By Jan Rahn
Middle school students will have a new instructor to get acquainted with this school term, which began Aug. 15.
Mr. Greg Vest will teach language arts to sixth and seventh graders at the PCS middle school site in Madrid. His assignment also includes being the assistant high school girls basketball coach.
“I enjoy the classroom environment where new things are learned and discovered on a regular basis,” he said. “When you teach writing, you constantly encounter something fresh, sometimes funny, sometimes touching.”
Vest said he enjoys the interaction with students, as his subject area is really the study and improvement of communication skills—reading, writing, and speaking.
“They are all related, as you have a writer or a speaker attempting to send a clear message to the reader or listener,” said Vest. “This allows for many engaging activities.”
He enjoys working with basketball athletes and helping them in their fundamental skills, enhancing teamwork, and understanding how discipline, which he defines as focused attention, will lead to good results.
Vest is a native of Greenwood, a small town between Lincoln and Omaha. The Ashland-Greenwood High School honors graduate entered the U.S. Army after high school and was stationed in Germany. The healthy economy at that time allowed him and his army buddies to travel a great deal.
Upon returning to Nebraska he joined the Nebraska National Guard and got a B.S.E from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
After graduation he worked in Japan with the active Army under what is called a KPUP program. National Guard members would supplement staffing in various places and he spent the summer at Camp Zama. While there, he met his former wife, a native of New Zealand, who now lives in Australia with their 14-year-old daughter, Olivia.
His first job was teaching English at Bancroft-Rosalie, explaining it as a great experience in a nice community.
He also coached junior high basketball, and many, many other activities, and achieved his M.A.E. at Wayne State College.
Vest then had an opportunity to work as an editor at Dark Horse Comics, Inc., which took him to Portland, Ore. He worked on The Mask, which became a film with Jim Carrey.
“For Manga fans, I worked on Ghost in the Shell and Domu (from the creator of Akira).”
He also worked on superhero titles of the time, “X” and “Motorhead.”
“Everybody laughs when I say Motorhead,” he said, “but it had nothing to do with the rock band.”
Later, he taught 6-8 English at Lewiston and also served as the assistant boys basketball coach, recalling a fond memory of attending back-to-back state tournaments.
He returned to Lincoln to spend some time with his father before he passed, and has been substituting for Lincoln Public Schools and teaching writing at Kaplan University.
Vest’s goal when school starts is to immediately get to know his students and where their skill level is at the present, guide them to improve and establish a sense of the enjoyment one gets as a lifelong learner.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” said Vest.
He also wants to get to know his co-workers and the community as quickly as possible.
“Even though I won’t be teaching at the high school, I am now a Plainsman, so you will see me at a football and volleyball game or two,” he said.
He was able to come for a week and help Coach Deanne Bishop with the basketball camp, appreciating the fact that she and everyone else he met made him feel welcome.
“As to what am I looking forward to besides the entire experience—15 percent humidity as opposed to the incredible balminess of the east side of the state!” said the new PCS instructor.