Manwaring: The Biker With Brains

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Manwaring: The Biker With Brains

Steve Manwaring in the mirror of his motorcycle.

Steve Manwaring in the mirror of his motorcycle.

Daria Khajavi

Steve Manwaring in the mirror of his motorcycle.

Daria Khajavi

Daria Khajavi

Steve Manwaring in the mirror of his motorcycle.

Greta Everett, Staff Writer

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Daria Khajavi
Steve Manwaring on his motorcycle.

 

The roaring of an engine fills the quiet morning air as a motorcycle pulls into the Highland parking lot. It’s a 2001 Honda Shadow Saber 1100, to be exact, and Highland’s new science teacher Steve Manwaring is the one riding it. 

The interview was held with Manwaring on September 4th while he did his hair. Yes, he did his hair. Because Manwaring rides his motorcycle to school, he gets a serious case of helmet hair. It may not seem to be anything out of the ordinary, but for Manwaring, it’s a problem worth tending to. 

“The subjects I teach are physics, physics with technology, chemistry and astrology. I teach a lot,” Manwaring said as he ran cold water from the sink through his hair. “This is my tenth year.”

Previously, Manwaring taught at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. He only taught there for one year, however. Seattle didn’t suit him.

“It’s not very family oriented. My family didn’t match Seattle.” Manwaring said. He grabbed a bottle of gel and continued to style his red hair. 

Manwaring is not originally from Salt Lake, but he is a native Utahn. He grew up in American Fork, and even lived in Sugarhouse for a year when he was in kindergarten. 

“My older sister went [to Highland] as a freshman,” Manwaring said. He then grabbed his small plastic comb and added the finishing touches to his hairstyle. 

Manwaring seems to really enjoy Highland and is happy to be back here to teach.

“It’s a lot friendlier and I get a lot more support from the administration,” Manwaring said about Highland. “The principal and the head secretary also ride motorcycles, just different sizes. I’ve never been to a place where the whole administration rides motorcycles.” 

Manwaring’s wife, Jennifer, also had some interesting things to share about her husband.

Daria Khajavi
Steve Manwaring posing on his motorcycle.

“He is always smiling and very happy,” Jennifer said. “He is such a great teacher and kids flock to him…Steve helps them turn their life around or helps them focus on their goals.” 

Manwaring is able to connect with his students so well because he also knows what it’s like to face hardships as a teenager. When he was 16 he was diagnosed with cancer. 

“He is a survivor of a type of leukemia called CML,” Jennifer said. “He had a bone marrow transplant when he was just 17 years old. He had his spleen removed, he spent three months in the hospital.” 

“I was diagnosed on September 15, 1995,” Manwaring said. “I got my wisdom teeth pulled out, and they wouldn’t stop bleeding. We went in for a blood test, and that’s how we found out. I was 16 years old, starting my junior year.”

Manwaring’s battle with cancer was not an easy one, and he had a very low chance of living if he wasn’t treated as soon as possible. Fortunately, there was a cure. 

“If left unchecked,” Manwaring said, “I would have zero chance of survival. Luckily there was a cure for my cancer, and it was a bone marrow transplant. The success rate at the time was about 75 percent.” 

Manwaring’s donor was a middle-aged man living in Danville, Pennsylvania. They never met, but it’s obvious that Manwaring is grateful to this man. If it wasn’t for him, Manwaring may not be here today. 

However, the experience Manwaring had doesn’t dampen his spirits in the slightest. Instead it had given him a new, more positive outlook on life and affects his teaching style. 

“I think my perception on life is a little different than others. For all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t be here, and so I think that perspective on how great life really is, goes into my perspective on education a lot.”

Steve Manwaring is a man who experienced something incredibly dangerous most people never have to deal with at 17 years old. Having cancer has not only made him a more positive, life-affirming person, it has also given him a stronger empathy towards others and a brighter perspective of life itself.