Get to Know Mr. Keanu Hilaire

Keanu Hilaire joins Northwood as an instructor in the Math Department and will be helping with the robotics program. He will also work as an Assistant Coach for the Boys’ Prep Hockey team.  Keanu grew up in Montreal and attended Kent School for three years. He graduated from Williams College where he double majored in Computer Science and French and was the Captain of the Varsity Men’s Hockey Team.

That was the brief description of new teacher Mr. Keanu Hilaire on Northwood’s home page. The Mirror‘s editor-in-chief Su Hae Jang ’20 tried to get to know him a little better and filed this report.


Mr. Keanu Hilair (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

Tell me a little about yourself. 

I’m from Montreal, Canada. I currently live on Second East on campus.

I teach Pre-Calculus and Robotics at Northwood. Both of these are interesting fields of study for me because I studied Computer Science in college. I see Pre-Calc as the beginning of the harder type of math. A lot of students decide whether they like math or not in this course, so I think it’s a really important class to teach. But it’s also a lot of fun because math gets more interesting in Pre-Calc.

Northwood is a familiar environment for me. As a high schooler, I went to a prep school in Connecticut called Kent School. My college was also a very small college with only about 2,200 students. I love tight-knit communities because I feel like what I do matters. After graduation, a lot of my friends went to work for big companies, but I think that those places can sometimes make you feel like a small fish in a big pond. In a place like Northwood, I see the direct impact of what I’m doing. I think that’s important.

How did you first learn about Northwood? Why did you decide to come here?

Every time I drove down to school from Montreal, I saw the sign for Lake Placid. I visited Lake Placid a couple of times because it’s a beautiful and historic place. I was a hockey player in college, so I learned about Northwood from a couple of my friends who had played hockey here. I also had some alumni connections with the school from my college.

When you first got here, what was your first impression of Northwood? Has it changed?

During my orientation, which was before students got to campus, I thought Northwood as a nice, little, quiet, secluded place. Now I know that Northwood is actually a vibrant and exciting place. Everybody is here, and our whole community is together.

How is Northwood similar or different from the schools you attended?

Northwood is a little bit more secluded than schools in big cities, and we have the beautiful outdoors. We can see the stars at night. These aspects of a small community were similar in other places I’ve been to.

However, Northwood is also a little bit different from my elementary school and where I went to for my first four years of high school. I was in Montreal, which is more of a big city with lots of people. Cities have their own type of energy, but sometimes living in one can be a little overwhelming.

How do you expect to expand your hockey career here at Northwood? Are there any differences between being a player and being a coach?

It’s difficult being a coach when you’ve played for so long. You miss that rush you feel when you’re playing on the ice. But I think what’s going to push me forward in my hockey career right now is passing on the knowledge and experience to students who want to get further in hockey and have the same passion in the sport as I do.

What was your favorite day at Northwood so far? What challenges have you faced at Northwood so far?

I also liked Mountain Day, but my favorite day was definitely the first day of classes. Orientation kicked off my career at Northwood, but the first day of classes was what told me that I could do well this year.

I think the biggest challenge for me has been managing my time and workload. I need to make sure that I get work back to my students, go to practice on time, and so on. I don’t think you can get ready for everything that gets thrown at you in a place like this. And I think we all face the same challenges in terms of schedule. We all try to be on time, but the management of both time and work has been difficult. But we’re getting there.


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