By Aleksei Pavloff, Transcript Correspondent
The weather is 24 degrees Fahrenheit in Delaware, Ohio. The sun has yet to rise giving Alexander Pacilio a head start to the day.
His fraternity brothers, friends and family call him “Xander.” He walks out of his room on the first floor of the Phi Delta Theta house at Ohio Wesleyan University. The house neighbors other fraternities in a circle with a large grass island in the middle. The water fountain right outside his room hisses and hums as he places his red protein shaker bottle under the sensor to get water. He coughs.
Xander’s currently in the middle of the lacrosse season and being a teacher’s aid at a local high school in Delaware, Ohio. His teachers and classmates recognize his work ethic and organization both on the field, on the classroom and at home. Some students have difficulties organizing sports with teaching. However, Xander has adapted to the struggle and is the only lacrosse player who is also student teaching on the side.
Xander is not only a senior and lacrosse player, but also a teacher. Well, sometimes. He is student teaching at Delaware Hayes High school. This is a requirement of the education department at OWU. Students, in the spring semester of their senior year, must student-teach and lead classroom lessons six times during the semester, according to Sarah Kaka, an assistant professor of education. They do not have to take any other classes except for a seminar class.
Xander is the only lacrosse player that is in the education program, according to Kaka.
The night before, as he sat at his desk, he said he wants to be a high school social studies teacher. He added that being a teacher was one way to help people, which he enjoys.
He opens the side door of the house which shares a parking lot with Phi Kappa Psi, a closed fraternity house. He’s been warming up his car for five minutes in the bitter cold. He throws his blue lifting bag in the back seat. He turns on the radio. Bon Jovi is quietly playing. He slightly turns it up.
“I only like one song,” he says. “But I love Howard Stern.”
The Howard Stern Show comes on the radio after he plays with the switches on the stirring wheel of his grey 2012 Ford Focus. He drives to Edwards Gym, which is one of the places to workout on campus. Sometimes he’ll lift with the team during the week. The weight room opened up just as Xander parks his car.
He and one person at the front desk are the only people in the room. He walks toward the back where the elliptical machines are and places his bag down on the ground.
Xander takes an initial swig of his red shaker bottle. He gives a face as if he is sucking on two WarHead Extreme Sour Hard Candies. His face puckers. He takes another swig. He puckers again. Now he chugs the rest of the bottle. He releases a sound that would signify he is happy only if it wasn’t for his slightly disgusted look.
He occupies a bench rack by placing his bag on the side of one. The rack is located furthest from the door, in the corner of the room. He rides the only stationary bike for 10 minutes. He is wearing a grey OWU lacrosse sweatshirt and slightly darker grey sweatpants. He looks like he is ready to train with Rocky Balboa. He doesn’t smile. After the bike, Xander takes off his grey sweats. Turns out, he is wearing two more layers underneath.
He has to be at Delaware Hayes High School around 7:30 a.m. The only time he can lift on his own is earlier before school starts at Hayes. Flamm says that teaching takes a certain level of commitment and organization. Before Xander went to lift, he wrote up what he was going to do in the gym.
A group of people begin to enter the weight room. The swim team usually lifts around the same time as he does but they never stay as long, Xander says. They don’t distract him from lifting.
“This is basically the only time I can lift on my own,” Xander says.
He wants to be a teacher and wanted to be ever since he was a junior in high school, he says.
“Xander was inspired by one of his teachers in high school,” Xander’s academic advisor Michael Flamm, a professor of history, says. “He loves working with young people.”
All the people he respected when he was young were teachers. After graduation he says he hopes to be a teacher working in Columbus.
Xander says he likes the area and spent a whole summer in Delaware (Ohio) which is just 30 minutes north of Columbus. Just last night, he was working on a lesson plan for three separate high school classes. The subject is “U.S. studies.” He seems to punish the weights and move around the weight room with a purpose.The night before, while making the lesson plan, PowerPoint wasn’t working on his MacBook, he complains. He continues to lift aggressively. After 45-50 minutes in Edwards, Xander begins to pack and put on his sweat stained lacrosse
clothes. He slowly makes his way up the stairs to the lobby breathing loudly and hard with each
step he makes. Now, he is ready to teach.
Education majors at OWU must do some student teaching before graduation. He says he likes it, so far. He has done it for two weeks at this point. But Xander has more than just student
teaching to worry about. He is also a senior lacrosse member and has played the game for 14 spring seasons in total. Student teaching cuts into lacrosse but only on Wednesdays from 4-5:30
p.m. unless there is a game. Then he is allowed to miss class.
“I like to know what I need to do so (lifting) is quick,” Xander says.
Xander parks his car and walks into the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house. He presses his wallet on the door scanner. As it shows a green light, he clenches the handle and swings the door open while letting out a big heavy sigh. He walks past the latest fraternity composite that shows his name and his picture on the top row. “Secretary” appears under his name and picture. He
walks past it. He’s since been elected president of Phi Delta Theta.
“Xander did everyone’s job and I have no clue how he did it,” Andrew Gouhin said during one Chapter Advisory Board meeting. Gouhin is now the acting president.
Xander slowly opens his bedroom door and turns on the light. He throws his workout bag on the couch at the foot of his bed. He is still the only one out of 30 people, in his house, who is awake. Shaking his protein in his red bottle, Xander walks downstairs to the dining room. He opens the door to reveal a messy, unorganized and cluttered dining hall. He complains about how
people need to take care of the kitchen. He also complains about how those messy people are the reason the kitchen is locked. He usually keeps his food in the kitchen but had to move it last night before the kitchen steward locked it again. His breakfast was stored in a blue Bud Light case with duck tape covering the edges. He put it together to deter his house mates from taking his food while they spent whole night drinking and socializing. He puts on a collared shirt, dress pants and puts on his OWU lacrosse jacket. He is ready for school.
Flamm says Xander is a natural at teaching and helping out others. One of his greatest qualities is his ability to coach and teach, says Flamm.
“We need more people like him.”