“You Can Have Fun While You Learn”: Mr. Mooney’s Legacy at RMHS


Mina Willander ('23)

This spring Mr. Mooney of the math department will retire after 34 years of inspiring RMHS students.

Mae Squeglia ('23), Orbit Contributor

As one walks through the bustling hallways of RMHS, they come to a distant, quiet, almost eerie section of the school: the long balcony that makes a second story corridor that runs the length of the Hawkes Fieldhouse . While this part of the school may not look like there is much going on before the afternoon sports schedule kicks in, the loud, upbeat, exciting classroom at the start of the hallway defies those thoughts. 

34 Years Strong

The lively classroom in the secluded part of the high school belongs to a very well known and liked math teacher, Mr. Mooney. The beloved teacher has been guiding students in math and life lessons for 34 years now at RMHS. Mooney first started teaching in the fall of 1988.  He had interviewed the previous spring and later was followed up with by past department head Mr. Moscariello for a job opening at the high school. 

Mooney states that the thing he likes most about teaching is the kids. “You never know what to expect–different events, different things that can happen from class to class. It keeps me on my toes.” From his advisement of four classes, to being a former softball coach, and other involvement, Mr. Mooney has never once left RMHS in all of his years of teaching because he feels extremely connected to the school. 

Over his years at this school, Mooney feels that it has changed in many ways, but in its core it is very similar to how it was when he first started. “The school has changed much like society has changed–the kids themselves though, the way they are, is the same pretty much.” He believes that although there has been a large change in technology, kids are still kids. “When push comes to shove, they are still 15-18 year old kids who are eager to learn but still be kids at the same time.”

Much To Learn

Mr. Mooney feels that there is much to learn about teaching high schoolers, but he has one point that sticks out to him the most. “In general, kids are good kids, they make mistakes but that is what growing up is all about. If you push them and put in the effort, they are willing to try and to learn.” 

While his title is an educator, he also believes that the students themselves often educate the teachers as well. He firmly believes that while there is much to be serious about, one can also come at teaching with a joyous, exciting attitude. He also strongly believes that high schoolers need to be reminded that they are just “kids”. “Sometimes I feel like we push them to grow up, but I hope to remind them that they can stay kids for now and have fun while learning.”

Mina Willander (’23)

Strong Impact

From Mr. Mooney’s many years of teaching at RMHS, it is not incorrect to state that he will leave a lasting impact on this high school and the students that attend it. He hopes that students will remember math class as a fun but educational experience. 

A senior student of his own, Nicole O’Sullivan, describes the teacher as personable, humorous, and approachable, which are very important qualities of an educator. While Mooney may argue that he has not left a large impact on the school, O’Sullivan disagrees. “Mr. Mooney has left a big impact on me and every student he has had because he has taught us how important it is to have fun and have a good attitude during learning and life in general. He treats us as equals and friends rather than just a student.” 

O’Sullivan also feels that Mooney brings a sort of togetherness feeling towards the class, which Mr. Mooney also agrees with. “I always tell the kids, we are a family in this class, which I do think they feel when they are in the class.” 

That “family” feeling is a very apparent one to anyone who steps foot into his classroom–as I observed firsthand when Mr. Mooney allowed me to sit in on one of his classes. Everyone is talking to each other about their lives, helping one another with a math problem, and Mr. Mooney somehow ties together a story from his college years to trigonometry, all while including a life lesson in there as well. From the start of class to the end, Mr. Mooney engages with the students in a unique way by always including some sort of humorous or exciting aspect to learning to ensure his students stay engaged. Mr. Mooney also reels the students in by being very relatable and helpful to every single one of them in the classroom. 

Looking To The Future

With Mr. Mooney’s retirement after this school year, he has many plans for the future, but his main one for right now is relaxation. “The first year will be all about relaxing, just some time to myself. I’m sad but very ready for some down time.” 

After the teacher’s down time, he plans to maybe volunteer at an animal shelter, tutor students around here or Boston, anything he can do to help the general public. He also hopes to come back to the school a lot, whether that is in the form of substituting, just coming to say “Hi”, or attending sporting events. 

While Mr. Mooney is ready to move onto other things in life, the school will not be the same without his enthusiastic nature. Mr. Mooney finished off with an important message. “You can have fun while you learn, you can have fun while you do anything.”