Athletics bring WC’s Pilgrim to the classroom
Published 8:50 am Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Olivia Bennett, a sophomore at Warren Central High School, says her geometry teacher is “fun.”
“Fun would be the word I would use to describe him,” Bennett said.
“He has us do activities and even lets us help teach the classes. Right now we are doing scale drawings and he has even brought art to a math class,” she said.
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Bennett is talking about Jeff Pilgrim, one of WCHS’s math teachers, who is also the head coach for the school’s tennis team and an assistant volleyball coach.
“This is my second year at Warren Central and my third year to teach,” Pilgrim said. “I enjoy Warren Central and I like Vicksburg.”
“People say there is nothing to do here, but there are things to do here. There is a skate park, public swimming pools and comedy shows,” he said.
Pilgrim said has played numerous sports all his life, claiming the only one he hasn’t tried is hockey, and he added that it was because of his love of sports that he decided to be an educator.
“Without coaching I probably wouldn’t have gotten into teaching,” he said.
Pilgrim played football and basketball for Madison Central High School and also played league tennis, he said.
“My basketball coach would not let me play tennis for the school, but my Dad was a tennis player in college, so I did wind up playing a little bit of league tennis.
While at Mississippi State University, Pilgrim said he coached and was the captain of a rugby team.
He prefers to teach tennis, but has enjoyed being a coach for the volleyball team.
“My dad taught me the fundamentals of volleyball at a young age, and I have grown to love it,” he said.
“Learning the game has been fun. It took me about two weeks to learn the game and two months of watching games to really learn about the sport,” he said.
“I thought I would just be coaching volleyball for a year, but I enjoy it — so I’m going to continue,” he said.
“I guess with life I’ve enjoyed learning new things,” Pilgrim said.
In the classroom, he has not minded the common core style of teaching.
“We use a lot of tools — protractors and compasses and I like it,” he said.
“The geometry class I’m teaching now will be better for work. Kids will know how to use the physical tools,” Pilgrim said.
He says he also likes to teach his students self-worth.
“Sometimes I preach more than anything,” he said — telling them life is about how you present yourself in public and at work.
“I tell them they can act like a fool on their own time, but don’t do it in public.”
Pilgrim said he feels like he gets a good response from his students and according to Bennett that rings true.
“Mr. Pilgrim is a hands-on teacher and that helps me learn,” Bennett said.