Meet Thom Vander Klay… That’s Mr. Vander Klay to You


Leslie Delgado

Mr. Vanderklay's history and future.

If you haven’t had the privilege of having Mr. Vander Klay as a teacher, read this. He is my sociology teacher and I have him for first hour. Even though I am not awake at 7:30am, he somehow manages to make his lessons and classes entertaining enough that I never fall asleep in his class, or at least I haven’t yet who knows.
When Mr. Vander Klay was in 7th grade, his siblings were in high school and he thought their friends were ‘so cool.’ “I like the age group, I couldn’t teach middle school or elementary,” he says. He has been teaching for 34 years. He graduated from Wyoming Park in 1982 and started teaching in 1986. For college he went to Hope College and then to Michigan State University for his masters degree. His favorite thing about his job is creating relationships with students and being able to watch them grow. “It’s not a job for me,” he says. Mr. VanderKlay loves teaching. His least favorite thing is having to teach core curriculum lessons. “I really don’t care about it and nobody else does either,” he states.
In five years he says he might possibly be retired and traveling. If not, he’ll still be teaching at Wyoming High School and coaching. Some people come back to be substitutes where they used to teach but he says that he wouldn’t, no stepping back for him. In ten years he plans to definitely be retired, so he’ll be traveling. Mr. Vander Klay loves places that are full of sunshine, palm trees, and beaches. With that being said, his dream vacation is going to the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, or any other “beachy” place. His favorite place is Hawaii, he’s boujee like that, or as previously said basically any place with beaches. He also loves Wyoming. He grew up here and raised his family here and he loves it. His family is made up of his wife, his three children, four grandchildren, and 0 granddogs. He loves dogs, like me. He has a dog named Coco who is a shitzu mix. “Dogs go to heaven, cats don’t,” and those are words to live by. He had two other dogs before in his life, Misha and Eli, but sadly they are both in heaven now.
Some other random facts about him are that his favorite color is blue, specifically royal blue. He likes his steak medium rare and that’s his favorite food. He has seen the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” too many times, so he says that’s his favorite movie, but he says he doesn’t really know if it’s his favorite or he’s just has seen it so many times. When students, players, adults, or people in general don’t try it really annoys him and makes him super mad. His biggest strength he would say is being able to help and understand people, being able to see if they’re selfish or really are in need of help. “I think your biggest strength is also your biggest weakness,” he claims. He says he lets things go too easily sometimes.
Mr. Vander Klay is a teacher, that even after years he still loves and is passionate about his job. If you haven’t had him as a teacher you should definitely try and make sure you have him at least once during your time here at Wyoming High School.