Humans of WHS: Señor Laliberte


Ava Marini

Señor Laliberte is a loved and well-known teacher in the school after only a short time in its presence.

Mr. Adam Laliberte, more commonly known by his students as “Señor,” takes one of the new teacher spots for the 2021-22 school year at Wilton High School. From the interactive teaching style to bringing in food every Friday, he quickly became one of the favorites this year.

Laliberte grew up in Coventry, Rhode Island, and studied Spanish and secondary education at the University of Rhode Island for his undergraduate years. He then received two Master’s degrees: one from Brown University and the other from Central Connecticut. He lived with his father, mother, and sister.

“My mom was a nurse and my dad was a teacher, so school was obviously something that was always really important,” Laliberte said.

One would think that having a father as a teacher would create a positive environment for Laliberte to explore his passion for teaching and education.

Think again.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, despite the fact that I had a teacher in the house who didn’t want me to be a teacher,” Laliberte said.

His dad didn’t feel that teaching was the right profession for his son, however.

“I don’t know whether he just saw trends in education or whatever, but he would always try to steer me towards something different,” Laliberte said.

While many parents don’t completely agree with their child’s career path, Laliberte’s dad took his disagreement a bit further than other parents.

“When the acceptance letter came from the University of Rhode Island, he didn’t let me have it,” Laliberte said. “He actually took the letter and wrote back saying that I wanted to be in the school of pharmacology.”

Laliberte found out about his supposed career in pharmacology not after his father mailed the letter; not after graduation; not over the summer. On freshman orientation day.

“I sat down with my academic advisor and she told me ‘You need to sign up for these classes because you’re in the school of pharmacology’ and I was like ‘What?’”

Thankfully, he was able to switch to his intended majors: Spanish and secondary education. 

Despite his father’s original disapproval, when asked who has made the biggest impact on his life, Laliberte responded by saying his dad.

“He’s who I would go to; he’s seen it and done it all when it came to being a teacher,” Laliberte said.

Laliberte consults with his dad about his many ideas, giving him different perspectives and showing him more realistic options for those grand plans.

“We think really differently, so that has been helpful. He can always give me the other perspective. He tends to be a pessimist, I’m more of an optimist, so when I get my ‘pie-in-the-sky’ kinds of ideas, he’s able to bring me back down,” Laliberte said.

Before he could consult with his dad about teaching, Laliberte had to decide what he wanted to teach. He has always known that he wanted to be a teacher; he just wasn’t sure of which subject to teach.

Until one day in high school, during Spanish class:

“I was in Spanish class and these older kids came in. My teacher was talking to these kids in Spanish and then he started talking to us. The two kids that came in, they go ‘Oh, nobody ever understands him when he talks in Spanish’ and my teacher looked right at me and says ‘He does.’ After that, it just clicked with me.”

Who would have ever guessed that Spanish class could change your life?

But, Laliberte is glad it did. 

“I love interacting with kids. I love it when kids grasp a concept or when they say ‘I understand it when you explain things.’ Being able to reach a variety of different audiences makes me happy because it makes me feel like I’m doing a good job and I’m connecting with people,” he says when asked what makes him the happiest.

Spending time with kids and making an impact on their lives is an important part of Laliberte’s life, whether it be in the classroom teaching or on the field coaching.

“I’m not happy for myself; I’m happy when other people are happy and being successful,” Laliberte said.

Laliberte has made a huge impact on the WHS community and will continue to be one of the favorites within the school, creating a welcoming environment for students to immerse themselves in the Spanish culture and have fun at the same time.