MONTROSE, CO – Much to the surprise of students and teachers alike, seventy-eight-year-old Frank Ventresco’s face still lights up when he talks about math, a subject he should have stopped caring about ages ago.
Ventresco, or “Mr. V.” as he is known to his students, is a math teacher at Thomas Jefferson High here in Montrose, a job he has held for nearly fifty years. Ever since he began teaching in 1962, Mr. V. has bestowed his knowledge of geometry, algebra, and calculus to countless teenagers who could care less about such things.
“When I first introduce kids to the quadratic formula and see the gears in their head fall apart, it warms my heart,” Mr. V. said. “Seeing the dull, lifeless eyes glaze over when I tell them about derivatives never ceases to amaze me.”
“I don’t understand how he still manages to teach with such energy,” history teacher Susie Mannorek said. “I don’t understand how he still teaches at all. I’ve been burnt out for ten years, and I’ve only been teaching fifteen,” she added after popping some pills she claimed were for her “headaches.”
Students enjoy taking Mr. V.’s class, mainly because “he’s an easy grader,” as one student, Stephanie Johnson, said. “He pretty much gives everyone a B. He really likes that we try,” Stephanie said. Most students are amazed Mr. V. cares so much about math “since, like, we’re never going to use this stuff again,” as Stephanie put it.
“Math is the universal language,” Mr. V. said. “The rules haven’t changed since forever, but we still use it to discover great and wonderful things. Even the triangle, a shape so simple, can be used for so much. And don’t even get me started on circles.”
Despite his age, Mr. V. even stays late after school and hosts the Math Team, an extracurricular group that devotes itself to simply doing problem sets and math exercises. And despite the club’s zero attendance record, Mr. V. is there every week. “I think Christy Huan might join. I told her I’d give her extra credit if she did,” Mr. V. said.
When reached for comment Christy said she’d rather die than be a part of that club, then she mimed sticking her finger down her throat and throwing up.