New counselor hopes to lift students

Dr. Spero Tshontikidis has been hired to do some heavy lifting in the school’s guidance department as well as coach of  a recently revived extracurricular sport.

Tshontikidis returned to West Shore this summer after working in the Washington D.C. public schools district, Eau Gallie High School, and most recently, as a counselor to injured veterans of the war in Afghanistan, as well being a veteran himself.

“I was given the opportunity to work with veterans that were severely injured, trying to transition into the college setting,” Spero said. “I’ve worked with guys with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Personal connections with both Principal Rick Fleming and recently retired guidance counselor Chuck Keener, as well as previously coaching competitive lifting at West Shore,  helped Tshontikidis land the job.

“When I knew I was going to be coming back home, I contacted Mr. Fleming, and here we are,” he said.

Tshontikidis said discipline and hard work are the main factors of success in lifting.

“The bottom line with power lifting is it requires long-term discipline and its hard to stick with, ” he said. “It’s not like soccer where it’s seasonal, so you need people to be willing to make that sacrifice, we compete about six times a year.”

Senior Moriah Douglas was on Tshontikidis’ competitive lifting team in seventh grade and has continued with it.

“Those are the success stories,” Tshontikidis said. “I’d like to start with the younger kids, and teach them before they learn bad habits.”

By Scarlett Callahan and Danny Dolnik, Roar staff