Mike Clay ’07

mike clayMichael Clay is a physical education, English, and reading teacher at Rickover Junior High in Sauk Village, Ill. He’s the athletic director, as well as the technology consultant. He’s the Illinois Elementary School Association representative in addition to being the advisor for Young Eagles, the aviation club, and the computer club. After school, he runs a fitness program and intermural sports. Behind all of that, Michael Clay is a USF grad.

Clay has several fond memories of the University of St. Francis. One of those memories is the first time he met USF football coach Joe Curry, which was a deciding factor for Clay to stay and play football at USF. Curry talked to him and his fellow players like men, and Clay knew that they would be respected as a team and as players. He feels like Curry taught him how to be an adult and look at the bigger picture.

Brotherhood was what Clay liked best about attending USF. He felt like everywhere he goes he meets someone that is connected to the university in some way. St. Francis gave Clay experience that prepared him to handle and interact with people in the real world. Currently teaching in a low income area, Clay feels that his time at USF helps him relate to the people that live there and meet them on their level.

Clay loves working with today’s youth. He was given opportunities as a child, and he wants to pay it forward and give the kids he works with good opportunities in turn. He enjoys that every day of teaching brings something different. Each class is a different experience, and every day he learns something new from his students as they learn from him.

Clay was recently awarded the Chicago Bears/Symetra Heroes in the Classroom award for his work at Rickover helping students get into private high schools and earning scholarships to continue on to college. Clay was shocked, and says he was only doing what the school needed him to do. He is proud to be recognized, and is looking forward to putting the $1,000 reward towards his classroom.