New face of activities: NU’s Peter Totoonchie |

New face of activities: NU’s Peter Totoonchie

The 2012-2013 school year at Nevada Union High School came with many changes and many new faces. One of these faces was Peter Totoonchie, a freshman English teacher as well as the new activities director at Nevada Union. Being senior class vice president on Executive Council, I have had the opportunity to spend a large amount of time with Mr. Totoonchie and have been able to witness his success in this very time-consuming job. Mr. Totoonchie handles his position with true maturity and grace. He leads with confidence and is an ongoing role of support and encouragement. Seven months into the job, I think it is safe to say he has gone above and beyond the expectations of a new activities director.

Mr. Totoonchie graduated from Nevada Union High School in 2001. He started at California State University, Long Beach, but graduated from Concordia University in Irvine. His first major was pre-med, but it had always been a goal of his to end up in a profession where he could help other people through teaching. As he moved further in his schooling, he found himself particularly drawn to education for youth. He liked the idea that as a teacher, you have the ability to go side by side with someone as he tries to decide who he is going to be in his life.

Though Mr. Totoonchie has taught all over the area, from Saddleback Valley Christian in Southern California to the County Juvenile Hall to Earle Jamieson, he always knew he wanted to come back to Nevada Union High School. The main factor of this decision was based on his own positive experience there as a student.

While interviewing him, I asked what he thought was the most important aspect of being an activities director and what has been his favorite part so far.

“You have to be open to the outcome, open to what students want to do and how they want to do it. It’s really important that you take their input,” he said. “The great part of this job is I have the privilege of overseeing the best students and activities on campus and get to be a part of what the students are doing.”

An activities director serves as the advisor of the Associated Student Body. He is in charge of coordinating all extracurricular activities and related student events as well as all student government organizations. An activities director also helps promote school spirit and a positive school climate.

In the end of our interview, I asked Mr. Totoonchie what he thought he has learned most from this job and from the kids he has met through the process.

“I have learned a lot of structural aspects that have to be in place in order for this job to work — paperwork, permission for different activities, etc. I have learned about past events that have been held and how they’ve been held. Looking into the future, I feel there are a lot of new prospects for this school,” Mr. Totoonchie said. “In terms of the students, I feel I have learned that the potential for what they can do is limitless. Even though I have been in education for 10 years, it is amazing to see how much they can accomplish.”

Megan Johnson, who is a senior at Nevada Union and the ASB president on Executive Council, is the one person out of the whole group who probably spends the most time with Mr. Totoonchie. Megan is in charge of creating the agenda and running all student government meetings as well as overseeing all school spirited events.

“Pete is very professional when he needs to be but also has the ability to connect with all his students. I remember on the Executive Council retreat in January, he wanted to refine the ASB Constitution and went over each job description of every member on council to make sure we all understood what our role was. Though it took hours and was a little tedious, it was something that needed to get done and definitely benefitted the group. I have been on Student Council all four years of high school, and I have never had an activities director that was willing to do something like that,” she said.

Mr. Totoonchie is someone that betters anyone and everything around him. He has really made quite a large impact on the students he has interacted with. I know for me personally he has been a wonderful mentor and guide through this final year in high school. With his constant determination and positive attitude he has brought the Student Government here at Nevada Union to a whole new level of success and for that I know we are all extremely grateful.

Maya Anderman is a senior at Nevada Union High School.

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