Family, Travel, and a Passion for Health: Mr. Sulages Shares His Story


Ashley Hawkins

“[Health class is] one of the most important classes to link all the different things you hear, especially all the rumors and stuff you hear, from not only the internet, TV, but also maybe even family,” he said.

Bella Buss, Staff Reporter

Mr. Chris Sulages is a sports enthusiast, travel lover, and a family focused man who also just happens to be one of La Salle’s many dedicated teachers. From football player, to coach, to PE and Health teacher, Mr. Sulages takes on the role of educating ninth and tenth graders on the importance of knowing your own mind and body.

Born in Chicago, IL, then moving across the country to Southern California at four years old, Mr. Sulages has always been surrounded by family, sports, and a passion for education.

For Mr. Sulages, childhood is a happy thing to look back on. However, “school was challenging for me,” he said, due to his learning disability. Still, with his parents and two brothers to support him, Mr. Sulages pushed through and is now grateful for the strict expectations surrounding his education set by his parents.

“I probably had two dreams growing up,” he said, and in becoming a teacher, Mr. Sulages achieved one of his dreams he’s had since high school. While he was also considering becoming a fighter pilot or a jet pilot, he eventually decided health education and coaching was the best path for him due to his passion for sports and understanding human bodies, brains, and experiences.

While still in high school, Mr. Sulages participated in his school’s football and wrestling teams, also taking part in track and field during his freshman and sophomore years.

“Football is probably my favorite,” he said. “But wrestling is a close second for sure.”

Mr. Sulages then found himself at Weber State University in Utah, where his passion and participation in sports were able to continue and where he felt lucky to be given the opportunity to continue his football career.

While playing college football, Mr. Sulages began to work on moving towards his teaching and coaching dreams and graduated with a major in English with a minor in PE/Coaching.

Before coming to La Salle, Mr. Sulages went through a long journey of college football coaching. He first took the coaching position at his very own college, then received an opportunity to coach at The University of San Diego. Overall, he finished his college coaching off with a total of 21 seasons.

However, after 21 seasons of college football coaching, Mr. Sulages decided to make a change in his priorities, choosing to stop coaching at the college level because “I was always on the road somewhere,” he said, which caused him to be unable to spend as much time with his family.

After deciding to put family as his main focus, “I actually went back to get my teaching master’s [degree] and my credentials,” he said, starting his new chapter of life in teaching around five years ago.

Initially, while Mr. Sulages was making his way into a teaching position at La Salle, he found himself feeling that the school was a good fit due to both his own religious background and the private school aspect.

“[La Salle] just fit really good to how I was raised,” Mr. Sulages said, as he was brought up Orthodox and found familiarity in Catholic beliefs. Also, having previous experience working briefly in a public school setting, Mr. Sulages said he found that it was “just the private school model I prefer,” he said.

Apart from genuinely enjoying teaching health classes, Mr. Sulages believes in the importance of his subject and applies it to his own life often, as he views it as “one of the most important classes to link all the different things you hear, especially all the rumors you hear, from not only the internet, TV, but also maybe even family,” he said. “So we’ll learn more about how your body, including your brain, mental health, all that stuff works … that’s always been really interesting to me for sure.”

For Mr. Sulages, teaching a subject he enjoys isn’t his only favorite part of being a teacher, as he enjoys seeing his graduated students and hearing about how they’ve grown and changed after La Salle. “[What] probably most teachers enjoy the most is when students graduate and they come back after,” he said. “Seeing anyone that’s been in college somewhere come back to just seeing what they’re doing now, I think that’s a huge impact on teachers.”

Outside of school, Mr. Sulages has maintained his priorities and enjoys doing many activities with his family including supporting his daughter and their shared passion for sports as well as travel. “I would say as a family we like to travel,” he said. “That would be our number one thing.”

Not only does Mr. Sulages enjoy traveling for new experiences, culture, and food, he also incorporates part of his interest in health and, in particular, health disparities among different groups of people when he visits new places. “I talk to people about healthcare and disparities that are in the country, because we hear a lot of stuff on the news,” he said. “So it’s interesting to hear from the people and what they have to say.”

Compared to last year and the years before that, when La Salle and the surrounding world was stuck home in lock down, Mr. Sulages is finally feeling that “all of us teachers and students feel a little bit more stability,” he said. And although Mr. Sulages recognizes his class may not be the same as how it was pre COVID-19, he is happy in the comfort of knowing he and his students are in the same room and format every day once again.