A Hawk’s Eye View


Dean Hawk diligently works at his desk.

By Lucas Rochester, Staff Writer

Whether perched up in the Dean’s Office watching out from the shadows of his nest, scouting the halls for tardy prey during passing periods, or swooping in on oblivious students infringing upon the ever-so-virtuous West Way, Dean David Hawk is quite the force to be reckoned with here at Niles West High School.

In his five years employed as a dean at this school, Hawk has maintained a reputation of reverenced fear and respect from the student body. At a high school swarming with prefrontal-cortex-deprived adolescents, Hawk takes charge. Authority figures such as Hawk are there to not only bring justice to the crime but to instruct and discipline this nation’s future leaders.

Where many students may see Hawk as a force of opposition to their rebellious states of mind, there is more than meets the eye.

“[Dean Hawk] is very efficient, child-centered, and really goes out of his way to support students,” science teacher Neil Koreman said.

Security staff that work alongside the deans have respect for Hawk.

“I like [Dean Hawk],” security officer Gene Allison said. “I’ve gotten to know his true spirit in the time I’ve spent working here. He treats everybody fair and works hard at his job, you know what I’m saying? In the three years, I’ve spent working here, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people, and [Hawk] is a guy I can pretty much say is my friend.”

Hawk grew up in Morton Grove and graduated from Niles West himself in 2003. While attending, he met many of his present-day closest friends and even his future wife. He says that many of his high school teachers still work at the school, including Mr. and Mrs. Weatherington, Mr. Rigby (who was a geometry teacher back then), Mrs. Graham, Mr. Krzeminski, and the list goes on. This is one in a multitude of factors that served to lead him into the position he’s in today.

“The fact that [the previously stated teachers] are still here speaks in volumes to not only how great the district is, but also how passionate the staff is,” says Hawk.

Hawk has always heavily valued his social and emotional skills such as punctuality, the ability to be relied upon by others, treating others fairly, professionalism, and most importantly, respect. His vision for each and every one of the students here at Niles West is for them to exceed in these areas as well, as he believes skills such as those previously stated play a very large role in the future prosperity of an individual.

“Part of maturing and being able to make whatever decisions in life you want, at the core of that, is always those executive functioning skills,” Hawk said. “Like, can you be on time? Can you be organized? Can you problem solve? Do you know how to relate to other people? Whatever you do, that’s always going to be important.”

Growing up, Hawk was a part of Auto Club here at West and found another passion of his is working on automobiles. After spending his summers employed at an auto body shop in high school, the dream eventually fell off for him, but his love of cars, motorcycles, and the such still persists. After he departed from this line of work, he eventually went on to be a gym teacher for a few years, before finally finding his resting place in his cushioned chair in the Security Office, where he now serves as head dean of attendance.

When asked what career he would pursue if he had the power to do whatever he wanted, Hawk replied, “This may sound silly, but I really enjoy carpentry. I’ve built furniture at home in my free time. I love the quiet, just, you know, you’ve got your tools, working on your own, and then you see what you’ve built, and there’s a lot of pride in that. I think if I could do anything, and if I had the money for all the tools and a shop, it would be carpentry.”

Hawk is self-described as someone who “doesn’t like to sit around.” Besides auto work, carpentry, taking care of his wife and two daughters at home, and dealing with students, he spends a good portion of his time exercising.

“Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and a really grounding factor,” he said. “A lot of the friends I still have today I met playing sports, so exercise has always been important to me.”

He now spends his summers taking backpacking trips with his friends to well-known regions of the world to brave their challenging terrain. He already boasts ventures to the Appalachian Trail, the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mt. Whitney in California, and even took on Glacier National Park in Canada. Hard work, risk-taking, and goal-setting have clearly always played important roles in Hawk’s lifestyle, so it’s no wonder why he pursued the position of power he takes his refuge in today.

“Niles West and the district itself is an amazing place to be. Not only for the adults but also for the students,” Hawk said. “I’ve been through the professional side of things, but I’ve also been a student. The supports that are here, the number of extracurricular activities, and the passion from the teachers are some things that can easily be overlooked, but you really have to realize what a great place this is. I think we’re going down the right path; focusing on student equity and really getting students involved in their own educational processes is really important. That’s what people like me are here for.”