Michael Wasielewski: Reshaping Boys’ Basketball

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Michael Wasielewski: Reshaping Boys’ Basketball

By Abigail Davis, Staff Writer

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Every school year, Niles West gains hundreds of new students, but only a handful of new teachers to go along with them. In 2017, Social Studies teacher Michael Wasielewski was one of those new teachers.

Wasielewski was recruited to coach the boys’ varsity basketball team, but he has been enjoying more aspects of Niles West  than just the athletics.

“I enjoyed working at Stevenson, but I really enjoy working at Niles West. The students in my classes have been awesome, and I’m really grateful for them. They are respectful, curious, and endearing,” Wasielewski said. “I also really enjoy coaching basketball here, the guys on the team are great young men. They love to play basketball and very easy to coach. West is quite a bit smaller than Stevenson. I believe it’s about half the size. So when I walk down the hallway, I feel like I know so many more students and staff, and I’ve only been teaching here for three months.”

The team has already been preparing for this basketball season for months, and they hope to make it the best one yet.

“I’m looking forward to bonding and working hard with the team to compete against a very tough schedule of opponents this season. The team has been preparing for the season starting last June. We finished the summer with a 12-7 record. In the summer league over at Maine East, we finished 8-1, losing in the championship game on the last night,” Wasielewski said. “The boys have been playing open gym and running all fall. Our guys are also working hard in strength and conditioning programs at school.”

The team members already have a great first impression of Wasielewski, and they have confidence that he will bring them to a victorious season.

“I’m excited for this season with Coach Waz. He’s a good guy and a good coach. He pushed us to get better individually and as a team, and it’s going to be fun to see how well we do this year,” junior Eric Gassel said.

Besides basketball, Wasielewski has always loved studying history, and he is glad that he has been able to make a career out of his passion.

“I’ve been attracted to reading and studying the humanities for as long as I can remember. I think history, government, and all Social Studies disciplines can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us understand ourselves. It can teach us about what we’re capable of doing, both good and bad,” Wasielewski said. “My favorite part of teaching Social Studies is showing students complex issues and hearing how they respond. Its gratifying to broaden the perspectives of the students, and hopefully I’m able to somewhat motivate or inspire them along the way.”
So far, the Social Studies department is very impressed by the work Wasielewski has done, and they hope he is prosperous in not only teaching, but during the basketball season as well.
“He has worked in a variety of settings with very diverse student populations. In the interview, he showed a great approach to teaching and an ability to connect with kids.  After we hired him, he got right to work and started prepping and planning for the 2017-18 school year,” Social Studies director John Przekota said. “Throughout the year I’ve seen great things.  I had the pleasure of observing his class, and it was an engaging lesson which students actively engaged in.  In that observation, I also saw that he had a great personal connection with his students.  His colleagues in the Social Studies department have been impressed with the work he is doing and the dedication he is showing to teaching and coaching.”