Cherished SHS Substitute Continues to Lighten Students Day


Samantha Roman and Sydney Washburn

With the pandemic and COVID cases on the rise during the winter season, teachers and student absences have been at a notable high throughout the past few months. With many teachers absent, there has been a greater demand for substitute teachers. The legendary substitute at SHS nearly every day is Bob LaRaia. More commonly known to the SHS community as “Mr. L,” LaRaia has been a huge help here as a substitute, as his contributions help keep the school running smoothly. Since October, he has been at SHS almost every day covering classes, monitoring class check-ins, and being a happy and familiar face around the building for students. An experienced SPS substitute, LaRaia has been subbing at SHS for many years. 

This is not Mr. L’s first time in a school setting: In fact, he was a long-time high school science teacher before taking his role as a substitute teacher in Scituate. LaRaia taught for 34 years at Falmouth High School, and in 2007, he began working as a substitute teacher. He bounced around to a few different school districts and age levels, but ultimately felt content when he found Scituate High School. According to LaRaia, Scituate is a welcoming community, and the students are respectful, making the experience even more enjoyable for him. LaRaia commented that “students treat me like a real teacher.”

Unlike many retirees who enjoy spending their days playing golf in Florida, Mr. L loves coming to SHS every day, claiming “it’s like therapy.” LaRaia said he finds it relaxing to be in a familiar setting 

Not only is Mr. L happy to be here, but the SHS community is also happy to have him. His presence brings a smile to many student faces, as his kindness and wise character are extremely admirable attributes that all students appreciate. 

Senior Jane Naylor describes how LaRaia always has a story to tell and provides comforting small talk to improve her school day. She recalled how they once “talked about his cross-country trip to Utah this past summer” and his “favorite free movies to watch on Youtube,” in addition to his advice on deciding which college is best for you. She sees him every day, and he is her “favorite Scituate sub by far.” Naylor explained that LaRaia’s witty sense of humor is emphasized throughout their daily interactions. 

SHS senior Erika Houghton-Steidle reinforces the positive impact that Mr. L provides, adding that he is always smiling around the hall and in class: “He is very attentive and a sweet teacher in class,” she said. According to Houghton-Steidle, walking into a class and seeing Mr. L is always a pleasant surprise–and not just because the teacher is absent. 

It is clear Mr. L is a beloved member of the SHS community, as he creates meaningful bonds with SHS students and is always there to brighten the day. You can always find him in either the library or the cafeteria with his coffee and backpack, ready to make any student smile or to offer some of his worldly advice.