Waubonsie Math to Celebrate Pi Day to Raise Funds for Laurich Scholarship

Matt Laurich (right, in 1984) was Waubonsie Valley’s first math department chair and football coach. (photo credit / WV Yearbook)

AURORA – Waubonsie Valley High School’s math department is once again raising funds for its annual Matt Laurich Scholarship.

The fundraiser involves jars with math teachers’ names on them. The teacher with the most money in their jars will receive a pie in the face on Wednesday, March 20 in the school’s atrium.

The scholarship honors Laurich, who was a teacher, department chair and coach at Waubonsie Valley from 1975 to 2002.

“When you were hired to work under him, he was all about, ‘did you fit into the family?’ He built a math department like no other, and so that’s why, even if you look at the math department, it’s such a close-knit group.”

“I definitely didn’t realize how much I enjoyed going to his class,” said math department chair Molly Owles, who also is a Waubonsie Valley alumnus. “When I hear people talk about him, I think about that in the job as department chair. I think it makes me reflect more on what I’m doing now versus if I wasn’t in this job, and he hadn’t had this job. I wouldn’t have those things to think about.

Laurich was the first head football coach for the Warriors when the school opened in 1975, and Owles said the school remembered him as loving football. “He loved sports in general, but obviously football was his passion, so they talk a lot about that and his coaching, and they talk a lot about his relationships with the kids.”

Math teacher Nick Arens gets a pie in the face on Pi Day in March 2016. (photo credit / WVTV)

“A kid would come off the field,” said Powell, “and they’d be like, “sorry coach I missed him,” and he goes “you gave your best effort and you almost got him. That’s all I’m asking for.” He was all about the effort and that’s how he kept that positive attitude both in the classroom and on the field.

“He just really wanted everybody to be successful, not just athletically but across the board,” said Owles. “We give a lot of awards to kids that do these extravagant things, like above and beyond normal things. We try to give this scholarship to somebody who is basically the kind of kid that Matt would work with.”

“If you were the regular hard-working kid,” said Powell, “and just worked your butt off and came in for help and you were like, ‘I just don’t get it, what’s wrong?’ and you got a ‘C,’ he would praise you for that, as if you had a 4.0. You know you did everything you could with what you had, and that’s why his scholarship is about the regular middle-of-the-road kid who doesn’t get all the accolades.”

“So I hope if students are nominated, that they take it really seriously,”said Owles, “because we take it really seriously.”

Laurich taught at Joliet Catholic, Marmion Academy and Fenwick before coming to Waubonsie in 1975. Laurich passed away in April of 2002.