February 26, 2014 by Will Murnan
Business teacher John Grady has a good reason to be known as “The Godfather”. He began his post high school career at the University of Albany where he earned a degree in business and a minor in education. Although he wanted to pursue business, he decided to become a teacher. “Both of my parents were teachers. It was the family business,” said Grady.
After years of schooling, Grady was hired as a teacher in 1988. At the start of teaching at Saratoga Springs High School, Grady got laid off due to decreased enrollment. However, there was still hope in his teaching career. “In the contract, if you are laid off, when there is an opening and if you meet the requirements, you got the job. I met all the requirements to get the job,” said Grady.
For the next three years, Grady taught kindergarten. Some of his best teaching memories were of his time as a kindergarten teacher. “When I taught kindergarten, there was a girl in my class and I her again in 12th grade. On graduation she was valedictorian and said, ‘It all started with Mr. Grady’. Seeing things pass, it was funny seeing the kids getting older while I feel the same.”
“He is very interested enjoying different experiences at the high school,” said Mrs. Ralston, another business teacher at the high school. As part of the job he applied for, he would become the advisor of the DECA Club and Leo Club. “Ever since I’ve known him he has been involved in DECA and Leo clubs and running the school (DECA) store. The number of kids he gets to join those clubs is pretty amazing compared to the other programs in the building,” said McGuiggan, another teacher in Grady’s department.
Grady is also known for doing some interesting things throughout the school year. “He is very much a practical joker in the department. He has played some pretty fun jokes, all harmless, and it keeps things lively. You never know what is going to happen when he is around,” said McGuiggan. “My favorite thing he does is his Halloween costumes. It’s fun for the students and faculty. He is not afraid to embarrass himself in order for us to have a good day and a good laugh,” said Ralston.
Outside of teaching, Grady has enjoyed being around and learning about cars throughout his life. His dad, a photographer for over 50 years, really fueled Grady’s interest in cars, specifically race cars. According to Grady, he and his dad would take pictures of race cars in Daytona and “have cars drive 200 mph about 100 yards away…Thanks to my dad, I have been around cars and auto racing my whole life,” said Grady.
With all the fun and games aside, Grady is different from other teachers. “He is a good teacher; he gets to the students. He looks at us like friends and not students,” said Will Hollyer, a junior who is currently a student in American Entrepreneurship. “He is very understanding. An example is if I have to miss part of the class, he lets me come after the class and let me finish what I didn’t do. A lot of teachers will make you stay after school to do the work” said Hollyer.
Sadly, Grady’s years of teaching are coming to an end as he plans on retiring in 2016. “I think I will have over 30 years of teaching. I still enjoy it and want to leave on a high note. It is time to give someone else a shot,” said Grady. “It will be sad to see him go as he is a great part of our department, but he has earned it. He had to teach kindergarten and has taught up here. He has earned the right to retire. I wish him the best and we will miss him”, said McGuiggan.
On the day Grady retires, he will leave a legacy of teaching for 30 years and of leading the business department for over 7 years. For his students, Mr. Grady will always be the Godfather.
Will Murnan @WhoButWMMason is a senior Journalism student and The Lightning Rod‘s social media manager.