Teacher, coach 'dedicated to both'

May 12, 1997


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - Standing in a flood of sunshine, members of the Boonsboro High School girls' softball team listened to words of praise from their coach, Steve Lemonakis.

Then they gave a unified shout, "TEAM!" And practice was over.

"He's an excellent coach," said senior Kim Wines, 17, of Boonsboro. "He's positive, and he's never afraid to admit he's made a mistake."

Lemonakis, 50, coached at Boonsboro High School from 1985 to 1990 and at Smithsburg High School from 1992 to 1994. He left coaching for three years, but in the interior of his heart, the past was not dead. He started coaching again this year.


"I'm doing this for the kids," he said. "I had a lot of things given to me, and I want to give something back."

Wines is one of the students who has another view of coach Lemonakis - he's also the teacher who brings Hawthorne, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Twain to life in advanced placement English.

He's been teaching at Boonsboro since 1983.

"He's dedicated to both," Wines said. "We talk about softball in class, and on the field he says, `Don't forget your homework.'"

In class, Lemonakis raises enthusiasm for Shakespeare with Tom Stoppard's play, "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead."

"It is based on `Hamlet,'" he said. "The kids love it. It's funny, philosophically bewildering, and the dialogue is unbelievable."

He said his favorite teaching tool is "The Scarlet Letter," by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

"You get complex sentences flowing out of the kids," he said.

Lemonakis' lessons are not limited to Boonsboro. Through the InterActive TV program he developed, he teaches students at other county schools.

He also advises the school's Academic Team, which will be taping for the show, "It's Academic," on Sept. 30.

How does he keep up with the procession of activities?

"You just do it," he said. "I got more comfortable with my job. I was able to see more things I could do, and fit them in. There is a tremendous amount of built-in rewards."

At the end of June, one of Lemonakis' dreams will come true.

He was one of 15 people chosen nationwide to attend a six-week seminar, "Nathaniel Hawthorne in Detail and Context," at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The program is funded by the National Endowment to the Humanities.

Lemonakis said he's most proud of the 1993 interview he arranged for his students with Michael Crichton, author of "Jurassic Park."

"I was just lucky," Lemonakis said. "I wrote him a letter and he called me back."

He said he'll never forget how quiet and attentive the students were for almost two hours during that phone interview - all 100 of them.

Lemonakis lives in Smithsburg with his wife, Anita, who teaches at Old Forge Elementary School. They have two children, Stephanie, 20, and James, 18.

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