IPA students and a handful of teachers recently got a surprise visit from Chris Glaser Jr., a former Navigator and offensive lineman for the New York Jets. “The place is special to me, I still have lifelong friends here. Coach Tommy and my family are close, I think it’s a family here for sure and that’s why I had to come back and check it out,” shared Glaser.
Excitement and laughter spread across campus as Glaser Jr. finally reunited with his teachers after not seeing most of them for 10 years. “I was very happy to hear from Chris, and that he wanted to come back to his middle school to visit all his former teachers. I told Chris that he is a special young man to come back to say hello to all of us,” said Tommy Reyes-Huynh, IPA Physical Education Teacher.
Glaser Jr. knows plays on AND off the field. When asked what his fondest memory of IPA was, he mentioned what many other students do. “I didn’t start playing any sports until 8th grade and I wasn’t very good, but I did a lot of theater here and there were a lot of opportunities here that not a lot of other places have,” shared Glaser Jr.
When we asked who his favorite teacher was, Glaser Jr. quickly answered, “Mr. Andrade. I was a troublemaker in his class, but you know, he gave me a lot of life lessons.” A few of those life lessons were, “Practice makes…improvements,” shared Warren Andrade, IPA Ceramics Teacher. “You don’t get the grade you want, you get the grade you deserve,” Andrade continued.
NFL players are known for their youth outreach, however Glaser Jr.’s connection to IPA made his pep talk with Reyes-Huynh’s PE class more impactful. He encouraged them to try everything from sports to social clubs to expand their interests. “When he was talking to the class, the students were very engaged and all eyes were on him. It was very inspiring,” shared Reyes-Huynh. “Chris never thought he would play in the NFL, but with perseverance and determination he made it, and all of us can too,” Reyes-Huynh continued.
Now standing 6’4” tall, Glaser Jr. is much closer to the stars than he was back in middle school and with the advice he shared with our Navigators, we see them standing taller too.