In his first year teaching at Malvern, Mr. Alexander Haynie seems to have already become ingrained into the Malvern community. He is the enthusiastic coach of middle school soccer and also the assistant campus minister. Most recently, he stood in front of the entire Malvern community at the chapel service on Monday, November 11, hopefully the first of many to come.
As both a leader for his students both inside and outside of the classroom, I had the chance to ask Mr. Haynie some questions about his time before Malvern, his major influences, and how he has adjusted to this new community.
McGlinn: How have you adjusted to Malvern in your time that you’ve been here so far? Has anything or anyone been especially helpful along the way?
Haynie: Malvern is an awesome place. The students here are great. The faculty is outstanding. Everyone has been very kind, very welcoming, and respectful of others. The sense of brotherhood and camaraderie is awesome, and I’m really enjoying being a part of it. So many people have helped me to adjust to Malvern that I don’t want to mention some names and leave someone out, but I’m so grateful for the awesome community here.
McGlinn: Can you share anything with the Malvern community about your service trip to Africa?
Haynie: I lived in Kenya after I graduated from college, from Sept 2008 until the end of November in 2008. I worked at a Catholic University there called Strathmore University, which was ranked the 12th best university in Africa. It is a great place, and Strathmore is leading the charge in Kenya in entrepreneurship and business, and it does a great job of incorporating Christian moral principles into the business realm. I helped in the alumni, development, and sports management offices of the school. The people at Strathmore had such beautiful faith, and it really encouraged me in my faith to see people with so few material goods praising God and trusting in the Lord completely, and doing so joyfully. Despite not having much at all, many of the Kenyans with whom I interacted had such a peace of heart and joy for life that I often don’t see back here in the USA. I visited towns that were 45 minutes from the nearest paved road, places that had no running water or electricity, and I hung out with some school children who were fascinated by my hair because they had never seen a white person before. Kenya is a beautiful place and you should visit there if you can!
McGlinn: Who was your role model early in life?
Haynie: I’ve always looked up to a lot of people—a cousin of mine, some older kids in my school who were athletes and good guys, and Jesus, of course, is the perfect role model, and the one whom I try to model my life after. I would have to say my dad has been my role model for my whole life, though, and he’s set such an awesome example for me to follow. His humor and light-hearted nature make everything in life enjoyable, and he always sacrifices and works incredibly hard for our family, and the love that he has shown to my mom, my sisters, and me has made me so grateful to have such an awesome dad. He’s shown me what it means to be a real man—a man of faith, and a man who is passionate about his family and his friends and his work. And he gave me a lacrosse stick when I was two days old and coached me since I was four years old!
McGlinn: How was your team when you played lacrosse for Princeton?
Haynie: I loved being a part of the Princeton Men’s lacrosse team. The guys were awesome, and I remember the first week of school my freshman year of college, I immediately felt welcomed into a new family, a new brotherhood of 48 guys. We played all the traditional rivals of Princeton—Hopkins, Syracuse, Virginia, Cornell, etc, and all of those games were huge deals. We played in Raven’s Stadium in Baltimore twice, in front of 20,000+ fans, and that was a lot of fun. We lost in the playoffs to Georgetown my junior year and Maryland my sophomore year, but we were able to win an Ivy title my sophomore year in 2006.
McGlinn: When did you hear your calling to be a theology teacher?
Haynie: It has been a gradual calling, I’d say. As I mentioned at the chapel service, I had a powerful experience of God on a retreat when I was in high school, but it wasn’t until several years later that I came to understand how I would best be able to share Jesus Christ and His Church with others. At Princeton I took some religion classes, some of which were dubbed “faithbusters 101,” and these classes, which often made students leave their faith, inspired in me a desire to study theology more and “get to the bottom of the situation” in a sense. While studying theology at Notre Dame, I realized that I wanted to continue studying theology for the rest of my life, but that I also wanted to share what I had learned so far with other people. Teaching theology at the high school level seemed like an awesome way to pursue truth with smart kids in a great setting.
McGlinn: What did you do prior to coming to Malvern?
Haynie: I’ve been so blessed to have had the opportunity to work in a lot of different jobs before Malvern. At the end of college and the summer after I graduated from college, I worked in DC for political consultants, US Congressmen, and government contractors, and really enjoyed that work and living in DC. I lived abroad in Kenya and then Germany (working as a market researcher for a pharmaceutical company) during the year after college, and then I’ve taught at two different high schools—one in New Jersey and one outside Philadelphia, as well as going to grad school full time for two years out in Indiana.
McGlinn: Have you heard the rumors about your comparisons to Mr. Andrew DiDomenico? What are your thoughts about this?
Haynie: I haven’t heard much about these comparisons, but Mr. Didom is the man, and I’m happy to be mentioned in the same sentence as him. He’s been my mentor here at Malvern, and I’m grateful for his friendship and his guidance. Quality dude.