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Meet the Commenters: 13RdHawk

How often do science teachers make chemistry jokes? Periodically.

Thanks for joining us 13rdHawk. I bet it's a relief to be done with another school year. What do teachers typically do over the summer? Do you get second jobs or just enjoy the time off?

Yes and no, I really like what I do, so I miss the daily interactions with most students, but I'm not going to lie, it's good to be done with a few of them.  As far as summer plans, yes.  By that, I mean the entire spectrum from strictly R&R to workoholism can be found in the teaching profession.  Personally, I've got a small mowing side gig (~25 yards) and my basketball coaching job keeps me busy with summer tourneys/leagues and weights.  I really don't slow down until late July/early August when the KSHSAA coaching moratorium goes into effect and the grass slows down... at that point I try to do as little as possible.

I know you grew up on a farm. What was that like? How big was your family? Do you ever want to go back to farming someday?

Yes and no.  My dad lost the farm to high interest rates in '88 when I was just a week shy of my 10th birthday and we moved to town.  I absolutely loved it... it was only 2 miles from town so it wasn't like we were way out in the sticks, but yet we could enjoy freedom of country life.  I was quite the magician on our 3-wheeler.  Also, there was a property only 1/2 a mile away that had 3 ponds.  One was kept full with an irrigation well and had a high dive and rope swing, the other two were dry and made for great ATV riding.  I spent the better part of my free time in the summers there. Thinking back to that time of my life brings back a wide gamut of emotions.  It was awesome to be able to ride around with dad and "help" him as young child.  As I got older though, the help became more real and my dad was... how should I put it... not the most patient boss/teacher. I get sad too because I often think we could have kept the farm if he could have held on for just another year or three because I was just getting to the point where I was becoming pretty productive help... i.e. being able to do meaningful jobs with equipment/livestock without having to be supervised.  The experience was so valuable that you'll never convince me that there is a better place to raise a kid than in a family farm... I wish I could have provided that for my boys.

I have two sisters, one 4 years older and the other 4 years younger.  We get along, but we're not very close.  One fun fact about my sisters and I... I'm the first born, but middle child... gold star to who can figure that out (earliest time stamp with correct explanation wins).

I've thought about getting back into it, but with land/cattle/machinery prices the way they are now, it's next to impossible to jump in from scratch.  I suppose if I won the lottery I'd get back into it in some fashion.  But that won't happen... I don't play... a wise man once said that it's a tax on people that are bad at math.

What kind of things were you into during your child/teen years?

I definitely wasn't the most popular, but when there's only 17 in your graduating class, there's not really cliques, everyone hangs out with everybody else with relative regularity.  I played football (8-man) and basketball and was decent at both though better at football (2 1/2 year starter).  Played video games quite a bit... can still remember unwrapping my NES for Christmas circa 1986. I was also really into fighter planes and war history. School came easy, and I was a little nerdy.... 3-time geography bee champ in grade school.

What made you pick KU for college?

I'm actually a FHSU grad.  Side Bar... I'm not a fan of the "t-shirt fan" label sometimes applied to non-grads. Just because finances and proximity to family necessitated me staying out West, doesn't mean I can't bleed crimson and blue.  I've been an avid fan since Danny and the Miracles got me hooked as a 9 year old.  I remember watching the championship vs OU in our family room like it was yesterday.

How and when did you find RCT?

I stumbled on it through a Google search a couple or three years ago when I got fed up with (gee, we haven't heard that before around here have we???).  Lurked for quite a while then decided to jump in.

What made you want to be a teacher?

While probably not the best of reasons, if I'm being honest, it's because I was pretty good at it and I'd have the same vacations and holidays as my children.  I have really come to enjoy it though.  Like most professions, it's definitely got its shortfalls (I teach ALL the freshman in a required course), but the perks are GREAT  (teaching the upper level students in Chemistry and Physics along with coaching and said vacations).

I know you live in SE Kansas. The fried chicken from that area has turned me off of chicken from anywhere else. What is your favorite chicken shop in the area?

In the area, I'd have to go with Chicken Annies, specifically the one that's just a few miles East of Girard.  However, I'm still partial to Al's Chickenette in Hays as the best I've had. (Disclaimer alert---I haven't ate there in 11 years, so if you eat there whilst passing through and it sucks, it very well may have changed hands.)

What has been your greatest success and great regret?

My greatest success is my family.  I am blessed with two healthy and happy sons (16 and 8) and a wife that is absolutely amazing. My wife and I got married really young.  She got pregnant as a junior in high school while I was a freshman in college (thanks Trojan).  Our oldest son was born halfway through her senior year and our wedding was a few weeks after graduation.  We've had our ups and our downs, but our love has grown with each passing year, and I can't imagine my life without her or the boys.  So to all those people who said we were making a mistake/wouldn't last.... SHOVE IT!

Biggest regret.... Not pursuing a career in aviation.  Once my eyesight tanked my junior year and fighter pilot training ceased being a viable post-secondary option, my give a damn ran out.  I ended up at junior college because I had no idea what I wanted to do and that's where my best friend was going. After I graduated there, I took a year off to settle in to family life and then started back in 2000 at Hays. FHSU was a grind.... I worked graveyard fulltime as a forklift driver at a battery factory to provide for my family so I didn't have the stereotypical college "experience."  My free time was spent either studying, sleeping, or hanging with the family. After I graduated FHSU and got my first teaching job, I used some left-over student loan money that was going to be forgiven (yet another perk of being a science teacher) to get my private pilot's license, but have let it expire.  I guess after dreaming of flying fighters, a Cessna 182 just wasn't all that.  I do wish though, that I'd found both the time and the $ to keep climbing the aviation ladder to private jet pilot.  Another use of my winnings from the lottery I don't play would be to own at least one WWII fighter plane, preferably an F4U Corsair.

If I came to visit you in SE Kansas, what would we do besides eat unhealthy amounts of chicken?

I'm admittedly the farthest thing from the life of the party there is.... When I get free time, I mostly spend it with family/friends or just relaxing.  But here goes.... one of my closest friends is a wizard with his smoker/barbecue so I'd probably just set up a gathering at his house or the lake with 10-15 of my closest friends.  A fine fest of food, drink, and bullshitting would most certainly ensue.  While I enjoy a neighborhood bar as much as the next guy, I've always found a small house party more enjoyable than a packed bar/club.

Anything else we might not know about you?

I love to ski and whitewater raft.  My wife and I would like to move to the mountains in the not too distant future, but not until my oldest has graduated... he started kindergarten here and it wouldn't be fair to him to pull him away with only two years left.

Also, several of these answers are half truths....... by that I mean the answers are truthful, just maybe not my first choice.  RCT is an awesome community and I enjoy just about everyone and everything about it, but there is a no-religion policy, so out of respect for the site and the writers/commenters that make the site great, I've given my non-religious answers to several questions.  If you're interested in the other answers, shoot me an email.

Lightning round
Age 36
Height 6'3"
Where do you live  Fredonia, KS  (It's ok, I didn't know it existed/where it was before I moved here)
Facial hair:  Generally no, just a little scruff if I get lazy.
Any pets: 1 Dog
What kind of car do you drive '92 Chevy pickup
Corrective lenses yep
Hair style: short
Favorite movie: Blazing Saddles
Favorite tv show: Suits
Favorite beer or thing to drink: Killians Irish Red
Favorite band: Green Day
Favorite food: Homemade Pizza or Cheesy Enchiladas
Favorite non KU team: GoPackGo!!!!!
All time favorite KU player: Wayne Simien
First concert: Alabama 
First w-2 job: Farm hand
Best athlete seen play live.  Brett Favre
Favorite dinosaur when you were a kid:  Pterodactyl