New History Teacher Julson Etienne is a “Huge Win for Malden High School”

Gustavo Pereira Batista also contributed to the article.

After the departure of social science teacher Witchie Exilhomme, Julson Etienne stepped up to the plate and arrived at Malden High School as the new U.S. History I teacher. 

Originally from Haiti, Etienne has lived in Massachusetts for a little over a decade and over these years has become very familiar with the Malden area even though he is currently a resident of the city of Cambridge. Having this prior fondness for Malden, it is no wonder Etienne ended up applying for the open history position at MHS this previous summer. 

Etienne’s past knowledge about Malden and its community is not the only thing that influenced his decision to apply for this position, though. 

After attaining his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master’s in Education from UMass Boston, Etienne completed a teacher training program where he spent a year student teaching in Boston Public Schools. 

Mr. Etienne posing in his classroom. ALEXIA LIMA

“My first year, doing my internship or my teaching residency I was already in the classroom teaching. So I was already doing all of this good stuff like grading, connecting with parents, building relationships, and preparing lessons,” Etienne explained. 

This experience came in very handy while he worked with preschoolers at Jumpstart over the summertime, and worked as a volunteer teaching newcomers at EDG, Educational Development Group. 

As his love for teaching continued to grow, Etienne taught summer school at MHS this past summer, which played a huge part in convincing Etienne to apply for the history position.

“Mr. Etienne taught summer school for us so that was really exciting. We got to know him a little bit over the summer and we saw some of his strong practices, how thoughtful he was in planning, and how he had built good relationships with students. Those were areas that we always look for when hiring teachers,” Gerard Tannetta, the District’s Director of History, who was on Etienne’s hiring committee, expressed. 

The educators who witnessed Etienne teach summer school were not the only ones who were greatly impressed, Etienne himself explained how impressive and respectful the students he taught over the summer were. 

“The work that I see the kids put in, the way they show respect towards me or other teachers, I was like yes, Malden is the place for me,” Etienne commented on his summer school experience.

Etienne recalls always being drawn to history from an early age, and having an immense passion for it. “My favorite thing about him is that he certainly has a passion for history and I think his eagerness and effort and hard work comes across when you speak to him about anything related to this position,” Kurtis Scheer, MHS’s Teacher Leader of the Social Studies Department, concurred. 

This passion runs deep, and we can see that Etienne shows great effort in getting students to learn more about history and how it affects the world and their lives because history has been an important part of him learning about his own identity and life. 

“History is the only subject that can help you understand the past. I’m a very patriotic person, and I love where I'm from. I love to contribute to the social world. History actually helped me understand who I am, where I came from, and I have that identity that history helped me to do so,” Etienne explained. 

In the little time Etienne has been teaching at MHS, he has been recognized by multiple officials like Christopher Mastrangelo, the principal, as well as Tannetta and Scheer. They all have expressed their excitement for not only hiring Etienne, but for everything he has to offer MHS and its community. “It seems that just a few weeks in, he's a really strong educator for students that are at all levels,” Tannetta shared. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Etienne quotes Nelson Mandela. One of Etienne’s biggest goals this year and for the rest of his career in Malden is to continue inspiring and respecting his students, to truly make them believe in themselves and to offer his support to them whenever they need it. 

Principal Mastrangelo, accompanied by Scheer and Tennatta, all expressed Etienne’s ability to tackle difficult subjects, to spread knowledge about history to students, and overall how much eagerness he contains for this job. “Part of our rationale for hiring Mr. Etienne was based on how much enthusiasm for the position and his willingness to tackle difficult subjects that reflect U.S. history,” Scheer states. 

While Etienne went over various topics, throughout our interview he always made sure to express his love for the kids and their mannerisms. ”Kids that have said, they come by, they say hello to me, they acknowledge that I'm here. They respect me. And of course, I respect them too.” Etienne stated.

As we asked around, his students shared how Etienne likes to encourage collaboration. “We work together a lot, very cooperative and we learn a lot,” one of his students, Ninitha Balamurali added.

Mr. Etienne's Handwritten Welcome Sign. ALEXIA LIMA

Etienne couldn’t be happier with acquiring his position at Malden High, having even disregarded his humble mindset in order to celebrate his accomplishment. “I don’t really take the time to congratulate myself. But those who I work with and family members—they told me they are so proud of me. So that’s when I started to realize like yeah, I should be proud of myself,” Etienne revealed. 

MHS and the greater Malden community could not be luckier to have Etienne join them. As stated best by Scheer, “Having Mr. Etienne onto our staff here is a huge win for Malden High School, for the city of Malden, and for our department.”

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