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Wade to paint on a fresh canvas as he takes disability

Randy+Wade%2C+left%2C+goofs+around+with+fellow+art+teachers+and+friends+Kymberly+Noone+and+Scott+Carrizzo.+The+three+are+like+a+comedic+trio%2C+practically+inseparable.+
Randy Wade, left, goofs around with fellow art teachers and friends Kymberly Noone and Scott Carrizzo. The three are like a comedic trio, practically inseparable.

Randy Wade, left, goofs around with fellow art teachers and friends Kymberly Noone and Scott Carrizzo. The three are like a comedic trio, practically inseparable.

Contributed photo

Contributed photo

Randy Wade, left, goofs around with fellow art teachers and friends Kymberly Noone and Scott Carrizzo. The three are like a comedic trio, practically inseparable.

Jazzlyn Torres, Staff Writer

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After 20 years of teaching at Danbury High School, art teacher Randy Wade has decided to take disability retirement due to his increase in symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, according to the Mayo Clinic. Wade was diagnosed at age 34 in 2007; although it cannot be cured, medications and surgery may markedly improve symptoms.

In 2012, with a 2-year-old son, and a girl on the way, Wade decided to undergo a brain surgery to alleviate some symptoms. “My decision was based on the fact that I was losing strength and dexterity in my hands,” Wade said.

He has always felt most confident with his drawing skills. However the disease definitely affected his artwork. “The surgery did help because the surgery pretty much cured my tremors. But I now have some difficulty with my dexterity with my hands,” Wade said.

The surgery allowed two pacemakers to run wires from his chest to his skull. Wade explained how this procedure “shut down the part of the brain that is working incorrectly,” thereby relieving the tremors.

However Parkinson’s disease comes with a multitude of symptoms and the surgery targeted only one of them, while others such as muscle rigidity, lack of fine motor skills, slurred or muffled speech intensify.

According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, “Parkinson’s disease is sometimes referred to as a ‘boutique’ disease: It is unique to each person. You cannot predict which symptoms you will get, and when you will get them. There are broad paths of similarity as the disease progresses, but there is no guarantee that what you see is what you’ll get. Some people wind up in wheelchairs; others still run marathons. Some can’t clasp a necklace, while others make necklaces by hand.”

Every three to five years, doctors need to replace Wade’s stimulator units because the battery life is limited. As for other surgeries or treatments Wade says with his wry humor, “I am open for anything that insurance will cover.”

I have been trying to focus on the perks of going on disability and one is to spend more time with my kids.”

— Randy Wade

Difficulty in the mornings was a major reasoning for his decision of the surgery. “It takes a while for my muscles to ‘wake up’ so simple things like getting out of bed or getting dressed takes a significant amount of time. Plus Parkinson’s causes insomnia so I don’t get much sleep at night. So mornings suck.”

This led to Wade’s decision of this year being his last year teaching. “I am resigning my position,” Wade said, “and going on disability leave.”

“I have been trying to focus on the perks of going on disability and one is to spend more time with my kids,” Wade said of Miles, 7, and Ellis, 4. “Especially healthy time.”

Although he kept his decision close to the vest most of the year, many in the Art Department had an idea of this news and soon students were talking about it.

Natalia Valente, a junior student of Wade’s, said, “I feel that it is the best decision for him. Although DHS will miss having him around, I know he will continue to be the inspiring person he is.”

Fellow art teacher and friend of Wade’s, Kymberly Noone, said she is saddened by the decision. “He and I are very open about his illness and his process,’ she said. “I don’t want to see him go. All of my free time is spent with him but I do want to see him better.”

Noone explained the close bond shared between her, Wade and fellow art teacher Scott Carrizzo. The three are often seen together, and they are usually laughing.

“I think that our sense of humor is very similar. I find myself laughing constantly when I am with them. It makes for a great day when you get to spend time with people that make your day better,” Carrizzo said.

The absence of Wade’s genial and self-deprecating personality will leave a void in DHS. Carrizzo describes Wade as a great teacher and he knows that many students feel that way. “I know that future students will be missing out by not having him as a part of their educational experience.”

Contributed photo
A self-portrait by Randy Wade

Senior Abigail Martinez had Wade as a teacher during her freshman year and has been one of his art aides ever since.

“It truly makes me sad that Mr. Wade is resigning. I’ve always wanted to be a highschool teacher ever since I was younger, and Mr. Wade showed me why.

“It’s teachers like him that have the biggest impact on your life after high school,” she continued. “So it sucks to see him resign and not be able to impact other students the way he impacted me.”

Head of the Art Department, Michael Obre, said Wade will indeed be missed in the classroom.

“The way he teaches is very approachable,” Obre said. “He is very low key and one of the funniest people. He uses this as a way to connect to students, which is why students love taking his classes.”

Wade is able to do this because of his love for teaching. “The best part about my job are the students, working with people who really want to put the effort forth is really the best thing. I feel I learn as much from the kids as they learn from me.”

Wade’s passion for teaching will travel along with him even after DHS. “I love to teach, so I might do private art lessons in my home. I am also thinking about commissioned artwork. Eventually, I will need a part time job.”

Despite the disease’s effects, Wade, now 44,  is able to maintain his upbeat personality and see life in a positive way. “I just try and take a positive stance on everything,” he said. “It’s not anyone else’s fault I’m sick, there’s no point in being negative over something I can’t control.”

Valente says, “I’ve always found that he can connect with his students. This connection allows students who take his art classes to open up and truly create art for themselves and for him as well. I will miss him dearly.”

 

 

 

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One Response to “Wade to paint on a fresh canvas as he takes disability”

  1. Yerison on June 11th, 2017 9:32 pm

    Mr. Wade was my favorite high school teacher and I had a great time with him and Mrs. Mohs for our gaming class. Thanks to him I can say that my senior year was officially my best year in high school. I hope you have a awesome life and thanks for all the memories you gave all of us.

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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800
Wade to paint on a fresh canvas as he takes disability