Diving Deeper with Mr. Kommer


Kommer on a recent field trip

Madison D'Aries, Staff Writer

For the past 30 years, students at WHBHS have had the privilege of learning about the world around us from Jok Kommer, the head of the Marine and Environmental science teachers at WHBHS. It seems that every conversation held with him always leads up to random, but interesting facts about the ocean or the trees that inhabit Long Island. There has to be more to life than just trees and fish…right? I wanted to dive deeper in Kommer’s life. I want to know who Jok Kommer really is, and what makes him who he is.

Mr. Kommer credits the people he grew up with, answering the question what made him into the person he is. “Friends, family and the woman who took care of me when I was very young. Her name was Lessi. I would give a lot of credit to my father and my mother. In that order. I had a lot of key friends and was close with their families.”

Mr. Kommer believes that the people you surround yourself with are the ones who can truly impact your happiness. He feels, “We essentially determine our own outlook. I’m lucky enough to have my wife be one of those beautiful people in my life. The people around you and what you do with them. What you give to them and what you get from them.” It’s refreshing to talk to someone with a mind like Kommer’s. He has a genuine understanding for the things that matter most in life, which is something that’s hard to find in this generation.

There are times in everyone’s life when they feel a sense of defeat, with the notion that things can’t or just won’t get better. Throughout his life, Mr. Kommer has dealt with real situations and has had to overcome it. It’s difficult for people to open up about such personal information, but Kommer didn’t hesitate. “There’s a couple of them. Divorce is a real big defeat. Couple of different deaths were defeats, family and friends. When I was seven years old I lost one of my best friends. I guess, other times I basically overbooked myself and wasn’t able to live up to expectations.”

But a bright spot in Mr. Kommer’s life is his wife. The friendly face in the guidance office that we all know and love, belongs to Linda Kommer. It’s no doubt that these two have an undeniable connection. Her calm presence balances his corky, excited attitude for life. Mrs. Kommer beamed when asked about her marriage with Mr. Kommer. “Absolutely wonderful, he is a really great partner. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband. When I’m upset he helps calm me down. He’s great at giving advice; he is so patient with me. He makes me want to learn more about our world.”

Mr. Kommer is constantly inspiring others. Whether it’s inside the marine lab or at home with his wife, he has a genuine love for what he does. He inspires others when he doesn’t even realize it. It’s the little things he does that sets him apart from other teachers. If given the opportunity, every student should take a class with Kommer, you will not regret it.