By Jayne Caron, ‘10, The Lens Section Editor
Mr. Howard Brownstein, cookie monster and basketball coach extraordinaire, has a booming, distinctive voice that can be heard throughout the hallways as he cracks jokes, extols the virtues of mathematics and basketball, and describes the physical similarity between Mrs. Dunn and senior Nick Bender to all who will listen. A cold air tyrant who insists on leaving the windows open in his classroom – forcing innocent juniors in Pre-Calc to shiver in the chill – Mr. Brownstein does have a soft side. Despite having only twenty songs on his iPod (what a new-fangled device!), Mr. Brownstein has a passion for music, particularly ABBA. Nothing can describe the joy of listening to him belt out “You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life, Ooh see that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen.” Brownstein has pipes that would rival those of William Hung and a sense of humor as delicious as Sage’s chocolate chip cookies.
Mrs. Pat Dunn knows how to begin an early Monday morning—with pictures of bunions, deformed golden lily feet, deliciously disgusting fatty foods and hilarious scenes of epic “fails.” Mrs. Dunn’s advisory might not always have the best snacks on Fridays, but we sure know how to make fun of other people. Whether Mrs. Dunn is shouting “hussy” at you from across her handy-dandy laptop, sprinkling you with holy water or merely laughing at some ridiculous comment you just made, you get the sense that there is a fine line, one easily crossed, which keeps you guessing whether she is laughing with you or at you. Yet, Mrs. Dunn is not afraid to make fun of herself too, particularly about her outlandish golf team that gets every Friday off so that she can “professionally develop” as a golfer. Mrs. Dunn does not shy away from any form of sarcastic humor, and is a non-discriminating offender, poking fun at conservatives, liberals and every dim-wit in-between. Just make sure never to fall down, show your bunions, have deformed feet or eat disgustingly fatty foods in front of her or else you might become her next target.
Ms. Jacqueline Gardner has “shockingly intense blue eyes,” according to senior Mackenzie Pickett. Yet, as long as those baby blues aren’t staring at you in anger, you can enjoy Ms. Gardner’s sarcastic sense of humor. Whether she is urging the volleyball team to STARVE their opponents, extolling the virtues of her latest workout program (seriously, an hour of lunges?), or eviscerating the concept of pedagogical development, Ms. Gardner makes you laugh even when you sort of feel like crying.
Mr. Merle Black, a.k.a. “Merle the Pearl,” says what he thinks, exactly as he thinks it, even when he is thinking about his multiple man crushes. Poor junior Kathryn Black, his daughter, constantly has to worry about Patrick McEwan from The Prisoner, Barack Obama, Julius Irving, the David, James Dean (who is “very, VERY bad,” according to Mr. Black), and/or Winston Churchill, coming to swoop her father off of his feet. Mr. Black’s man-crushes rank second only to his deep love of reading. Mr. Black has been know to say, “I am very promiscuous… with books,” and that there are “a very few books that I would take to my grave with me.” Merle the Pearl obsesses over things with passionate enthusiasm, whether it’s certain bodily functions or great works of art that cause him to hyperventilate as he describes his willingness to risk his life just to touch them. When it comes down to it, Mr. Black is, as he would say, “a lover not a fighter;” a teacher who would rather match-make junior Jamie Huelskamp with Michelangelo or tell senior Alyssa Magarian that she bears an uncanny resemblance to the Mona Lisa than issue detentions or angry notes home to parents. And that is why we all love Mr. Black.
Dr. Francisco Borrero is excited about whatever he does. This excitement can extend from environmental grants to Science Olympiad, even if it sometimes places lives in jeopardy. Who can forget Dr. Borrero speeding down Given Road at 60 miles per hour desperately trying to get to the state finals of Science Olympiad last spring? And I am sure that all those riding in the suburban to the junior rafting trip last fall will not soon forget how dangerously close we were to veering off the highway and going off-roading at 75 miles per hour. But, we reached our destination both times safe and sound, and usually early, overloaded with knowledge about Dr. Borrero’s daughter and geology. And for that we thank you, good doctor.
Ms. Deborah Floyd, a.k.a. “Ink Floyd,” as her license plate says, makes any revisions to a horribly written paper seem fun with a dash of her pink pen. Alliteratively dashing off class assignments such as A.P. Pods, Ms. Floyd is hilarious even when she is embarrassing her daughters, freshman Sophie and senior Emma. Ms. Floyd truly lives her mantra, “finish each day and be done with it.” Is it possible to get lost in the woods while attempting to channel transcendentalists? NBD for Ms. Floyd, who relishes all of her opportunities to loaf and yawp with her characteristic zeal. So, Ms. Floyd, write on!
Mr. Peter Fossett (or “P. Fosse” as we APUSH alums affectionately call him), loves snack cakes. No really, he loves snack cakes. And this love for snack cakes makes any unbelievably excruciating test/quiz he gives slightly more bearable, as you’ll occasionally run in to a multiple choice option like “D) bribing the Plains Indians with snack cakes.” Without Mr. Fossett’s off-beat sense of humor, our entire class would not have been able to make it through the year of hard work and tireless commitment P. Fosse requires. Mr. Fossett’s humorous comments on each of his note packets, combined with titles such as, “More of (Yawn! Excuse me!) Fossett’s Glorious (and stimulating – they are keeping me awake even though my body is in desperate need of sleep) Notes,” make you laugh hysterically. That is who Mr. Fossett is, a teacher who makes you laugh simply because you are too tired to have any sense that you should be crying instead.
Mr. Brock Miller enjoys making students (particularly seniors) suffer. Yet, this suffering is not limited to students as Mr. Miller also has been known to say “the good things about babies is that you can knock them over and they can’t do anything about it!” Despite this twistedness in his thinking, Mr. Miller is a man of simple pleasures, content with making whirligig, watching the Labor Day fireworks on television every year, and forming theories about why his “stealth car” never gets caught speeding while bright red cars always do. Mr. Miller is simple yet admittedly paranoid–convinced that Mr. Dahl is a druid who constructs Stonehenge out of board markers and equally convinced about the existence of GIFMAC (Great International Fascist Mathematical Conspiracy) who are devoted to changing the t-axis to the x-axis and confusing the world. But I like to think, as Mr. Miller openly admits, he is just a bitter man.
Mr. Tim Dunn does not like The Scroll. In fact, he probably is not too happy to be featured in this article. Mr. Dunn does not like a lot of things, but what he does like, he likes a lot. Like dissecting dead cats and snapping their pelvises in half. He really likes that. He also really enjoys posting everyone’s test grades on the board so you can see how high (or oftentimes how low) you scored in comparison to your classmates. It’s fun, until you realize your grade is the lowest on the list. Mr. Dunn does enjoy biology and making biology class fun, even if he still won’t answer my question: why do we cry?
Mademe Jane Kairet is perhaps one of the most terrifying, interesting and hilarious teachers I have ever had. Terrifying because you do NOT want to be on the receiving end of one of her trademark catch phrases–“QUELLE HORREUR!” or “Qu’est-ce que c’est-ca?” Yet, she is interesting because she offers a wealth of experience from living in Belgium, France and the United States. She offers the best source of French information from le Grand Corps malade rapping to “Amelie,” possibly one of the best French movies of all time. And through it all, she offers her unique, oftentimes funny, opinion, even if that opinion might be controversial. She believes in experiencing all the highs and lows of life, in studying extreme skiing in French class, in understanding the French culture just as well as we understand French. So, we do our best to avoid her occasional scorn and continue to smile even as she insists that our paper was a catastrophe in the most fervent French possible.