Mr. Zelmanski looks back on 36 years at Adams


Think about what it would be like to attend Adams 43 years ago. Many students are the sons and/or daughters of Adams alumni, and may have some sort of grasp of what Adams was like then. However, many will agree that Joseph Zelmanski knows better than anyone. In his 35 years of teaching physical education at Adams, he has witnessed more changes than most students, staff, and administration have.

Zelmanski has been working at Adams since 1978, and says that he would not want to teach anywhere else. He had taught at Reuther five years prior to coming to Adams, and used to coach basketball, football and track teams.

“Rochester and Stoney look at us and try to be us,” said Zelmanski. “We don’t look at them, and try to be them. We set the pace and they’re always trying to keep up.”

After 25 years of renovation and innovation, a plethora of changes have been implemented at Adams. What once was a small public high school has been remodeled to include an auxiliary gym and a second level with more hallways and classrooms.

“There was no longer a need to have gym class outside after the aux gym was put in,” said Zelmanski. “And where lockers and classrooms once were, there is now an athletic plaza.”

With these renovations, the gym was allowed a place to itself surrounded by trophies, awards and pictures of students acknowledged for their athletic ability.

“To put how long 35 years is into perspective, Mr. Picot and Mr. Mullins were my students,” said Zelmanski.

Throughout the years Adams seems to have mostly changed for the better. Zelmanski believes, however, that some changes made at this school were for the worse.

“We used to have a ten minute break between second and third hour,” said Zelmanski. “And even late start days! I think that those are what I miss most. My least favorite aspect are the cutbacks that we’ve had in services, because it’s hard to find for instance, custodial services, when you need them.”

Adams High School and Rochester High School are known to have quite a rivalry, and Mr. Zelmanski made a point to clarify some misinformation. Specifically, he wants to resolve the rumor about how we obtained our school colors.

There is an old tale that supposedly began Adams vicious rivalry with Rochester High School. This tale describes that during Adams first face-off with Stoney, the schools supposedly made a bet that if Adams lost, Rochester would be permitted to pick the Adams mascot and school colors. And that’s how Adams “earned” the yellow and brown colors that so many criticize daily. For many, this tale was one of satisfaction. However, Zelmanski knows the truth.

“We are the Highlanders because we are on the highest point of Rochester,” said Zelmanski. “And yellow and brown just so happen to be Scottish colors.”

Adams High School has educated and transformed many by equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in life. It has sent entertainers, athletes, and scholars out into the world to succeed. With the help of its alumni, loyal teachers, present and future students, the legacy of Adams is preserved.

“Have pride in your school,” said Zelmanski. “Enjoy your time here. It’s a good school to be at and a great legacy to be a part of.”