Unsung hero: Mark Hassapes

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Samuel Habib

“Unsung Heroes” is a new series of interviews and photos of Concord High School staff members who are underappreciated. They all help the school in their own way, perhaps by cleaning bathrooms, working in the cafeteria or answering phones.
Second in the series is a conversation with school safety officer Mark Hassapes.
Q: “What did you like or dislike about your own high school growing up?”
A: “I had a great time in high school.  What I liked most was that I had a great set of friends. That was really important. And I really liked my teachers.  There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about high school.”
Q: “Have you worked anywhere else?”
A: “Well I’ve worked at the police station, I worked out on the streets of Concord before I came here. And then I worked down in Massachusetts for two different departments before I came here.”
Q: “How long have you worked at Concord High School?”
A: “Six and a half years.”
Q: “How did you get the job?”
A: “Well I had to interview for it. I had to get a resume together.  I had to interview with like seven people: the school principal, assistant principal, deputy police chief.  It was a lot of people! It was a little overwhelming.”
Q: “What does your typical workday look like?”
A: “Every day is very different here. You never know. I’d say most of the time, we deal with drama between other students. The social media is a big piece of what we have to deal with every day–kids texting each other inappropriate messages and threatening each other. There’s a lot of drama between boyfriends and girlfriends. Stuff like that.”
Q: “What do you like about your job?”
A: “I like it because it’s different every day. I like dealing with the kids. It’s nice to be able to solve problems and really get to know the kids.”

“I deal with teachers and the principal and the assistant principals and we try to engage everybody in conversation. We try to be positive. We try to talk to everybody.  And if anybody has any problems, we try to fix the problem.”

Q: “What do you dislike about your job?”
A: “I have to deal with the same kids over and over again. And you don’t always get to fix the problem unfortunately here. It’s the same kids and the same problems all the time.”
Q: “What is the easiest or most fun part of your job?”
A: “Probably just walking around and being able to talk to people.”
Q: “What is the hardest part of your job?”
A: “I would say trying to make changes in some of the kids at the high school level, because a lot of the kids are set in their ways.  Their behaviors are set and your trying to really change somebody and it’s really difficult to try to change a high school student.”
Q. “I deal with teachers and the principal and the assistant principals and we try to engage everybody in conversation. We try to be positive. We try to talk to everybody.  And if anybody has any problems, we try to fix the problem.”
Q: “What is the strangest thing that ever happened during your job here at Concord High School?”
A: “That is tough.  I don’t know that there is one thing.  Every day there is something strange.  Just dealing with different types of kids.”
Q: “What can the students of Concord High do to make your job easier?”
A: “Be nice to each other, respect each other, respect the rules of the school.  Just behave and respect one another and do what they’re supposed to do.”