Class of 1986
My name is David Spence. The year was 1983 and I was not happy that Pompano Beach High had closed. You see my parents graduated from Pompano High and got married straight out of high school. I always knew that would be my high school growing up. The decision was made to close Pompano high the year I was starting high school. Learning to accept what I could not change I learned to embrace the change and do my best or so I thought. I found myself surrounded by people I didn’t know and without boring you with the details I was told in 5th grade that I just was not that smart. I needed “special” attention. So being the good little guy I was I played along to get along and was placed in SLD classes for English. I was mad at the system, teachers and myself. It was now my second year of high school and not much had changed. I met my new teacher for world history. His name is Jesse Mann. I found him to be an interesting man in that he used some minor language in order to get the students attention. He had a unique way of teaching. Although I found him to be interesting the subject was at the time so boring. Mr. Mann held me after class one day several weeks after the first semester. He asked me what the hell I was going to do with my life. I explained to him that my Dad was a carpenter and contractor and I was going to do the same thing. He said ok? Do you think good grades may help you with that goal? I said with a stern face “NO”. He said why? I explained that I was going to join the carpenters union and learn the trade and there was no way that his class was going to help me with carpentry. Now here is the funny part…Mr. Mann didn’t teach regular classes. He taught super smart kids. I was in a very unique position and I think Mr. Mann showed interest because he was a “real” teacher. He really wanted to know what made me tick. He wanted to know what would motivate me and he took the time to do just that. He asked if he could help me with the goal if I would pass his class. I said “yes!” but I already took shop class and that isn’t going to do anything to help. Once getting me to agree to attempt to pass his class he took me to my guidance counselor and asked her to set me up for the carpentry program at Atlantic Vo Tech. Wow! I didn’t even know that sort of thing existed. Come to find out Mr. Mulkey ran that program and was a union carpenter himself and even knew my Dad. Oh my gosh! I have to pass Mr. Mann’s class now…Well I passed his class with strong B’s and brought my overall GPA up. Now the truth is that I never did do really well in high school but I did graduate with a B average and graduated AVT with an A average. I went on to Local 123 and was one of the youngest Journeyman carpenters to graduate in 1990 as a journeyman carpenter. I worked with my Dad until 2000 and in 2003 moved to Tampa. I now have 5 different state contractors’ licenses and own my own business for five years. My business has over 9 pages of reviews on Angie’s list and an overall grade of A.
I may have still become a carpenter and maybe even a contractor but who knows how much longer it would have taken without the interest of a very special teacher named Mr. Jesse Mann. I will forever be thankful and think he should be given an award for his years of service to the community and Ely High. What I thought was going to be the longest four years of my life became the most important to a journey that I am still on. I am a husband of 19 years, a father of two and a successful contractor but I will always be a Tiger! Let that Tiger Roar!
David Spence C/O 1986
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