Silver Chips Online

Whitacre, David

By Bridget Egan, Online Art Editor
December 20, 2005

Name: David Whitacre
Department: Social Studies
Education: Master in Anthropology at Kent University, Master in history at Youngstown University
Previous jobs: state archaeologist, humane investigator, university professor
Hobbies: hiking, canoeing, reading
Year started at MBHS: 2001


Relaxed at his desk, which is covered with books, educational movies and a miniature skeleton, David Whitacre, teacher of Cultural Anthropology and Modern World History, sits sipping his Starbucks drink. What someone cannot tell from just looking at Whitacre is that he a brillant teacher, with a flair for making dull classes interesting.

Whitacre has only taught at Montgomery Blair High School since 2001 and he has had a busy past. After working in various locations all around the world doing anthropological work, including in Mexico, Ohio and England, Whitacre eventually decided to get his teaching degree, in part because his mother was a teacher.

At Blair Whitacre enjoys teaching Cultural Anthropology more than World History because it does not have any curriculum, let alone a rigid one. Whitacre says that he has had an interest in anthropology since he was young because of his brother and enjoys studying Central Americans and the Vikings because of their mythology. Though Whitacre cannot put a label on his teaching style, he incorporates humor into his teaching, which keeps students interested and occupied.

In Cultural Anthropology, Whitacre uses humor and sarcasm to teach his students about seemingly dull subjects. In one class, he attempts to convince students that the Great Ape Project, which plans to achieve equality for all apes, is reasonable. While prisoners are behind bars for a crime, apes have not committed any crime when they are forced behind bars at zoos, say Whitacre. "There are no guilty species in a zoo," he says, catching students attention as he adds that the only crimes apes have committed is being genetically close to humans.

Another aspect of Whitacre that keeps students intrigued is his cynical personality. Just as Alfred Hitchcock is notorious for suspenseful thrillers, Whitacre is notorious for his cynical nature that has students comparing him to FOX's Gregory House. Though Whitacre cannot explain why he developed his overwhelming misanthropic nature, he claims that "it's just who I am." Part of his cynical personality leads him to not celebrate any holidays, instead opting to stay home while others visit relatives and family.

Whitacre says that he occasionally considers going into environmental studies, his other field of interest, because of its universal importance. "It's the most important issue on the table; war, famine -none of that matters if you don't have a planet to live on," Whitacre states simply.

With newspaper clippings of wolves and photographs of wolves taped onto the shelf above his desk, it is no surprise when Whitacre says that his spirit animal is most likely a wolf. "They're very adaptable creatures," Whitacre explains, noting how even though wolves have been shot, gassed and beaten into near-extinction, they still manage to survive.

If Whitacre does go into environmental studies because of his love for animals, Montgomery Blair will lose one of the most unique teachers it has ever had.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/6032