The Parola Paradigm: MHS Welcomes New Athletic Director

Joselle Escobar, Staff Reporter

Although MHS recognizes Troy Parola more as a returning family member than a new staff member, his new role as Athletics Director shows off his strong commitment to MHS while calling for a new paradigm for the school’s athletics program.

“It is a very rewarding and enjoyable position,” said Troy Parola. “I enjoy seeing students succeed in all areas in the classroom and on the athletic field.”

After walking the hallways previously as a P.E. and Driver’s Education teacher and a football, track and wrestling coach, Troy Parola now has a new environment in the school as he looks out the window from the top floor of MHS in the Athletics Office.

Troy Parola couldn’t be any closer to family either as his wife Amanda Parola, assistant principal’s secretary; brother Todd Parola, P.E. teacher and boys baseball coach; daughter Taylor Parola, senior; and younger daughter Madison Parola, sophomore, also spend their days at MHS.

Troy Parola’s two out of three daughters mentioned above have the opportunity to see their own dad at school every day, which he enjoys.

“It’s a positive. They’ve come up here [and] asked me for lunch money. They want to go to Starbucks, and that kind of stuff,” he said. “I enjoy being able to see my daughters and actually all of their friends that are over at our house.”

Taylor Parola admits that there are positives and some negatives to having dad at school, but overall she said she “enjoys having him here more than not having him here.”

Taylor Parola added that she goes up to his office about four times a week.

“He’s scary on the outside, but he’s a teddy bear on the inside,” she said with a big smile on her face.

Besides his daughters, Troy Parola looks forward to seeing their friends grow with them.  “It’s cool to see them in the hallways and give them a high five,” said Troy Parola.

Before this year, Troy Parola was the Lakes Community High School Athletics Director for eleven years.

As Athletic Director, Troy Parola schedules athletic games and events, checks athlete eligibility, represents MHS at IHSA meetings, attends conferences for athletic directors, and performs any other function related to the operation of the Athletics Department.

One of Troy Parola’s favorite aspects to being back at MHS is seeing his former students, such as English Teacher Ernie Billittier, grow up and enter the education profession. He said that Billittier was one of 80 freshmen boys in his gym class on his first day of teaching.

“And now he’s our head boys and girls soccer coach,” said Troy Parola about Billittier. “It’s rewarding to see somebody grow and come back in the profession, especially in the community they grew up in,” said Troy Parola.

Billittier has much admiration and respect for his old teacher, coach and now Athletic Director. Billittier described how his new role still allows Troy Parola to support him just as much as he supported him as a student.

“I’ll tell you what I know,” said Billittier. “He’s very passionate about MHS. His energy, his excitement and his passion for our school is palpable; you can feel it. He’s excited, and that excitement kind of rubs off on everybody.”

Troy Parola explained that his favorite aspect of MHS is the student body.

“Just walking through the hallways, I would say the number one thing [is] the energy– that was in the gym in that [Back-to-School Bash] pep rally, [and] the school spirit, and everyone wearing red– that is the number one thing that jumped out at me.”

Although Troy Parola is the new Athletic Director, he recognizes that the students are a big part of the success of the school and desires to see them grow as athletes, students and contributing adults in the next couple of years.

Reminiscing on the first MHS school Pep Rally in August, Troy Parola said, “Just the pride and the spirit the students show just puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.”