By Kara Conley, Current Staff
A phy ed teacher at East has definitely made his “mark” on West Bend.
Mark Purtell is notorious for his oversized signature on student preplans and passes. Students and staff are often astonished—and appalled—by how his signature fills an entire page.
“When I become famous as an adult, my signature will be worth big money for those who have it,” Purtell said.
Purtell does have several adoring fans that value his autograph and believe in its worth.
“I find it hilarious,” said Sharon Gazzola, an East science teacher. “Sometimes I’ll try to sign bigger on the back of the page.”
Still, not all staff members find it a humorous part of their day. “It’s like, ‘Hey everybody, it’s me Mr. Purtell and I am more important and stronger than any of you so I’m going to sign bigger than you!’” said Matt Wanie, a West science teacher. According to Wanie, Purtell would be no match if he were to compete with East science teacher Richard Prost.
“I’d like to see him go up against Mr. Prost. That should get him to sign small again!,” Wanie said.
Just like any famous person, Purtell will always have some haters towards his autograph. However, even his admirers are still mystified about why he signs his name so large. Wendy Wiesjahn, his close phy ed colleague, has some ideas on the matter.
“Maybe he’s thinking he’s hooking a fish with his big signature? Purtell loves to fish,” Wiesjahn said. “Maybe at one time in his life he wanted to be a doctor. We all know we can’t read doctors’ signatures.”
However, further speculation upon the matter seems to have stepped closer to finding the origin of Purtell’s signature. West science teacher Paul DeLain was able to lend a truly crucial piece of information that explains why Purtell autographs so enormously. “All I know is that his great-great-grandfather was John Hancock,” DeLain said.
DeLain’s theory, however, has yet to be confirmed.
When asked why he makes his signature so massive, all Purtell had to say was, “I just like to do it.”
(Photograph by Kara Conley, Current Staff.)