Jack Stone ‘18
It’s 8:15 on a Thursday morning and Lewis Affronti is already wading through the Rapidan River, collecting data on macroinvertebrates alongside his environmental science students. Affronti rejoined the Woodberry community in the fall of 2016, after serving as an intern in the 2013-2014 school year. Affronti quips that, “the fun part is the fact that the current sixth formers were third formers when I [first came here] so it’s been great to see how much they’ve grown up.”
Hailing from a family of educators, Affronti remarks that he was inspired to teach after hearing stories about his grandfather, who taught physics and coached football at Norfolk Academy in the 60s. “I would like to make an impact on my students the same way he made an impact on his,” Affronti says. Likewise, Affronti realizes the importance of interaction with students both inside and outside of the classroom, adding that “teaching and coaching students build such strong relationships that last a lifetime.”
Not only does Affronti have a passion for teaching and coaching, but also the great outdoors. If the weather’s good, he’s outside. “The outdoors has shaped who I am as a person,” Affronti affirms.
“Most, if not all, of my hobbies are outdoors, and that has been true for all of my life.” Aside from fishing, playing golf, and swimming in the Rapidan, Affronti enjoys playing the banjo and guitar.
Part of what makes Affronti such a key asset to the Woodberry community is his unique approach to teaching. “I am trying to get my students to understand the relationship between the environment and the organisms that are found there,” he says, emphasizing that it’s not only about “what is there, but also why it’s there.” Almost every period, Affronti takes his class to do fieldwork. “I think that physically touching and seeing, first-hand, [certain concepts] helps my students understand and retain the information,” Affronti says.
Affronti also brings a youthful exuberance to environmental science at Woodberry, taking full advantage of what the 1200-acre campus offers. “He’s helped nourish my interest in the outdoors by incorporating wildlife, hunting, and fishing into the class,” Sixth former Michael Warren says.
Likewise, he’s leaving an impression on his students. Fifth former Lee Dudley says that “I’ll be able to look back on [environmental science] as one of my favorite high school courses—and it’s all because of Mr. Affronti.” Warren shares a similar thought, which seems to speak for many students: “He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had at Woodberry.”