The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Coach Panatera, everyone’s favorite sub

Jack Breakey ’24
Mr. Tony Panatera mans the Security Office much of the school day besides his substitute teaching duties.

Whenever a student walks by the Security Office of Mount Carmel, they always see the familiar face of Mr. Tony Panatera, also known as Coach P to many. 

Panatera is a graduate of the Class of 1995 and currently works at the security desk for MC. He also coaches the offensive and defense line for the Sophomore Football Team. However, most students know him as one of the substitute teachers they often find in one of their classes on any given day, and many say he’s their favorite sub to have.

But why do students view Coach Panatera as their favorite substitute teacher?

For any student who is not a member of the football team, they may see Coach Panatera at the Security Office, but most times students interact with him when he substitutes for other absent teachers.

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Many MC students might see having a sub as equaling a free class, but having a sub who interacts with the class is different. One thing that makes Coach Panatera unique in many students’ eyes is his random stories.

“He once mentioned he was in the movie ‘Rudy’,” said junior Andrew Stanislawski.

Yes, Coach Panatera was in that 1993 film as an extra. He and some of his MC teammates were asked to play Joliet Catholic football players at old St. Rita High School. They were in the scene during Rudy’s last high school football practice in the movie.

Teachers interacting with their students is golden for real classroom lessons or just fascinating stories like Coach Panatera.

He also has a presence outside the classroom, especially on the football field. Panatera coaches the sophomore linemen. 

“Coach always was there on and off the field,” said linebacker Liam Burns. “When you needed help, he had your back.”

Many student football players look up to Coach Panatera as this kind of uncle figure to them.

But Coach Panatera also has some competition.

Some underclassmen might argue that someone like Mr. Mulay is their favorite sub. But the majority of upperclassmen will agree that Coach Panatera is a substitute that they would want. Jamari Chaney, a senior, mentioned Mr. Mulay when asked about preferred subs to get when a teacher is out, but he noted, “Every time, I hope it’s Coach P.”

In general, students do need to have that interaction with other faculty. Having experience from others is critical to how minds grow. Hearing stories, opinions, and even histories of others should be necessary at schools.

Coach Panatera is like that.

Yeah, he’s a coach for the JV football team, but he’s also someone many have loved to see around the school and talk to.

There are dozens of faculty members at MC. Most are teachers, and a lot of students don’t get to meet these teachers. An Excel-level student might never really get to meet teachers who teach mostly AP or honors classes. 

But Coach Panatera is the teacher who has an opportunity to meet students. And the reason why he came back summarizes everything.

“The kids are the same as when I went here,” said Coach Panatera, “and I wanted to be a part of giving the experience I got when I was here.”

And when a teacher is out, the majority of students wish to see Mr. Tony Panatera walk in with that jolly smile and great personality.

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About the Contributor
Jack Breakey ’24
Jack Breakey ’24, Staff Writer
John “Jack” Breakey is a Senior at Mount Carmel High School. Jack resides on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park neighborhood. He also attended grammar school in the neighborhood at St. Cajetan School.  Jack is a member of Caravan Broadcasting Network as their Senior Producer and also a member of the MC Model UN club and a Peer Leader. Outside of school, he’s a member of the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. For hobbies, Jack enjoys bike riding, watching movies, playing video games, and researching government. One of Jack’s favorite pastimes is listening to music. He is a large fan of rock and roll, especially Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and the genre of bluegrass. This influence came from his father, Thomas Breakey, Mount Carmel class of 1982, and an active Chicago firefighter. His father has been a large inspiration for Jack, who has become a better man because of his father. Jack's dream job is working in international relations or national security. He researches current world events and conflicts while also being a student of history. Who knows? Jack might become the real Jack Ryan one day.