Meet Sr. Cline: Spanish & French Teacher

Image shows Sr. Cline. Image credit: Helena Sofinski ('27)

By Contributing Writers Quinn Pfister (’27) & Helena Sofinski (’27)

Hank Cline is an established Spanish teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, who also teaches French in his free time. He has a degree in high school education as well as the ability to be an assistant principal. Cline received his 4 year degree at SUNY Potsdam and his master’s in education along with his his CAS (administrators certification) at LeMoyne College. 

Cline says he became a Spanish teacher because he was inspired by a Spanish teacher he had in high school. He also took French in high school to expand his knowledge of language. Cline says, “When I took Spanish, it was even more fun because I already learned all the basics in French.” 

Cline recalls, “In 11th grade, I said I want to become a French and Spanish teacher.” At this age, he was living with his parents on the farm he grew up on. Around his junior year, his father asked him if was interested in taking over the farm when he got older. This idea didn’t appeal to him as much as teaching and learning more about languages. Cline said that his language classes were so much fun for him that it didn’t feel like work. Cline knew he wanted to teach high school aged kids from the beginning of his teaching journey. Prior to coming to Jamesville-DeWitt High School, he committed to teaching for 4 months at Tully Middle School before transferring to Tully High School, where he stayed for 9 years. 

Cline says that he chose Spanish because of his love for Spanish culture. He grew up on the border of Canada where “Latino culture was far and few.” He is really interested in the music and food specifically. He states, “It’s an opportunity to see the world,” in regards to learning languages. Cline’s base in Spanish was Mexican-Spanish so he spent a lot of time in Mexico. He’s visited numerous spanish-speaking countries including Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. When he graduated, he spent a summer in Spain at the University of Salamanca. “People are just people and language is a tool needed to build bonds with people.” 

Cline is thinking of teaching for 2 more years before retirement and hopes to travel after retiring. As well as being a teacher, he’s a general contractor and hopes to do “something” with that. He has found interest in building homes and volunteering for the less fortunate. 

Unlike most teachers who choose to come back and sub at previous places that they’ve taught at, Cline does not plan on returning to J-DHS. Right now he’s on his 31st year of teaching, so by the time he retires, it would mark 33 years! Many have asked if he would like to teach at the college level, but he also turned that down. “This career has been an awesome career for me, but I feel like it’s alright to put something to bed, and look at other areas.” If he considered substituting for a class, he “wouldn’t be able to chase his other passions.” 

Hank Cline is very accomplished in his teaching career as well as outside out it. His retirement holds a whole new host of things to look forward to.

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