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Dawson Chang

English teacher Matthew Wells and Spanish teacher Luis Gamboa joined the Upper School at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

Class Act: new teachers Matthew Wells, Luis Gamboa

November 1, 2022

At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, English teacher Matthew Wells and Spanish teacher Luis Gamboa joined the Upper School. In this article, freshmen Maddie Garrou and Marin Pollock share a bit about these new teachers’ backgrounds, hobbies and experiences at St. John’s so far.

 

English teacher Matthew Wells

Ever since Matthew Wells was a student in high school, he wanted to teach English.

In 2008, Wells began teaching middle school in Georgia. Later, he moved to Houston with his wife who was offered a job at Rice University. His favorite part about teaching English is getting to know his students and seeing their ideas and personalities unfold on a page.

“I loved the stories that I read when I was in my English classrooms, and I always thought that I would love to teach them as well,” Wells said.

His interests beyond the classroom include watching movies, playing video games, going on walks and, of course, reading. His favorite movie is Little Shop of Horrors, a 1986 cult classic horror musical comedy.

Upper School English teacher Matthew Wells dresses up his high school’s mascot. (Courtesy of Matthew Wells)

If Wells was not a teacher, he says he would probably be a professional dog walker, although he does not have any dogs. He stands by the opinion that cheese is overrated, partially due to being lactose intolerant. Although Wells says he has little athletic ability, he considers himself “a sports person.” One of his idols is Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban.

Wells is from Rainsville, Alabama (population 5,505 in 2020) where he lived for his childhood. In high school, he was the mascot—Rowdy the Ram. Although his identity was kept a secret, he loved contributing to his school’s spirit.

“Although I wouldn’t do it again, I loved being the mascot for my high school,” Wells said.

So far, Wells has had a fantastic time teaching and loves the SJS community. He can’t wait to get to know more students and to try new foods in the cafeteria.

About the Contributors
Photo of Maddie Garrou
Maddie Garrou, Staff Writer

Maddie Garrou ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. She plays competitive soccer, and her favorite watch is "Us" by Jordan Peele.

Photo of Marin Pollock
Marin Pollock, Staff Writer

Marin Pollock ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. Her favorite movie is "Casino Royale," and she has has a golden retriever puppy named Bear!

Photo of Dawson Chang
Dawson Chang, Online Editor-in-Chief

Dawson Chang ('24) joined The Review in 2020 as a freshman. He is super cool.

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Spanish teacher Luis Gamboa

New Upper School Spanish teacher Luis Gamboa has not owned a TV for 30 years.

Gamboa moved to California from his home in Guadalajara, Mexico, when he was only 16. His teaching career began 22 years ago. Gamboa attended Ignatius High in San Francisco and graduated from Loyola University in Chicago. He is set to graduate this year from the University of New Mexico with a PhD in Linguistics.

When Gamboa first arrived in California, he was intimidated because he could only speak Spanish. He had to learn English quickly.

Upper School Spanish teacher Luis Gamboa poses for a photo right before meeting with his advisory. (Dawson Chang)

“I am not a man of talent, but I am persistent,” Gamboa said.

Aside from teaching, Gamboa has a passion for boxing. He has a gym membership at LA Fitness, which he utilizes almost every weekend. Gamboa hates the smell of roses and has an even greater aversion to potatoes (due to a “horrible and unmentionable experience”). He enjoys both Plato and Playdough.

Gamboa’s favorite part of teaching is being with students. He loves witnessing their “aha! moments,” and he understands that learning a foreign language can sometimes be tough.

“Ni muy muy, ni tan tan” is one of Gamboa’s favorite expressions, which translates to “never to the extremes.” Gamboa applies this philosophy to his everyday life, using it whenever he’s teaching his students. He hopes his students will never feel too pressured to do anything or go to extreme measures in order to get work done.

Gamboa has enjoyed his time in the Upper School and looks forward to getting to know his students better.

About the Contributors
Photo of Maddie Garrou
Maddie Garrou, Staff Writer

Maddie Garrou ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. She plays competitive soccer, and her favorite watch is "Us" by Jordan Peele.

Photo of Marin Pollock
Marin Pollock, Staff Writer

Marin Pollock ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. Her favorite movie is "Casino Royale," and she has has a golden retriever puppy named Bear!

Photo of Dawson Chang
Dawson Chang, Online Editor-in-Chief

Dawson Chang ('24) joined The Review in 2020 as a freshman. He is super cool.

Leave a Comment

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