Updated: Aug 8
It is with pride and joy I present to you the next member of Team Do Good, the mighty Nick Tanis. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Nick here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. His willingness to participate in this feature and to provide feedback is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...
Name: Nicholas Tanis
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
Currently reside: Tampa, Florida
Heritage: American Mutt
Family: I will be married 17 years in June to my amazing wife, Courtney. We have three boys.
Alma Mater: I am a graduate of Christ the King Catholic School, H.B. Plant High School, the University of Central Florida (BS), and the University of South Florida (Masters).
Occupation: School Principal
Activities you organized or participate in related to helping others and uplifting humanity? I realize this is an uncomfortable question to answer because it feels self-promotional, yet it's important to share so to inspire others:
Few occupations lift up others more than being an educator. Upon graduation from college, I began teaching middle school language arts, with the intention that this age group is in most need of guidance and strong male role models. This led to me pursuing a career in school administration. After teaching for five years, I became an assistant principal. Nine years later, I became a school principal. I have worked in both public and private schools and feel rewarded by the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child. I am currently the principal of Christ the King Catholic School.
In addition to helping children, I feel it is important to help others on their faith journey–which in turn–helps me on mine! I am an active member of Christ the King Catholic Church, where I am a lector; I participate in a morning men’s group called the Society of St. Joseph, and I am the Coordinator of Formation for our Salesian Cooperators group.
The Tampa Bless 12
Let me preface this by saying that the term favorite or any superlative really is meant to be understood as a top choice because some people have multiple favorites.
1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.
I enjoy the outdoors and feel God’s presence most in nature. I enjoy hiking, canoeing, and relaxing at the beach. I love doing yard work, mostly because of the immediate sense of gratification with a job completed. I enjoy reading books about a variety of different topics. I also wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t mention that I have an addictive guilty pleasure--playing the mobile game Clash Royale. It is a strategy game, and I think its main strategy is that it quickly steals my time!
2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.
I spent my early childhood in Chicago and my late childhood trying to hang on to the Chicagoan in me before succumbing to being a Floridian. As a result, my two childhood sports icons were Mike Singletary, the middle linebacker for the Monsters of the Midway, and His Airness, Michael Jordan. I am careful not to idolize humans too much, since we are all flawed, and no one likes to see their idols fall from grace. While both men have had their faults (Singletary’s strange pants dropping “motivational” speech while in San Fran as the Head Coach and Jordan’s gambling exploits), I admire them both for their work ethic. They relentlessly studied their craft and made the people around them better through example. Both men also had fun with what they did and let their actions on the field or court speak for them. I try to apply the same ethic to my own work life.
3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.
I have not kept up with movies as much since having children. I look for inspiration from what I read, and I look for entertainment from the movies I watch. I do like The Avengers, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings movies. I am clearly a Sci-fi and Fantasy fan. I like it when the good guys triumph over evil!
4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?
Confession--I am not well-traveled. My travels have mostly taken me to places to visit relatives. My sister lives in Portland, Oregon. Courtney and I traveled there about five summers ago. We spent three days hiking to waterfalls and visiting the coast--with an occasional post-hike craft brew. Portland also has a beautiful Marian Shrine a few minutes outside of the city devoted to Mary under the title of Our Sorrowful Mother. From the clifftop chapel you can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Rainier.
5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.
I do love food, and while most people would love a good steak, I feel inclined to give something outside of the normal answer. If it’s my last meal, it probably means impending tragedy awaits, so I want some comfort food! Give me a thin-crust New York style pie with pepperoni and a Jai Alai to wash it down.
6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.
1. Starting your morning with the daily mass readings. The Catholic faith has a rich history and teachings. If you want to live it, you have to read about it. You start your day this way and see where God intervenes with His grace throughout it!
2. Exercise--a healthy mind and a healthy soul start with a healthy body. Gym, body-weight training, cardio, it doesn’t matter the format just make time for it.
3. St. John Bosco had a good night routine that ended with saying three Hail Mary’s before going to bed, asking for Mary’s prayers and intervention. This is a great way to end the day and teach us humility by asking for help from others.
7) A) Personality trait you highly value? Why? Please explain. B) The personality trait you highly dislike? Why? Please explain.
A. Loyalty--understand that I do not mean obedience. Obedience is a conditioned response, which certainly has its merits. However, when the condition causing the response is removed the obedience stops. Loyalty is an emotional bond between people that allows each to work for the good of the other. Sometimes a loyal friend is disobedient if it means protecting or saving his friend.
B. Ignorance--we live in an age where information flows freely--sometimes too freely to the point where you don’t know what is true or not. Do research, check sources, and read beyond the headline or sound bite. Before making a judgment, spend time getting to know what you are actually defending!
8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.
I feel like we all go through seasons of our lives where some thinkers have more influence than others. Currently, I am most influenced by St. John Bosco. He is the patron saint of the young and the poor. He developed an educational philosophy in Turin, Italy, in the late 1800s called the Preventative System. It bases all principles in an educational institution on Religion, Rapport, and Reason. It is these guiding ideals that I use to frame everything at Christ the King Catholic School. Don Bosco also believed strongly that holiness is achievable through each person finding God in their own vocations, whether that be as a member of a religious order or as a layperson. In pursuing this call to holiness, participating often in the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and devotion to Mary, we can ALL be saints. He followed this pursuit so ardently his motto “Da mihi animas cetera tolle” means “Give me souls, take away the rest.”
9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?
Without a doubt my father, mother, and wife. I was blessed and continue to be blessed to have both of my parents in my life. From them, I learned how to love unconditionally. I also learned that hard work and determination is a path to a better life. Most importantly, I learned this path is paved with maintaining a balanced work and family life. My wife is truly my support system. She manages things at home so that I can do the things I can outside of our home. Courtney also has a strong faith, giving me encouragement and reminders when I need them. We are partners in this journey and that makes all the difference. Without her influence, I would not be doing what I am today.
10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?
This is a tough question! World peace and ridding the world of poverty, hunger, or sickness all seem like good choices, but somehow don’t feel like the right answer? I guess one thing about our current culture that bothers me is social media has made EVERYONE an expert. Whenever there is a news story, journalists include Twitter comments–and not just from experts–to support their claims. It seems they pick the most vitriolic tweets to prove a point. As if I should care about @bucslife’s opinion on how Brady will lead the Bucs next season or @2fit4U’s opinion on foreign policy. Just because you have a Twitter handle it doesn’t mean you are an expert. So if I had to change one thing in the world, it would be that anything you post on Twitter you would have to say directly to the person’s face before posting and you would need to take some type of test to be granted an account.
11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.
I went to Christ the King Catholic School for elementary school. At the time, the Daughters of Mary Help Christians, the Salesian sisters, ran the school. This order was founded by Saint John Bosco. As a result, at a young age, I was taught that serving others is serving God. Although I never knew as a child “what I wanted to be when I grew up” I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to be a police officer, lawyer, or teacher. As a principal, I get to be all of them!
12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?
As of the writing of this in mid-May, with COVID, I am currently working on reimagining what school might look like in the fall. I have been proud of how our faculty and staff have responded to the challenge of Distance Learning, but we have some work to do for the fall, whether or not we have traditional school, Distance Learning, or a hybrid of both. Outside of COVID, as the principal of Christ the King Catholic School, I take responsibility for the formation of our students. That means, just like the Salesian sisters instilled in me, encouraging our students to use their talents to help others. I am always looking for people to speak to our students about authentic ways they live their faith. Our current culture can make defending and displaying our Catholic faith difficult, so the more adults and teens I can get in front of students to show them it can be done, the better. If you are interested in helping our students know the love of Christ, the joy of knowledge, or the spirit of service, contact me at email@example.com.
Editor's note: Tampa's Society of St. Joseph, which Nick mentions his involvement in, is currently doing a fundraiser in which they've been able to organize a match for the group. The goal is to raise at least $40,000, and they will match dollar for dollar up to $20,000 - together providing more than 16,000 to-go meals! Link here: https://donate.feedingtampabay.org/event/society-of-st-josephs/e285065
Thank you so much for your time Nick and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.
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