V for Vitagliano

Mr. V is awesome and everyone knows it.

Reese Bennett, Columnist

If you are a student on Horizon Honor’s secondary side, it’s impossible to not know who Mr. Vitagliano, more commonly known as Mr. V, is. He is a well-loved, wise, and utterly sweet teacher who loves working with kids and building relationships past the simple student-teacher level. I think this is one of the traits that makes him so fun to be around and easy to talk to.

Mr. V, even from a young age, has had much experience in jobs and the workforce, which he thinks is “why [he] tries to bring a lot of life experience into what [he does].” As a child in his early teens, Mr. Vitagliano worked multiple jobs in the restaurant business as busboy, dishwasher, etc. As he grew up, he took part in bigger jobs like construction for many years; he then went back to college to earn his master’s degree in teaching. After graduating, he worked in a locked adolescent unit in the psychiatric branch. Situations like this throughout his life have contributed to his passion for psychology, offered as a class in which he currently teaches at Horizon Honors Secondary.

Speaking of Horizon Honors, Mr. V wasn’t always a teacher here. Originally, he was employed at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, working as a teacher as well as in an after-school education program that helped at-risk children who weren’t getting enough help in class. After his program was cut in 2008 due to the recession, he moved to Horizon Honors where there was an open Multimedia teaching spot; his two kids were currently enrolled when he arrived. He has fallen in love ever since. He says, “[he’s] never looked back since then. It’s been a great experience.” He’s taught Multimedia, American History, Global Cultures, and Psychology. It makes sense he’s taught so many classes, since he’s certified to teach in a whopping 7 different branches. His favorite aspect of our school is the community feel. Due to the fact that Horizon Honors is a smaller school, it’s much easier and more comfortable for the students amongst themselves as well as the teachers and students to connect. Mr. V has worked with kids through a large portion of his life, and he has a great fondness for them.

This incredible teacher isn’t only a teacher either. He plays in a band called Dave Vito and the Volunteers, or just The Volunteers. Last year he performed roughly 60 times, and this year he is written down to perform 40. He also has a great passion for WWII, specifically planes like the B-17 bomber, as well as motorcycles and antique cars. He cycles and travels as well. In fact, he used to be a sailor, owning a boat down in Mexico for 20 years. Some of Mr. V’s greatest accomplishments are, in his words, “having [his] two kids, which has been great. Being a teacher too, and being able to touch lives every day.” Through extreme interest and dedication from since he was a teenager, Mr. V has also helped a WWII air force veteran from Arizona, whose name was actually Arizona Harris, become recognized; through the help of Harris’ extended family, he was able to gather enough information for a British museum in London to allow them to spotlight Harris in their section focusing on sacrifice in WWII.

Mr. Vitagliano has lived a colorful and interesting life, and has finally settled down at Horizon Honors as a psychology, American history, and part-slab teacher. He constantly shares his incredible personality with teachers and students alike, and never hesitates to spread his wisdom, positivity, or skill with everyone. Mr. V is surely a treasure that Horizon Honors will remember forever.