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From the classroom to the court, Mr. Marcus Etheridge does it all

Mr. Etheridge (center) pictured with the basketball team he loves to coach.

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Mr. Etheridge (center) pictured with the basketball team he loves to coach.

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TOWAMENCIN- “Seeing how much fun the students are having is my favorite part about North Penn. Seeing the students have a blast and a sense of pride for the school is great. You really don’t feel it as a student, but when you leave you really appreciate more,” said North Penn Special Education Assistant Marcus Etheridge.

Etheridge, a 2002 North Penn grad, went from playing basketball at North Penn, to making his way back around to North Penn as a substitute teacher. This opportunity opened up to an opportunity to be a full time staff member in special education. So he decided to jump on the opportunity and get into the school district that way.

“My job basically as a special education assistant is being a one on one. I’m assigned right now to a kid named Donny. Basically I assist him with his day to day activities in class. I make sure he’s doing his homework, make sure he’s doing his tests, and if he has any questions, I can answer them for him without distracting the teacher,” Etheridge explained.

Being a one on one is easier, Etheridge thinks. It’s not a group of kids that he has to deal with. Etheridge believes working with one student instead of 30 teenagers is much easier and he gets the opportunity to know the student on a much more personal level. Although he enjoys being a one on one, when he graduated college, that is not exactly what his intentions were.

“My degree is actually in communications. A requirement for a special education assistant job is either an associates degree or a bachelor’s degree. However, I love media. Communications had a lot to do with media, sports writing, and news writing, and I liked all of those things. My plan in college was to be a sports writer or broadcaster. I don’t mind being in front of the camera. That was my original plan going into college and I enjoyed all of that, script writing, T.V. broadcasting and other things like that,” said Etheridge.

Basketball was the one thing that made Etheridge to crossover from Communication and media to more of a job in education.

“I always liked basketball my whole life. I loved playing at North Penn, and that’s when I started to build a love for it. Then I played a couple years in college. I never thought I’d end up coaching until a couple years ago I bumped into [North Penn High School Physical Education teacher] Mr. Fergus and he had an open spot to coach with him at Kennet High School. I figured it would keep me in and around the game, so I tried the coaching route. After a couple years I fell in love with it. Basketball was what moved me to more of a school environment. I coach basketball for Christopher Dock, so the hours work perfectly. Being in a school during the day and coaching a team at night, the hours go hand in hand. Coaching is teaching, it’s just basketball instead of math or science,” said Etheridge.

Basketball has been driving Etheridge’s entire life. Right out of North Penn he played basketball at Alvernia University. From there, he made a tough decision to give up basketball and transferred, finishing his degree at Cheyney University, the first Historically Black College University in America.

“The shift from Alvernia to Cheyney was to get away from what I was going through a lot. Going to North Penn, I was the only minority in most of my classes. Then at Alvernia is was about the same thing just with an even smaller amount of people. The culture shock from leaving Alvernia to go to Cheyney was amazing in a good way. It was refreshing to see the comradery of all the students, staff and faculty that all look like me at games and events. To see them all together for something positive, and not for a funeral or something bad, but that we are all achieving a higher education goal. For everyone with that mindset was unbelievably refreshing. To have a professor that looks like me and can relate to me was great,” Etheridge explained.

After the positive culture shock Etheridge experienced at Cheyney University, he was very excited to be a part of the African American Awareness Club (AAAC) at North Penn to be able to bring his incite.

“Being a Cheyney Alumnus was eye-opening for me. When I was at North Penn AAAC was nowhere near where it is now because there were so few African American students in the school then. The numbers have quadrupled since I was here. Being at Cheyney gave me a sense of self-pride. I love who I am and my culture, so when I came here and Dr. Diegue asked me to be a part of it and help out, I jumped at it. There was no way I couldn’t jump on that opportunity, since I have been in shoes of many of the students in the club, being one of the few African Americans at North Penn,” Etheridge added.

Being at Cheyney gave me a sense of self-pride. I love who I am and my culture, so when I came here and Dr. Diegue asked me to be a part of it and help out, I jumped at it.”

— Mr.Marcus Etheridge

Once being a member of the AAAC and now being assistant advisor, Etheridge has seen much change in the club itself and North Penn as a whole. As the diversity of North Penn grows from when Etheridge was a student, he enjoys seeing the growth in the club.

“I like how the AAAC has grown. The size is unbelievable now. They did not have Colors of Pride when I was here. We did not have the numbers to put together a program like that.  To see how much it has grown and to see you guys love doing what you are doing is great to see,” shared Etheridge.

“I feel like I can help students in AAAC feel at ease. I went here and have gone through the same stuff pretty much that they are going through. It’s good, since I’ve already been through high school, to be able to give the kids insite and steer them off paths they could take that may lead them the wrong way. If I can steer them the other way, I’m gonna help do that,” Etheridge said.

It’s good, since I’ve already been through high school, to be able to give the kids insite and steer them off paths they could take that may lead them the wrong way. If I can steer them the other way, I’m gonna help do that.”

— Mr. Marcus Etheridge

Being the AAAC assistant advisor, a one on one special education assistant, and a basketball coach, Etheridge’s life seems to revolve around helping youth. He finds joy in everything he does, but he has one dream for his future.

“I want to grow with my career in coaching. Whether it is here at North Penn, another high school or a University, that’s kind of where I see myself in a couple years. I learned to follow my passion. If I have to leave one situation to do that, then you have to. Sacrifices are made sometimes to get what you want in life. Some people are afraid to chase their dreams, but sometimes you just have to do it. My dream in coaching would be to coach at a University. I want to give a young man an opportunity or the chance to go to college,” Etheridge explained.

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From the classroom to the court, Mr. Marcus Etheridge does it all