be missed at this school.”

Furthermore, Michael Rhys, a junior at GBHS who has completed the Photo 1 class, will miss Pike after his departure.

“He’s a good photography teacher… he really showed us the basics of what to do, what not to do, and helped us (hone) our craft,” Rhys said. “I hope he enjoys his retirement.”

For his retirement, Pike plans to spend more time with his family and partaking in his many hobbies, such as tennis, pickleball and photography.

“I am just really looking forward to…the next chapter in my life, where I’m not getting up every morning and going to a workplace,” Pike says. “I’m going to have more time to explore other interests and things.”

With the end of his career on the horizon, Pike is glad to have ended it on a high note after so many trials and tribulations over the past 30 years.

“I am just very happy that I ended (my career) at Granite Bay High School, and I’m not just saying that (for the) newspaper,” Pike said. “It has really made a huge difference (for) the end of my career.”

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About the Contributor
Paul Invierno
Paul Invierno, Staff Writer
Paul Invierno is a senior at Granite Bay High School. This is his first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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  • S

    SavannahApr 11, 2024 at 9:00 am

    I really appreciate his dedication at all the high schools he worked at, I can tell he is very passionate in what he does. I want more information on why he didn’t want to teach photography when it’s a dream job for him, when he spent all his time teaching English?

  • V

    VincentApr 5, 2024 at 10:08 am

    Gonna miss you pike have a nice retirement gonna miss photography with you!