By: Kendra Williams
Name: John W. Kaluta
Department: Communications Systems, Exploring Technological Concepts
Education: Washington Lee High School, Virginia Tech College
Year started at Blair: 1986
Previous jobs: Teacher in an Arlington high school, worked in a museum shop
Hobbies: Playing music, sailing
Extra Curricular Activities: Stage crew organizer
For many years, Kaluta played guitar in a rock 'n' roll band, an activity that shocked many of his students, he said. Kaluta has always kept the name of his band confidential to prevent Blair students from coming to watch him. However, his efforts were not always successful. "One time, some of my students found out where my band was playing and they snuck in and caused trouble," Kaluta said. Though proud of his abilities, Kaluta treasures his privacy, and to this day refuses to reveal his band's name.
Sailing is another activity that fills much of Kaluta's free time. The boats that he sails are not ordinary sail boats, but replicas of sail boats from the 1700's. Built by many different foundations and organizations, the ships serve as living history museums for all those who see them. Replicas of the original tools and other devices are used by the crew, but costumes of the period are not. "We don't dress up, we just sail the ship," said Kaluta, laughing.
Most of Kaluta's trips have been very pleasant, with only a few minor difficulties. In his journeys in the Great Lakes, off the West Coast of the U.S., around British Columbia, and in the Atlantic Ocean, Kaluta has seen many porpoises and other marine animals. Kaluta and his crewmates once had the unusual experience of running across another replica ship. "We shot the cannon off at them," he remembered, with a sparkle in his eyes.
In addition to the peaceful journeys, Kaluta has endured some perilous voyages. One time, his ship ran aground, resulting in an eight hour wait for rescue. "It wasn't my fault," said Kaluta, still defending himself long after the accident. He also survived sailing through a gale. "Big waves crashed over the bow," Kaluta recalled with remarkable calmness.
Although Kaluta loves sailing, teaching continues to occupy most of his time. Kaluta plans to retire eventually, but not any time in the near future. "Unless somebody comes around with a pocketful of money for me, I'll probably be sticking around here," joked Kaluta.