Teacher Feacher: Mr. Troy Varvel


Carlos Jackson, Copy Editor

Going on his eighth year of teaching now, Mr. Varvel is one of six new teachers to join HCCPHS in the 2022-2023 school year. Despite being new, Varvel has quickly made a name for himself amongst the student body.

Being a new teacher means that not many people know who he is beyond his classroom. They don’t know that his tale is an interesting one full of moments that, while they seem small at first glance, made a significant impact on his life.

“I first started writing when I was in high school, 16 or 17,” Varvel said. “I spent a summer going to the movies with a good friend. One day we saw a run of bad movies, and we both said, ‘Hey, we could write something like that,’ and so we both learned how to write a screenplay, and met together at a coffee shop and wrote. That’s when I realized that I really enjoyed this.”

That was just the starting point to his writing career. When he was a freshman at Stephen F. Austin University, he discovered that he could study writing in college.

“I had no idea that world existed until I found the creative writing professors at SFA,” he explained. “They really took me under their wing, and that’s when I realized that writing is something I really want to do.”

His favorite piece he’s ever written was a poem called Complete, because it was featured in “Best New Poets,” in 2020 an anthology book featuring many different poems from emerging writers. Eventually, in graduate school, he ended up teaching freshman composition, a beginner’s writing course.

 “That was when I realized I really enjoyed this,” Varvel said. “I really love to teach writing, read essays, and build relationships.”

He was an adjunct at SFA, which meant that he was teaching by contract. They hired him to teach courses as needed; however, there was no guarantee he’d have a full time job there. 

“I was lucky enough that SFA treats their adjuncts well, and they always try to give them a full course load,” he explained. 

However, he didn’t stay at SFA forever. After spending a year there, he moved on to work in other academic positions, until he eventually made it to our campus.

“You have Mrs. Jennifer Fey to thank for that. We met at a professional development workshop, and when the position opened up, she reached out.” 

The rest is history. He now teaches Humanities, DC English III, and Journalism.

“I don’t like the fact that the hours get long, but at the end of the day it’s worth it,” he said. “Projects can take a long time to plan out, but then I get to watch y’all participate, and bring to life something that was living in my head, that’s really cool.”

He’s enjoyed almost every aspect of teaching, even the downsides.

 “There is that pacing that I can develop that’s not always there in an isolated college classroom. I’m able to adapt and adjust as needed,” Varvel said, “It’s really nice to watch the growth that happens, because I’m able to guide y’all from high school level work to college level work in a very methodical way.”