Thursday, November 8, 2012

Retired Green Beret Returns to Mount Michael as Substitute

Jimmy Steier | Editor for “The Mount”

Some students may have noticed a new face at Mount Michael. This is the face of substitute A.P. Calculus and Honors Physics teacher David Wooten, who has a doctorate in Applied Physics. Wooten is the father of senior D.J. Wooten and sophomore Thomas Wooten. Wooten graciously donated his time to help teach the classes normally taught by Abbot Michael Liebl for two weeks while Liebl was visiting Rome. “When Abbot Michael asked me to come and teach, I was more than happy to help,” Wooten said. Wooten, who graduated from Mount Michael in 1987, has an interesting and admirable past.

Wooten came to the Mount in 1984 because he thought an all-boys boarding school sounded like an ideal escape from his four sisters at home. He also saw Mount Michael as an academically challenging school that would cultivate his potential. At Mount Michael, Wooten was taught by Liebl. “Back then, he was just Father Mike to us, but he was also even scarier. He used to tell us that sitting was a privilege, and he even made us stand in class for one whole week when we became a little too rowdy,” Wooten said. “Father Mike was one of my biggest inspirations for getting a graduate degree in physics, however. He fostered my interest in this subject very early on in high school.”

After high school, Wooten attended the United States Air Force Academy. He then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering and a Doctorate in Applied Physics from the Air Force Academy’s Institute of Technology. After earning these degrees, Wooten switched from the Air Force to serve in Army combat forces. Wooten then became a special forces Green Beret. He was named a Green Beret A-Team leader and was stationed in countries such as Panama and Bosnia. After retiring from combat, Wooten settled down and started a family. He now works as an active Army advisor dealing with counter proliferation, which refers to diplomatic, intelligence, and military efforts to combat the production of weapons.

Mount Michael students have benefitted from Wooten’s experience in the fields of physics and calculus and from his familiarity with Mount Michael. “It’s great to have someone familiar with Mount Michael in class. Mr. Wooten teaches us very well while keeping class fun and enjoyable. Some of the stories he has told us from his time at Mount Michael are hilarious,” senior John Thomas Cronin said.
While subbing at the Mount, Wooten has noticed many changes. “When I went to Mount Michael, only three teachers were not monks. We also didn’t have a big computer lab or a baseball field. The room where the computers are now used to be a room filled with typewriters. Typing 101 may have been one of the most useful classes I took at the Mount,” Wooten said.

Wooten also notes that some things have remained the same. “There is still a great college-prep atmosphere at Mount Michael. It’s a very unique school that offers challenging classes and fosters a great moral fiber in its students. Subbing for Abbot Michael at my alma mater has been a great experience,” Wooten said.