DENVER — On Monday morning, two Denver wrestling coaches hit the picket lines. Mike Laurita joined his colleagues at Thomas Jefferson High School. Cory Montreuil picketed alongside coworkers at Montbello High School.
However, both coaches took very different paths on Tuesday morning, the second day of the strike.
Laurita decided to cross picket lines and return to work. Montreuil did not.
We first introduced you to Laurita last Friday. He experienced the teacher strike of 1994 and will retire at the end of the this year. He’s been grappling with the decision of whether to strike, knowing if he does, he can’t coach and regionals are this weekend.
“There’s seven athletes I’d like to see get to the state tournament,” Laurita said.
Laurita made the difficult decision on Tuesday to cross picket lines and return to the classroom and to practice.
“I was good with it until I got to the parking lot. I pulled into the parking lot and almost couldn’t get out of the truck. Then, after three or four minutes, I almost walked across the street to see if anyone else was there. This is one of the toughest things I’ve done in my adult life, walking across the picket line,” he said.
Across town, Montbello High School wrestling coach Cory Montreuil is just beginning his career.
“This is my first crop of seniors that stayed for four years, and it was very hard to leave them,” he said.
Montreuil remains on the picket lines, despite knowing it could come at the expense of his team during the biggest tournament so far this year.
“Saturday will be hard. I will be there. I was told by the district I can’t show up in a coaching capacity, but you better believe I’ll be there,” he said.
Both men are making completely different decisions, but both are doing what they believe is best for their kids.
“I wanted to lead by example. I didn’t want to have a ‘what if’ kind of situation,” Montreuil said.
“I feel horrible for crossing, but I have a reason to be here,” Laurita said.
DPS says more than 2,000 teachers are choosing to work. However, it’s unclear how many of those teachers are members of the union.