Roseville teacher honored for 48 years of service

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 30, 2015

ROSEVILLE — Classic cars are not the only things a Roseville teacher has kept going for decades.


The Roseville Community Schools Board of Education held a presentation honoring Paul Tregembo Sr. for his 48 years as an auto shop teacher during its regular meeting Sept. 21. Tregembo started teaching in the district in 1967 and helped lead the auto shop program to numerous car competitions and awards.


“When Mr. Tregembo started here, Lyndon Baines Johnson was in office,” Superintendent John Kment said.


Assistant Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski said Tregembo was there through high school building moves and auto shop certifications, helping thousands of students with his “passion for teaching.” In 1992, Tregembo’s son, Paul Tregembo Jr., started working in the auto shop program alongside his father.


Tregembo retired from full-time teaching in 2006, but he continued to come in part-time to help in the auto shop until the 2014-15 school year, Blaszkowski added.


Tregembo said he grew up in the Ecorse/River Rouge area, and after going to college at Western Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University, he got a teaching job in Detroit Public Schools in the 1960s.


There, he worked with troubled kids — noting that in his tenure, he took away nine knives from students who tried to take a swing at him — but after getting the windows shot out on his car when going to summer school during the 1967 riots, Tregembo said he moved on to Roseville Public Schools.


Blaszkowski said Tregembo received his share of knocks while at Roseville, injuring his knuckles when a ball joint exploded, burning his fingers on a torch, getting hit in the head and having both knees replaced. The teacher proved to be a good mentor to students regardless of his injuries, inspiring some to go into teaching themselves.


He said that working with his son was one of his great joys at Roseville High School and that they only had one issue between them.


“In spite of what everybody thinks, we’ve had very few, if any, words,” Tregembo said. “We just don’t. There’s only one area you’re going to find friction: He belongs to the International Show Car Association, and I belong to the National Hot Rod Association.”


The two men also run the Drive One auto shop program for students across Macomb County, based out of the Roseville High School auto shop.


Kment said that even though Tregembo technically is retired — for the second time — Kment would not be shocked to see Tregembo back again, adding that he spotted Tregembo bright and early in the auto shop Sept. 16.


Tregembo said his wife, Sue Tregembo, has a plan to deal with that possibility.


“I have a problem called ‘falling out of retirement,’” he said. “Sue has got a plan though, and this time she’s done it. She made reservations — put money down, dollars down — assuming we’re going to go to Hawaii.”


Tregembo joked that she likely would not allow him to bring his auto repair jacket along on their trip.


Trustee Kevin Switanowski said that Tregembo might never have grasped just how many students he and his class helped.


“You don’t recognize or realize the number of students who stuck it out in that high school because of your program,” Switanowski said. “A lot of kids would have left if not for that program you and your son have there; you don’t understand how well you’ve done for the district with that.”


Kment also presented a book on the history of the Roseville High School auto shop that will be available in the high school library and shown in the school’s display case.


“Your name will be recognized in Roseville for a century from now,” Kment said. “There are a lot of people in the audience that can (echo) what I’m saying right now: Thank you, Paul.”