Biographical Sketch

Santo Carfora

   

                                                          Santo & Jeanne

Spouse/Partner… Jeanne Baxter Carfora

Were you classmates at HHS? No, we met at Culver Stockton College in Canton , Mo. in 1968. We were married in Aug. 1970 and we’ll be celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary this year.

Children: Christina Marie is our oldest daughter. She is a ceramics specialist and is currently taking classes and teaching at Texas Women’s University in Denton , Tx . She will start working on her second masters degree in fine arts this coming fall at the University of Florida in Gainesville , Fla. Our second daughter is Sara Carfora Rodenberg.  She is married and lives with her husband Tom outside of Denver , Colorado . She is an animal lover and is especially fond of her Egyptian Mau cats Simon and Zypher.

Where do you currently live? Jeanne and I live in Janesville , WI . We have been here our entire married life. We raised or children here and enjoy WI and the Midwest .

Name of my Favorite Teacher: My most influential teacher was Ray Rush. He taught American History to me in summer school. That is a story in its own right. I failed the American History regents in the spring by one point. Retaking the course helped open my eyes to good teaching methods and convinced me that I wasn’t any smarter six weeks after the original regents when I scored over 90% the second time I took the exam. But taking the course over convinced me of the value of effective teaching and encouraged me to major in history and pursue a career in teaching. Needless to say I was one point from missing my lifetime passion and career. Go figure.

Favorite Place to meet Friends Outside of School: I believe the Sweet Shop was a favorite hang out especially after Saturday afternoon football games.

Favorite Non-Academic School Club or Activity: I was immersed in athletics. I enjoyed playing football, wrestling, and even tried my hand at Lacrosse.

Occupation/Trade/Profession: I taught high school students for thirty four years. I had my first teaching position at dear ole HHS. Mr. Rush was principal at that time and hired me to teach the course he taught me in summer school. I went on to marry Jeanne in 1970 and moved to WI where I continued my teaching career for the next 33 years. I had the opportunity to be the social studies department chair for 25 years, taught a plethora of social studies courses, and coached wrestling for a number of years. I was touched in a negative way by the homogeneity of the community I lived in so I decided to work on my master’s degree in multicultural education and Afro American Studies. That was a turning point in my teaching career. I went on to teach Black Studies until the mid 1980’s and then worked with student human relations and anti racism groups. I took students to Atlanta to ‘walk in the steps’ of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and have since connected with many local and national organizations that promote social justice.

I retired from the classroom in 2003 to form S & J Consulting, LLC. This is a human relations, anti racism, cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion business. I work with profits, non profits, and schools. Our main focus is to help our clients develop an awareness, sensitivity, and understanding of people who are not like them and then help them develop ‘tools’ to develop proactive relationships. 

Hobbies/Pastimes: I have a passion for racquetball and play two to four times a week. I enjoy working out and staying in touch with a network of friends at the local YMCA. My most recent pastime has been working with horses. I have enjoyed learning how to be safe around four leggeds and how to develop a partnership with them.

One thing that no one knows about me is: I had a wonderful experience about 35 years ago by attending a men’s Christian weekend. It was called a Cursillo. It is translated into a three day walk with Christ. That weekend helped switch my ideas of faith and church. It helped me repackage my motivation for doing church. I realized I had been going out of obligation for most of my life. That weekend experience helped me realize the ‘heart’ story behind faith for me. My focus changed from obligation to wanting to participate in Church activities. As a result I have been a lecturer, confirmation instructor, hospital Eucharistic minister, Eucharistic minister,  RCIA facilitor, retreat facilitor & organizer. I have a sense of joy in my belief system and the utmost respect for all faiths.

Life is good. It was wonderful to have attended HHS. It gave me a great start with super friends & good teachers. I wasn’t much of a lover of school for academic reasons but managed to get through with athletics and coaches encouraging me. I went through the hoops, did what I needed to do to graduate, and never thought I’d spend my career in an academic environment. I can still recall my dad teasing me about spending my life in education when I was the kid who use to run away from school busses.

Finally, if you had to do it all over again, I would…have started school a year later. Being almost a year younger than my peers made social life awkward for me. I always felt a bit behind the curve especially when it came to social activities.