After high school, John Macdonald looked forward to a future with professional baseball. However, soon after Macdonald graduated from Blair High school in 1980, he altered his aspirations and chose to become a teacher because of his attachment to Blair. "I feel very loyal to Blair High School. I wouldn't want to teach or coach anywhere else. I feel like I have been here since 1978. There really were only two years, 1981 and 1982, where I wasn't here," said Mr. MacDonald.
Upon first glance at math teacher Earl W. Lindsey, the first thing you would not think is not that he teaches geometry, or that he is married with three children. Instead, you would wonder to yourself, "Who is this young man, and how does he juggle teaching math, coaching the Blair JV football team, and spending time with his family all at one time?” The answer to your question would be a simple one: with determination, patience, and a dream of helping to shape America's future.
KISS, Motley Crüe, Bon Jovi, Ratt: all hard rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s that any grungy metalhead would gleefully slam around to. As science teacher Ms. Angelique Bosse proves, petite and down to earth mothers of two can love these bands as well.
Modern World and ESOL teacher Margarita Bohorquez is an easy-going, laid back kind of person. She sits at her desk smiling, decked out in a sweatshirt and jeans. However, she did not always want to be a teacher. "I was after fortune and fame [in college], so law became important, "Bohorquez said, chuckling. When Bohorquez was six, her role model was her grandmother, who was a teacher. From that point on, she knew she wanted to get into a profession where she could help people. However, once she became a lawyer, she realized that she was not achieving her goal to the fullest. "I found I could do more in education,” she said, comparing her ability to help people in the two professions. "In law I was more often mending fences than actually helping people.”
Leslie Backus deals with plants every day as the horticulture teacher at Montgomery Blair High School. Her leisure pursuits include gardening, motorcycling and devouring books. "I read a lot of science fiction and mysteries,” Backus explained. She also enjoys whipping up her own concoctions in the kitchen. "I'm an improvisational cook,” Backus joked. She loves flexible recipes she can tweak to her liking. Backus is also a music lover. She sings in a church choir, and she has been playing piano since she was seven years old. In the past, Backus has sponsored a Dungeons and Dragons club at Blair, but no longer has the schedule to participate in clubs due to the time she now spends with her two children.
Todd Stephens, U.S. History teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, has a smile radiant like the sun, reflecting many pearly white indentures. With a boisterous rolling laugh and a strong positive attitude, Stephens emits a positive aura around him. He is a first year full time teacher at Blair, has found teaching to be an overall rewarding experience from the very beginning of his career. His ultimate goal was
Music teacher Sara Josey is often spotted walking along Broadway corridor, greeting students and faculty and exchanging smiles. Like many other staff members, Josey is a committed teacher, as well as a wife and mother. Her friendly manner and cheerful personality tell a story unknown to many.
Mark Grossman, 28, is excited about his first year of teaching. He was born in Silver Spring, but Grossman grew up in Bexley, Ohio where he attended high school there. He returned to Maryland to attend Goucher College in Baltimore where he majored in European Colonial History and minored in economics. He enjoys gardening, swimming, reading, and playing guitar. However, despite these ordinary hobbies, his life has been nothing of the sort.
In Louis Hoelman's office, the walls are covered with pictures of Montgomery Blair High School's athletes. He coaches three teams at Blair and teaches two physical education classes. Hoelman said he loves teaching gym at Blair, one of the largest and most diverse schools in the county. "I wouldn't want to teach anywhere else," he said.
For most teachers at Montgomery Blair High School, the school day begins at 7:25 in the morning and ends by 3:00 in the afternoon. For teacher Karen Shilling, the amount of time she puts into her student's lives extends far beyond these hours. This is because Shilling is an ESOL (English as a Second Language), a job that requires her to play a large roll in her students' lives. Everyday room 156 is a place where Shilling and her students are continually learning about eachother and the cultures that make each of them unique.
Sporting a trendy brown velour suit and bright red fingernails, Business/Computer Science instructor Bertina Williams sat comfortably in her second floor classroom. Her warm and friendly nature gave one the feeling that this educator was pre-destined to become a teacher.
Suzanne Giacalone's round face looks long like that of a wise woman's. Her head is resting on her hand, Jackie-O style reading glasses sitting on the desk in front of her. The phone rings and Giacalone gets up still speaking and leaves the room briefly, her words trailing off. Upon returning she sighs.
The blue, day-glow of her computer screen reflects off of her face, pouring flashing pools of light into the deep wells of her spectacles. She sits with her hands lightly clasped together in her lap, with her papers and materials packed conservatively away in binders upon her desk. She pauses, turns up her eyes as if in thought, and then speaks. "Kindergarten is wonderful; it is really neat. The teachers treat the job as a profession and they are tremendously well-educated.”
Hopkins, with over twenty years experience as a teacher, feels that he has "never left high school" himself. Though he explains that his own high school years were "dismal," he feels that being a teacher is his own way of rebellion against the institution that brought him down. "I immensely disliked high school, and I think learning should be fun, since it wasn't for me. I want to change the system!", Hopkins said as a smile formed on his face.
On Mar 12, many students, including myself, walked out of class at 1 p.m. in a demonstration against President Bush's planned war in Iraq. Much of the school attended the walkout; several corridors were almost completely emptied. Students "signing in" and picking up brochures full of information about Bush's controversial policy packed the cafeteria, where students planned to rally, to capacity. The first thing I noticed was that signs were everywhere: lifted by arms, taped to wooden poles, draped across the soda machines, and growing out of backpacks. One or two of the signs even read "Go back to class, slackers!"
A guard's whistle blows, and a hundred metal doors simultaneously slam shut. Inside one cell, a prisoner sits on his bunk, wondering if he'll ever see home again. A week ago, he and his other black classmates were arrested near his college when they refused to leave an all-white movie theater. Expecting only a day or two in the local jail, they were put on a bus and sent to prison, to live under the same roof as hardened criminals.
"I dream that I've come upon this secret mist I developed. I spray this mist in the halls and the students breathe it and do 100 percent academically!" says Principal Phillip Gainous, as he leans back in his padded chair. He then looks up at the ceiling, shaking his head while saying, "Boy, if it were that easy!" before letting out a thunderous laugh.
The sophomore class of the Communication Arts Program (CAP) passed two Iraq resolutions Mar 13, during their first session of foreign policy CAP Congress. While both bills called for the United States to use military actions against Iraq, the students ensured that America would not go to war.
Although this is Kevin Shindel's first year at Blair, he is not a novice when it comes to teaching. In the past he has worked with students of all ages, "from kindergarten to college," he says. He taught at the University of Maryland before he came to Montgomery Blair this year.
John W. Kaluta, a tall man with a serious but gentle disposition, has been teaching at Blair for the past 17 years. Focusing on the technological areas of study, he has helped many students master computer skills. However, Kaluta has not been at Blair for his whole career. Previously, he taught high school in Arlington, Virginia and worked in a museum shop. After a decrease in Arlington's enrollment in 1986, Kaluta came to Blair. Although teaching is Kaluta's first choice as a career, his life does not revolve 100 percent around school.
ESOL teacher Katie Honerkamp was wearing a fitted green and white striped skirt and shirt set, brown loafers, and a bubbly smile that rarely left her round face. She flicked her shoulder length dirty blonde hair out of the way of her brown eyes as she talked happily about her traveling and her experiences at Blair.
Eight- year-old MaryAnn Dvorsky stands up in front of her classroom, ready to assign the evening's homework. "Tonight's assignment will be from your workbook, problems one through ten." The bell suddenly rings, signaling the end of the school day. Dvorsky announces, "Class dismissed!" with a clap of her hands and escorts her Barbie dolls out of a makeshift school house in her living room.
Miss Smrek sits at her desk amid the hectic, almost crazed noise fest that is a birthday celebration in the Social Studies office at Blair. She is decked out in jeans, a comfortable looking pink sweatshirt and an easy, enthusiastic smile, a trend pleasingly common among educators today. She looks like a perfect fit for a teacher of psychology, a seemingly casual and hopefully fun subject. And if it isn't fun, she'll make it fun.
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