The Legacy of Amick

Ben McCutchan, Author

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Image taken from ht-sd.org

As the 2019-2020 year begins at HHS, everyone can tell some things are different: the Busy Bean no longer sells Costco muffins, Fridley Field got some new turf, some teachers are now retired, and others are just joining the school staff.

But the largest difference is the absence of one of our assistant principals: Dr. Amick, known to many simply as Mr. Amick. 

I got into contact with Mr. Amick to find out where he had gone with a list of questions asking him a little bit about his past and what got him into administrative work. Mr. Amick explained, “Becoming an administrator was a little bit of an accident for me.” Before he moved to work at Hampton, Mr. Amick first worked at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School in the center of the cultural district. He was a math teacher there until he was offered a position as math supervisor for the school. Mr. Amick initially refused the opportunity, but he ultimately took it after he realized it would help him better support his growing family at home. He applied for a position at Hampton a few years later. 

At Hampton, Mr. Amick strived to help students wherever he could. “I wanted the office to be a place where people go for help,” he explained, “not just when they’re in trouble.” He tried to see the best in students he interacted with, even when they made mistakes. Mr. Amick said one of the most challenging parts in his work was trying to keep a straight face. “A lot of the things administrators deal with are actually pretty amusing…and I think some of our Talbot readers know exactly what I’m talking about!” 

Not all student interactions were negative with Mr. Amick, though; there are many stories from students in which Mr. Amick simply struck up a friendly conversation with them, often about things such as music. He even told a story from one of his years: “In my first year there was a group of seniors brought a stereo in to listen to music during lunch. It was one of the last days of the year and I think they were just enjoying the last day or two by playing music in the cafeteria, bending the rules a bit.…when I walked over they assumed that I was going to tell them to turn it off – you know, do the stereotypical administrator thing- but I liked the song and I thought it was a nice idea to listen to music in the cafeteria, (as long as it’s not loud and disruptive or anything, and everyone around them was OK with it.) I asked them to turn it up just a little bit so I could hear it. The seniors laughed; they were pretty shocked.” Mr. Amick liked to connect to students through music, and at the end of the story, he said this:  “I love music…but in a way it also showed me how stressful school can be, particularly at Hampton. School should be a place where students are comfortable. You don’t have to sit in rows, study all the time, take 20 AP classes, get all A’s, have this strict set of rules, and then feel the need to bring in a beach ball, music, and chant songs in H-hall on the very last day. Sing a little bit every day, take more art classes…work hard, of course, but also try to make sure every day is fun.”

It is truly saddening to see that Mr. Amick has now moved on to pursue other positions. He is now working as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Sto Rox, a school district north of the Ohio River closer to downtown Pittsburgh. While we wish you were still here with us at Hampton, we hope you have the best of luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Amick.