From classroom to shipyard, Capps still set to teach


By Timothy Leoncio
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(Jacob Balatico | Trojan Times) Science teacher Matthew Capps was in the navy for eight years prior to becoming a high school teacher, a position that he held for nine years.
(Jacob Balatico | Trojan Times) Science teacher Matthew Capps was in the navy for eight years prior to becoming a high school teacher, a position that he held for nine years.

MHS will be feeling the loss of Science teacher Matthew Capps as he comes to the end of his three-year Trojan high school teaching career near the middle of June. Taking a new job at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Capps will continue to teach by training engineers about radiological controls by the time school starts again next year.

“I’m really going to miss the students,” said Capps. “Just meeting different students every year and their personalities and their backgrounds and seeing them grow, I’ll miss that.”

Capps had broken the news to the faculty and his students earlier this year, a little while after he mentioned it on social media. “I found out on Twitter,” said Junior Kiana Caranto, who had Capps as a teacher for two years. “He just said that he really likes his job here, but he wanted to teach at the shipyard.” Fellow Science teacher Tyson Kikugawa stated, “I was a little surprised to be honest. But at the same time, I understand why.”

Finding out about the job opportunity through a conversation at AP student night, Capps felt that he needed to consider his options. “(A parent) worked at the shipyard and he let me know of a position that was open,” said Capps. “They knew that I used to be navy and they knew there were openings over there for teachers so they let me know.”

The opening, in combination with difficulties concerning his children’s schooling, fully convinced Capps to pursue the new job. “I live in Ewa Beach. My daughter was going to end up having to go to school in Ewa (while) my son would have still been here. It would have been kind of nuts going around. That coincided with the time that I was thinking about doing this job, and it just works,” Capps said. “I’ll have more time at this job than I have right now as a teacher.”

The job opening at the shipyard would consist of what Capps had previously done during his time as a member of the US Navy. “So basically the shipyard hires engineers to come in and work on the subs. The engineers know a lot about doing engineering stuff, but what I’m supposed to be teaching them is how not to spread contamination and radiation around the ship because all the ships are nuclear-powered. That was kind of my specialty in the navy. It’s basically just radiation chemistry and stuff,” stated Capps.

Capps will also have to do some adjusting in preparation for his new job. “It’s going to have to change a little bit,” stated Capps. “You don’t have to do a lot of the stuff you have to do in high school. I don’t have to spend as much time trying to make it interesting and stuff like that. I’ll (also) have to change my jokes.”

Although he would no longer be an official MHS staff member, Capps promises to continue to lend his time and efforts to the extracurricular science program, Science Olympiad. Caranto said, “Even though he’s not teaching, he told us that during (the) Science Olympiad season, he’s still going to come to the school to help us build our things and help us study when it gets closer to our main competitions.” Kikugawa added, “It’s pretty exciting that we can still tap into a community member for help. Something like Science Olympiad is very volunteer-driven, so to know that we have someone that will support our program is very encouraging. Because I know, the way he is, he can help bring in more people who might not know about the program. We’re still going to get some of his support, he’s not totally gone.” In addition to advising the Science Olympiad program, Capps will continue to put in appearances during the Trojan football season as a photographer.

In the eyes of the student body and staff, Capps will be missed not only for his contributions in the science department, but also for his unique presence and personality. “It’s fun working with him. He’s very energetic, outgoing, very dynamic,” said Kikugawa. “He is very invested in helping the students. So any time you lose someone like that, it’s always going to be missed.” Caranto said, “He’s someone that you can have a conversation with outside of class time because he’s so much fun in class that you feel like you’re kind of friends. I’m just going to miss him.”

Despite leaving the halls of MHS for the proverbial classrooms of the navy shipyard, Capps will continue to represent and sustain the Trojan spirit in whatever he teaches while remaining a key factor in much of the school’s successes.