Saturday, June 23, 2018

At Hillsborough High, father and daughter are teacher and student

When Tom Paloumpis sees her walking down the hall by his classroom, on some days he waves. Other times, when their days haven't been so great, he leaves time to catch up at home.

Paloumpis, a senior history teacher at Hillsborough High, and his daughter, Laura, a junior, walk into school every day together.

"It's fun," he said. "Neither of us like to talk much in the morning. We're usually quiet (on the way to school) but we talk at home."

Laura agreed. "He understands when I talk about school-related things, and he can help me out when I need him."

While it has been an adjustment being in the same working and learning environment every day, it's not the first time Paloumpis has had to modify his relationship with a relative at work.

Last year, Andy, Laura's older brother, attended Hillsborough High. He had Paloumpis' History of the Americas class every other day. In the afternoons he would swim for the school's swim team, which was coached by his dad.

Despite their father-child relationship, Paloumpis always made sure not to play favorites. "In fact, sometimes I would grade Andy's work more harshly. He even caught me once!"

Laura and her dad agree that having one another at school is a good thing.

Paloumpis, however, stressed that he tries to respect their "zones of privacy."

"I have to remember that. They have lives I'm not a part of. You've got to understand the barriers of what you can do. I always feel bad (embarrassing Laura), unless it's funny," he joked.

Laura explained that there have been numerous embarrassing experiences.

One time her dad told a male classmate of Laura's that he had a hammer in his desk and that if the boy ever went near his daughter his response would be "I'll kill you!"

Joking aside, Paloumpis said he firmly believes their relationship is stronger because they are at the same school. Laura echoed his sentiment. "If I need anything, he's always there."

 
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