Warriors of Jupiter: Michael Deleonardo

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Kaysa Flemk-Joli

Mr. Michael Deleonardo gives a lecture in his AICE Global Perspectives class.

Michael Deleonardo, a teacher at Jupiter High and a man of many talents, is admired by faculty, staff and students for his positive perspective on life and his love for JHS. 

In college, Deleonardo found his passion for teaching after enrolling in law school, which left him feeling uninspired. After taking a few education courses at the University of Florida, he knew that teaching was what he wanted to do. 

“I took some education classes with a friend, and it just felt like where I was supposed to be,” Deleonardo said. 

After receiving a call in college, he found his way to Jupiter. He then moved to Jupiter with his wife, Tammy, a fellow JHS educator, where he was able to get to know the JHS faculty and staff. 

“After college, my wife and I moved to Jupiter…There was a hiring freeze, so I lived off my artwork for a few years. When my wife had a career change and landed at Jupiter High, I got to know a lot of the staff,’’ Deleonardo said. 

Deleonardo has been at JHS for over two decades and has held multiple positions, including athletic director, debate coach and flag football coach. Now, he oversees the Student Government Association and teaches AICE Global Perspectives and Classical Studies. 

“This is my twenty-sixth year,” Deleonardo said. 

Deleonardo discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected SGA’s usual way of organizing events and activities for the school. 

“It’s very different. Many of the things that SGA is organized around-event planning, basically-are not able to happen due to the new protocols. I feel like last year they were able to really develop the school spirit through a lot of these events and activities.” Deleonardo said. “The challenge this year is to maintain at least a flicker of that spirit through these challenges, so when things go back to ‘normal,’ Jupiter High can quickly regain that positive energy.” 

Despite the challenges of an unconventional school year, Deleonardo’s favorite part of the job is his ability to watch someone learn and grow, making him want to come back every day and do what he loves. 

“There are few things better than watching someone learn and grow. Watching a scared freshman become a confident debater, or a girl who never played football become a real player who understands the game without thinking, or seeing a kid write a 2000-word paper they thought was beyond their abilities, or watching an SGA student grow into the responsibility that you’ve put on them. All of these things have me coming back every day,” Deleonardo said. 

When Deleonardo has free time, which is rare, he likes playing guitar, boating, hiking, traveling, reading and seeing friends. 

“[I] play guitar poorly…I like to read, but don’t do it as much as I want to. I have a lot of really great, positive, funny friends that I try to see as often as I can,” Deleonardo said. 

Debi Depasquale, an English teacher at JHS, has known Deleonardo for years and admires his upbeat attitude both in and out of school. 

I can honestly say I have never seen Coach De in a ‘bad mood.’ He always finds a way to make a dull situation fun,” Depasquale said. 

Kierstyn Fisher, a student in SGA, enjoys Deleonardo’s leadership class, describing it as one of the highlights of her day.  

“With Coach De, it is every day that something memorable happens,” Fisher said. “I think I speak for many when I say that Coach De brightens the day even when it was gloomy to begin.” 

Fisher mentioned that a class with Deleonardo was never boring. In his AICE Global Perspectives class, she was hooked on the discussion upon walking into the room. 

“I have visited a few of his other classes, and he was talking about something I have never heard of before, and yet I was hooked onto the discussion…There’s an aspect to it where his way of teaching feels like getting really good advice or having a meaningful conversation with someone,” Fisher said. 

Fisher also mentioned how students can count on Deleonardo for appreciating them and for wanting them to succeed. 

“While he does have a more relaxed approach to some things, you can always count on him,” Fisher said. “[He’s] like a school dad to students, in the way that a parent cares for their child and wants them to succeed. Coach De genuinely cares about his students and wants to see them do well,” Fisher said.