For most students at PHS who know Mr. Dolezal, passing by room 218 and 216 is always a pleasure. His reputation for being the down to earth, friendly, science teacher, always ready to greet you by name in the halls, is well deserved. That’s why, during his leave for surgery, he left big shoes to fill in his absence.
It is a typical Mustang 55, and Mr. Dolezal’s room is crowded with students asking questions, and waiting for Advisement to begin. As he pauses between the newspaper questions to help two of his kids with make up work, greet everyone coming into his class, and address Junior, Jordan Eishen, upon the request that he “Guard her stuff”, it’s easy to see he puts his best foot forward everyday whether it’s in staying on the bright side, cracking jokes, or teaching his students. The Mustang Express caught up with Mr. Dolezal to ask him about his recent absence, the surgery, and what it’s like coming back to Ponderosa after all this time.
Mustang Express: “You’ve recently returned to Ponderosa after undergoing a hip surgery, for students who don’t know what happened, can you summarize why you need it and what was the operation for?”
Mr. Dolezal: “It was a beautiful April Day 2010 and I was jogging, and I felt a severe pain in my hip, I thought I could jog it off. I used to be an athletic trainer so I figured it was no big deal and I could run it off, but when it persisted I realized it was worse than I thought, so I went home and iced it, and went and took care of the pain. I tried this for months and it kept hurting until I had to quit. It turns out, I wore the cartilage down to nothing, so it was bone on bone.”
ME: “What are some of the things you missed while you were in recovery? Was there anything in particular you wished you were here to see?”
Mr. D: “I missed my students and colleagues. I filled my days tracking students. I wish I could have seen the parents at parent teacher conferences rather than just emailing them.”
ME: “How will the surgery impact your life?”
Mr. D: “I can’t run anymore. All I can do is lift weights and walk. And even with weights I can’t lift more than 10 lbs.”
ME: “What made you decide the operation was the best option?”
Mr. D: “My wife. She was tired of me gimping and limping around so she suggested I get it done. She found the doctor and everything. She even took off 3 weeks to help take care of me.”
ME: “What was it like at home after the surgery?”
Mr. D: “Lots of people helped me at home. My wife of course, she even shoveled snow. My Dad came to see me, which was great; I haven’t seen him in years. Also the folks in the science department came to visit me and brought me food. They were great.”
ME: “Your substitute, Dr. Lurie, was teaching your classes for quite some time in your absence, do you think he did a good job running your classroom?”
Mr. D: “I do. He’s a trained professional and I think he followed my directions well. I want to thank the science teachers, Mrs. Nansen, Mr. Cunningham, and Mrs. Dorman for helping him when he needed it and looking out for my kids.”
ME: “Did you receive a lot of support from the students while you were gone? What kind of welcome did you come back to?”
Mr. D: “I got a lot of emails from them. They were happy to see me.”