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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

TOUCH BASE: Former SH baseball athlete helps out as pitching coach and new math teacher

Chloe Kang
Math teacher Dylan Kuhn helps freshman Favio Gonzalez with a cross multiplying worksheet during his fourth period Algebra 1 class on Wednesday, August 30, in Room 23.

This is the seventh in a series of profiles on new, full-time instructors hired at Sunny Hills during or before the fall semester of the 2023-2024 school year. Expect more profiles to be posted soon.

Though new math teacher Dylan Kuhn can list an endless series of questions regarding math or technical issues about baseball, he has one thing he can’t stand to hear.

“I can’t.”

“As a math teacher, something I consistently tell my students is that I don’t want to hear ‘I can’t,’” said Kuhn, who is a Sunny Hills Class of 2008 graduate and returned to his alma mater. “Rather than saying I can’t, it is better to try and figure out how you can solve the problem.”

While playing baseball all four years as a pitcher and outfielder at SH, Kuhn often found himself helping his teammates with difficult math concepts as they saw him as their go-to math tutor. 

“Growing up in high school, math was something that came easy to me so I was always willing and glad to help others who were struggling since I knew how much it meant to them,” said Kuhn, who teaches Algebra Foundations 2 and Algebra 1. “Helping people succeed in something that they don’t think that they’re good at was something that I always liked, and these experiences eventually inspired me into becoming a math teacher.”

After graduating as the SH Class of 2008, he continued his athletic career by attending Cypress College for the next two years as a math major and later transferred to Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee, as he got a baseball scholarship. Within three years, he received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics.

“My time in collegiate athletics was amazing because the bond that you build with your teammates and coaches is like nothing else that I have ever experienced,” said Kuhn, who only played as a pitcher during his college years. “You are with some or all of your teammates from 6 in the morning until sometimes 7 or 8 at night and not to mention the long bus rides as well as road trips that lead to lifelong friendships.”

My time in collegiate athletics was amazing because the bond that you build with your teammates and coaches is like nothing else that I have ever experienced.”

— math teacher Dylan Kuhn

In 2014, he stopped playing the sport and began coaching with current head baseball coach and social science teacher Christopher Vogt at Ayala High School. In addition, he worked as a substitute teacher until he was hired to teach math full time as he got his teaching credential and master’s in education with an emphasis in teaching Mathematics from National University, an online university, the following year.

“He was one of the more intelligent people on the team, and so I was not surprised to see him become a math teacher,” said Vogt, who worked as a Lancer assistant baseball coach in Kuhn’s senior year. “He was always smart when it came to baseball, so it was a no-brainer for me to offer him a job.” 

He moved to Charter Oak High School in 2017, where he also coached baseball and taught all levels of math, from freshmen in Algebra 1 to seniors in Advanced Placement Statistics. 

However, Kuhn said he always wanted to return to his alma mater, so he applied in the spring of 2023 after hearing about the math teacher opening from Vogt and by early June was interviewed and hired.

“I graduated from here, so it’s always been a goal of mine to return, but the timing never really worked out with open positions and me needing a job until now,” the math teacher said. “Also, the opportunity to come back and coach with Mr. Vogt again was definitely a big reason why I wanted to come back.”

Kuhn said his decision was also largely influenced by Principal Craig Weinreich’s presence, as Weinreich was his freshman year baseball coach and senior assistant baseball coach.

“As my brother also went to Sunny Hills, I have known [Weinreich] since I was seven years old and obviously we have gotten closer through baseball,” Kuhn said. “The familiarity and personal connection was a big factor in me deciding to apply.” 

Weinreich said Kuhn’s experience teaching and coaching at other high schools and his status as an alumnus made it a smooth process when deciding to hire him.

“Since he is an alumnus and someone we have known for a while, he understands the culture of Sunny Hills and the way we like to do things really well,” the principal said. “As he is a former student-athlete, it is great that he is able to come back and be a part of helping current student-athletes continue that tradition.”

The familiarity and personal connection was a big factor in me deciding to apply.”

— Kuhn

As a result of the sudden increase in teachers and shortage of classrooms, Kuhn is the only teacher that can be seen using three different classrooms: theater teacher Christian Penuelas’ classroom Room 26 during first and second periods for Algebra Foundations 2, math teacher Ng’s classroom room 85 for third period along with Vogt’s classroom room 23 for fourth and fifth periods to teach Algebra 1.

“Although the fact that I do not have a classroom and have to move around three different classrooms adds some difficulty throughout the day, I am not too upset as the administration has told me they are figuring out ways to get me my own classroom by next year,” Kuhn said. “This being my eighth year teaching, I currently have all my classroom supplies in a spare bedroom at home right now.”

Outside of the classroom, Kuhn enjoys various recreational activities such as playing softball, solving puzzles and playing games.

“Obviously baseball has been a big part of my life but since I am not young and athletic as I used to be, I don’t play that anymore and simply participate in slow-pitch softball as it is as close as I can get to playing baseball,” he said. “Other than that, I enjoy building Legos as well as spending time with my 18-month-old son.”

Freshman Elena Gascon, who is in Kuhn’s fourth period Algebra 1 class, said she enjoys how his teachings revolve around technology, as it provides a familiar learning environment.

“Although he can be strict during his lessons, he is very relaxed and patient when I ask questions to clear up my confusions,” said Gascon, who is in Kuhn’s fourth period Algebra 1 class. “I really like how most of his assignments and tests are online using websites like DeltaMath, instead of paper, because it is more convenient and he knows we are more comfortable with technology.”

He is a really approachable teacher because he opens up to us and I could tell he truly wants us to succeed.”

— sophomore Madden Leasau

In addition, sophomore Madden Leasau, who is also in Kuhn’s fourth period Algebra 1 class, said he appreciates the teacher’s consideration for student athletes.

“He is a really approachable teacher because he opens up to us and I could tell he truly wants us to succeed,” Leasau said. “I think his status as a student-athlete alumnus makes him really understanding, especially when it comes to our busy schedule because of sports.”

With the start of a new school year, Kuhn said he hopes to change students’ perceptions about math positively.

“Since I know math is not going to be every single student of mine’s favorite subject, my goal is to just have them not dread the subject anymore,” Kuhn said. “Similar to how helping others inspired me to become a teacher at first, I want to help the students have that moment of realization that math is not impossible.”

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Aiden Park
Aiden Park, Opinion Editor
Having been the arts & entertainment editor last year, senior Aiden Park is excited to continue his journey in The Accolade as he returns as the co-opinion editor. He hopes to make great memories and contributions to the staff. Outside of The Accolade, Park works part-time and runs in the cross country and track and field team.
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