Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401


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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401


Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401



Sydney Webb
Mr. Ruth teaches his French class how to correctly conjugate reflexive verbs just before field day festivities begin at lunch. “Mr. Ruth has really done a great job keeping us organized,” Junior Class Council Treasurer and band junior Mitch Faloona said. “He makes sure we stay consistent with our weekly meetings and our committees for each event of spirit week.”

There are three types of conversations you might hear echoing down the halls of Building 1 from foreign language teacher Thomas Ruth’s room. The first and second: small talk in slightly jumbled French among his students, and occasional intense rhetoric from the leaders of his political science club. The third: combined debate over the best shade of red, what an enchanted forest actually looks like, and whether Class Council Co-President and communications junior Nik Zimmerman will ever stop talking about Spirit Week.


As the teacher sponsor of the Junior Class Council, Mr. Ruth works year-round alongside Junior Class Co-Presidents and communications juniors Mara Vaknin and Zimmerman, and the rest of the Junior Class council members. Their major responsibilities, as a team, include planning the entirety of 2019’s Enchanted Forest-themed prom, and doing much of the preparatory work to ensure that the Junior Class is ready for Spirit Week.  

“[I am responsible for] holding meetings, doing fundraisers, ordering t-shirts, and getting the kids to delegate responsibility for spirit week,” Mr. Ruth said. “I want to especially compliment my officers because they work really, really hard, and it’s always behind the scenes, and it’s very easy to criticize.”


“Mr. Ruth helps with basically anything and everything that we need,” Zimmerman said. “Specifically, right now we’re selling t-shirts in the morning, so he comes to school early to help us.”


Though Spirit Week is undoubtedly the busiest week of the year for the class councils of each grade, work for the junior council members began far before the bell rang Monday morning. In fact, according to Zimmerman, Mr. Ruth began encouraging coordination of the week’s festivities sometime around September.


“For the planning of Spirit Week, Mr. Ruth helped [the class presidents] assign roles to each member of the council,” Junior Class treasurer and band junior Mitch Faloona said. “This was necessary because it’s all a team effort at this point, and we have to do more than our original positions. Mr. Ruth has definitely expressed the importance of working together.”


Aside from being a part of both the assembly and disassembly of Spirit Week, Mr. Ruth is tasked with the job of doing the same for the 2019 prom. Between selecting the theme, choosing and ordering decorations, and booking food caterers and DJ’s, arranging prom is “a whole other endeavor,” as Faloona put it.


“This year is prom and that’s a challenge for me [and the council-members],” Mr. Ruth said. “There’s a lot of work with contracts, bids, [and] forms, and it’s fun to see it all come together, but it is very hard for me, I will say that.”


From the outside looking in, Mr. Ruth might appear to some as someone who has it all together. However, there is one major obstacle he encounters in everything he does as a class sponsor.


“It’s the organization,” Mr. Ruth said, “because I’m the classic, absent-minded, like, ‘Oh my God—where did I put these papers?’ sort of [person.]”


As a class sponsor, Mr. Ruth’s situation is unique in that rather than acting as the sponsor for a specific grade each year, he chooses to move through the grades with the class that he is sponsoring. In almost 24 years teaching at Dreyfoos, he has sponsored around five classes, and seen them through all four years, freshmen to senior, every single time.


I’ve moved with this class. I like to move with them, that way I get to know them,” Mr. Ruth said. “It’s a rewarding experience for me to take them from freshmen to seniors. Even though it’s not school related, this is really life experience.”


The relationship Mr. Ruth is able to form with the council members that hold an office from their freshman through their junior year is reflected in the respect they each have for him as a sponsor.


“Since freshman year, Mr. Ruth has always been a great sponsor,” Faloona said. “He is so understanding and knows that all of the officers have other commitments and responsibilities in addition to class council. He has been very accommodating to our needs while still giving the right amount of critique when needed.”


In addition to the work he does in school, being a class sponsor demands Mr. Ruth put in hours off the clock at dance meetings for Pep Rally and Generation Day, lunch and after-school meetings, and by just being available to answer general questions.


Mr. Ruth is amazing,” Zimmerman said. “He’s really easygoing and he’s always there—whenever you need him, you can text him or email him anything; it’s a definite yes. He will always be by your side, helping you and guiding you through the process, and just overall being great.”


Though he admits it can be challenging at times, there’s a reason Mr. Ruth returns to school each year as both a teacher and class sponsor who dedicates countless hours to his job.


“[I love] seeing the culmination of the kids wearing the t-shirts, and the dances, and [I] know how hard they work,” Mr. Ruth said. “Some of the kids that just show up, they see the dance— we [the class council members] see every step, so that’s very rewarding.”

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About the Contributor
Maddy Rubin, Managing Editor
Communications senior Maddy Rubin is Print Managing Editor and a third-year staff member of The Muse. Outside of the publication, Rubin is the event coordinator of Dreyfoos’ Spanish Honor Society, a Speech and Debate Team member, and an intern for the School of the Arts Foundation, where she writes stories for Rubin is passionate about journalism and so thankful for all of the experience The Muse has provided her with. She can’t wait for another amazing year working alongside her Muse family to create content for the Dreyfoos community! If you would like to contact this editor, you may reach them at  [email protected]
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    Arnetria ThomasDec 16, 2020 at 10:20 am

    He was my high school French teacher back in ’91-’92; I’m so glad to see he is still teaching what he loves French! Thank you Monsieur Ruth for being so patient with us. I still remembered most of what you taught me.


    Béatrice (AKA Arnetria Thomas)