The inaugural launch of a new Panther Press tradition., Pausing with a Panther takes 5 minutes to get to know one of our esteemed teachers, staff, and students. Oh, the adventures a 5 min. interview will bring.

Izabell Tunison

More stories from Izabell Tunison


Mr. Matt LaPoint. Special Ed. Dept.

There is no better person to officially kick the Pausing with the Panther legacy off with other than: The Myth, The Man, The WHS legend- Mr. Matt LaPoint.

Whitmer Special Education teacher Mr. Lapoint grew up in what he fondly refers as the “23”(Airedale and Armada). When asked to give a quick run down on what he was like as a little kid, he describes himself as being similar to a Tasmanian devil hopped up on Red Bull crow hopping cherry bombs. Other than that,  he thinks he really was like most every kid his age loving sports, music, and being with  friends. The second youngest of five (three brothers and one sister). he lived in a neighborhood that had plenty of cousins and friends and his house was the house that everyone went to in the summer. They didn’t spend much time indoors and spent the summer days playing basketball, any form of baseball, volleyball, swimming or neighborhood hide and seek

Mr. Lapoint is a real WLS 4-lifer and attended McGregor, Jefferson Junior High, and is a proud Whitmer alum. He went on to round out his post-secondary excellence at Hillsdale, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Toledo. Mr. Lapoint student taught at and then began his teaching career in 1999 at Scott High School and Mr. Lapoint’s first year at Whitmer was 2000/2001. He started here a good five years before any of you seniors were born. 23 years.  Mr. Lapoint met his wife in high school and his siblings, children, nieces, nephews, been a ridiculous amount of cousins have all gone to Whitmer. Since 2009, until He retires, he will have had a nephew, niece, child and or brother in Whitmer High School with him. He truly does love this community. With all sincerity, Mr. LaPoint has spent shared his entire life and all those that he has loved in the Washington Local Community.

“I have  had so many opportunities to work and meet with so many wonderful people because of this district.”

— Mr. Matt LaPoint

Imagine, you won the lottery today. What would you do? Where would you go?

“I have put much thought into this very topic. If I won the lottery, I would immediately give money to the WLS district and to my church. After that, my plan is as follows; I would buy a few homes going south on the east coast. I would then give money to Mr Molloy, so that he may complete his plastic surgery process in order to look more like me. This process would include adding more muscle and metal joints, while also taking away some nose and a fair amount of hair. At the same time, I would also give Ken Steinmiller what I would have to believe would be the bulk of my hundreds of millions of dollars in winnings in order to allow him to get the surgery to look more like me. Of course, this surgery would have to be much much much more extensive than Mr. Molloy’s. However, Mr Steinmiller’s surgery would be a 4 for 1. By that I mean if he were to end up looking like me, Mr. Whitacre and Mr. Snyder’s day would be that much better to have two of me in it (the 4th benefactor is mentioned later). I would also pay for my brother Tom to get lifts in his shoes. It’s not fair that he is my much older brother and he looks up to me in literally every way. I would then start my own business (a moving / hauling company that only uses stretch hummer limousines to transport individuals personal treasures ) and put Mr. Peter’s in charge, (not that Mr. Peters). The final two things I would do is give Mr. Lenz money to shave and get a haircut. Then I would pay for Mr. Steinmiller and Mr. Densmore’s FFC (former friends counseling).   This is also where the 4th person benefits from Mr. Steinmiller looking like me. Mr Densmore would have a hard time not liking Mr. Steinmiller since he would look like me.”

What is something you don’t think should exist?

“Weapons of Mass Destruction, however I understand the need for them even as a simple deterrence.”

Have you ever liked something and then changed your mind?

“Raw kibbie.”

What is your guilty pleasure song or music (listen to alone or don’t admit to)?

“I honestly listen to every type of music from Slipknot to Taylor Swift to Migos to Sophie Tucker, country and everything in between. However, the best answer I could give to this question would be Jeremy Jordan “Girl like You”. Do the research.”

What two non essential items would you want if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island?

“The first thing I would want would be a book of Mr. Densmore’s affirmational, motivational and inspirational writings. The second non essential thing that I would want would be my Mr. Keller Christmas Sweater.”

If you could compare yourself to an animal, what would it be?

“A Griffoenix. A hybrid of a Griffin and a Phoenix. Do the research.”

If you had a time machine, would you travel to the future or back to the past?

“The past. I would go to my wedding reception because although there were still some people missing, that was the largest collection of the people that I love in one place and many of those people are no longer here. You will never understand how priceless that is until you are not able to see and talk to people you love.”

What’s your favorite sports team and why?

“The Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs. They’re a senior league hockey team up north. They hate losing and when they do, they take it personally and each player wants to shoulder the blame. When they win, each player passes the glory to their teammates.”

Are you a cat or dog person?

“Dog person because for the most part dogs are awesome and cats are not.”

What is your favorite throwback song?

“When I was younger, my dad (WHS class of 64′) would always tell me that he hoped that I would find friends like he had (Mark Rabbit class of 65′ and Jason Schreiner class of 63′) and possibly even meet my future wife in high school. He would then tell the story of how he and his two buddies (Mark Rabbit 65′ and Jason Schreiner 63′) would cruise to the White Hut restaurant (where the current Baskin Robbins is) for malts after a school sock hop. That was also where my dad met my mom. He said that he and his friends (Mark Rabbit  65′ and Jason Schreiner 63′) would always sing “Pretty Woman”  by Roy Orbison on the drive over to the White Hut. Everytime he would hear that song, a teardrop would fall from my father’s left eye, rolling down his raised smiling cheek after briefly being transported through time. I was fortunate enough to have met my future wife in high school, to have such friends and such a song. My buddy Jeff Tomaczewski and I would drive to meet up with friends at Cajun Joes and TCBY.”

After eating we would travel back to one of our houses and hang out. Every time we would drive to each location, “Porch” by Pearl Jam would be playing. This song transports me just like “Pretty Woman” did to my dad with his friends (Mark Rabbit  65′ and Jason Schreiner 63′)