Late, I screeched into the parking lot of a local Indian restaurant . Panting I ran through the double door and through a crowd of cooperate power-lunchers until my eyes met with the hulking figure sitting at the corner table. He lit up and shot up from the table booming “Senior Presidente”, with a smile that could light up a moonless night. He said it so loudly that all the other activity in the room stopped and everyone went to see what exactly was going on. He was made the center of attention as soon as he chose to speak. Being the center of attention the moment he steps into the room is par for the course for Joel Dure. Everybody, from people that he has never met before to his closest friends, feels his presence. His welcomes are warmer and more genuine than can be described. A few year ago, when I first met Dure, I was at first put of by his imposing physical stature, but the second that I had a conversation with him, I was instantly at ease. His weapon is the word and his battle field is a conversation. He has distinct ability to have a raging argument with someone, and then mere minutes later be seen joking around with that same person like nothing happened. He can have a meaningful conversation with a Phd and a high school drop out alike. Dure posses something very special, an element of his personality that allows him to capture the attention of everyone in the room just like he did at that local Indian food restaurant; he has the ability of connection with his fellow human, the human element.
After being informed that Mrs. Davies only availible time to meet was 12, I scampered down to the library determined to get some information on my subject. As I walked down the library steps I hear the nervous rants of students, "I'm really going to fail" they say, I can remember the pains of Latin 20 and how difficult the exams were."You're going to be fine, it'll be fine. Look Mr. MacNeil!" Her voice booms as I round the staircase, "he survived, he was fine! Right?""Just barely," I reply, she scowls at me and comforts her students, saying I'm far too overdramatic. As I interviewed Mrs. Davies I was lucky enough to see her in action around her students, I was lucky enough to see and remember how she teaches. As I asked her questions we were occasionally interrupted by students asking questions, they supposedly knew the answers too, but also by students who needed her to tell them it would be "ok". Mrs. Davies doesn't teach Latin, she is on a journey with her students through the difficult subject of Classics. She works with them and doesn't dismiss students who simply need to be reassured of their own skills. "I understand what it's like to have a learning disability, because both of my brothers had them," she says, "So I know how hard it can be for some students." So many times I hear students complain that their teachers just don't understand them and their struggles in academics. Mrs. Davies is one of the few teachers at Brooks who understands how hard school can be, and she isn't here to dismiss people, she's here to help them.
I was walking down the street on my way to the dining hall, the only thing on my mind being the overpowering hunger that consumed me, when all of a sudden, as I turned the corner onto the main road, I heard a loud humming noise somewhere off in the background. I turned around quickly, and there she was. Headphones over her ears, eyes mostly closed, but still partially open so that she could see the ground in front of her. Her arms were flapping from side to side, her body was swaying, and her legs were jerking very enthusiastically, which led me to believe that she was dancing. Out of her mouth I could hear her belting out what I believed to be her own rendition of a song that was unfamiliar to me. She knew I was there, I'm almost sure of it. She had to be aware that people were staring at her, yet she continued with what she was doing until the song ended. When she was done, I pulled her aside. "VJ, I have a question for you," I said. "Shoot," she responded blankly. "How do you feel about me writing a biography on you? I'd need to interview you and your friends, as well as everyone in your life who is important to you..."She blinked at me, and with hardly any hesitation at all she responded. "Cool beans," she said, nodding slightly. calmly using her trademark response that she often uses to answer simple questions. She then continued on her way.
The leaves rustled quietly as the large feet of a familiar figure dug deep into the soft terrain. It was his second time today venturing down to the gleaming lake, and his fifth time this week, yet his fascination never subsides. He frequently gazes up to the puzzle pieces of blue sky formed in between the gaps of the towering oak trees. The bushes bristle as he casually strokes his hand across the surface of each plant. He is accustomed to the positioning of each tree and plant in this forest. It is in these very woods that he feels most serene, most at ease. Will Parker, an incredibly distinct figure at the Brooks School, is known for his many obscure talents and hobbies. Furthermore, there are few people residing in this community who project as much interest in the natural world around them as Will does. It is fascinating that, at such a young age, Will has managed to establish an act upon and so many different interests. As a result of each fascination, Will creates his own products such as his own musical compositions, or journals packed purely with his writing and thoughts. Through reading these journals, I have come to realize that Will is his own philosopher. His thoughts are always formulating, whether or not they relate to a common subject. According to one teacher, Will is frequently “occupied in his own world and somehow seems to relate this to any subject.” During class, his input is both valuable and pensive, but also sometimes unusual. In my opinion, a large part of Will’s uniqueness origins from his quite ‘out of the ordinary’ thoughts. His knowledge circles around his interests. In other words, in History and English, two of will’s most favorite subjects, Will’s knowledge and desire to learn is extremely powerful. This pattern circles back to the rest of Will’s hobbies, and they are all purely and independently derive from Will’s enjoyment.
“Who is this man?” This question dominates my thoughts as I sit with my rambunctious teammates besides me on the dark leather couch that seems to stretch on for an eternity. They are too busy marveling at the size of the fireplace to notice me lost in thought, but it is easy to get carried away in this room that seems to mystify out entire team. It is freshmen year, and I am sitting in the Russell House common room with the thirds soccer team; a ragtag bunch to say the least. Our gracious host, Mr. Alami, is satisfied and sitting comfortably in an old wingback chair and taking in a soccer game he has put on the TV. Not all the kids pay much attention to the game, too busy chatting about school, surprised at this new location on campus they have discovered, or how massive that damn fireplace is. However, I do my best to focus on the game and our coach, Mr. Alami. Having supplied with us a healthy supply of Pizza (12 Boxes), drinks and a nice place to stay for a while on a Friday night; Mr. Alami was looking like a god right about now to my freshmen-year self. As I sat down on that musty couch, I realized that there was so much I did not know about our coach. Why did he claim to see strange things in the woods at our practices? Why did he have a phobia of deer? And how on earth did he end up at this little prep school in North Andover, Massachusetts? From the day that he sized up his squad at our first practice to our triumphant victory over Governor’s he was always incredibly dedicated to our team and was so intent on making sure everyone learned something from all that he had to say. For someone that had made such an impact me my first semester at Brooks, I knew so little about him, and my 14 year old mind yearned to learn more. So now I ask myself the same question three years later, “Who is this the man?”
I was sitting in my room before study hall started when I heard a wave of silent laughters coming from down the hall. Interested in what was going on, I peeked out of my door to see Gary amusingly scribbling a phrase on Mr. Nam's white board in a suspicious manner. I immediately realized he was pulling his usual prank on Simon, another member of the Blake dorm. He always picks one of Simon's possessions and attempts to sell it by advertising it on Mr. Nams whiteboard. " Lamp for sale found in Simon's room, buy on get one free!" To the side of the phrase he drew a hilarious sketch of Simon with his lamp. He was cracking up and his amusement from such a simple joke and this made the situation even more entertaining. Still amused by what he was doing, he began doing another drawing underneath his first sketch. Comical as he is, the sketch was of the outlines of a women in a bikini with the phrase "Girl wearing bikini for FREE witch purchase!" Looking at the final product on the whiteboard, I was laughing very hard and he even harder, when all of a sudden Mr. Nam opened his door in a hurry and came outside. He asked us what we were doing and then looked at his whiteboard. He saw all the drawings even though Gary desperately tried to cover up the second drawing of the lady. He asked which one of us did it, convinced it was both of us until he saw the marker in Gary's hand. Mr. Nam told us he was going to erase but Gary pleaded that he keep it until the end of the night. He got his way and was told to go back to his room. The drawing was left on the board all night and numerous kids read it, thinking it was hilarious, asking who did it. He never told anyone else he did it the rest of the night. His different sense of humor surprises me everyday and I am always eager to see what he'll do next. His presence in a room is always a large one for he contributes interesting and funny remarks to lighten peoples moods. I know many kids in the dorm like begin around and talking to Gary just as I do too for he really is an engaging person.
As I walked down the hall expecting to find a quiet Joon Lee sitting in his room, most likely only offering one word answers to the questions I will ask, I found something quite different. It was late at night, and as most people in the dorm were falling asleep, Joon was doing otherwise. As I opened the door, I quickly saw him with large earphones on, dancing ferociously in his chair. Joon failed to see me for a solid 20 seconds, probably because of how loud his, from what I could hear, asian sounding music was playing. It was then that is struck me how much people misread Joon's personality. Having talked to and learned about Joon's personal life and culture at home, it was fascinating to see him in his own niche, getting overwhelmingly excited about a song most of us would cringe over. Joon is a unique man; many ordinary things we take for granted excite Joon in ways that are fun to watch. It is truly fascinating to watch how foreigners who have lived their entire life immersed in a different culture react and adapt to the things we have been around for our entire lives. Joon has showed me how many new aspects of American culture he larns about each and every day. Whether or not he shows it, he is fascinated by the little things us Americans say in our slang, the traditions we have, and even some of the food we eat. He is a man of curiosity and knowledge, the amount of american teenage culture Joon has picked up on in the short few years he has lived here is extremely interesting to heat about from the words of someone who calls home half way aorund the world.
We sat; patiently waiting behind a line of fellow pupils, anxious to see the grades on our most recent assessment. At the front of the line sat Ms. Whitaker with the perpetual red pen clutched between her fingers. Looking back on this incident, my ability to read peoples emotions must have been slacking because at this particular moment, Ms. Whitaker was experiencing heightened stress and deep exhaustions. Her face was riddled frustration and bags under her eyes were indicative of sleep deprivation. If I had picked up on these cues i may have been able to avoid a large dose of grief. I digress. When it becomes my turn to see my grade, I look at my paper and gaze upon the endless trails of red ink and the large 87 written at the top."I don't get it. Why put so much effort into grading a test even if it ends up being a high grade?" i ask precariously."Because," she replied "Its just the way I work, slowly but very carefully.""Well you might want to tone it down considering you turn shit back eight weeks late." I say with a huge smirk on my face. At this point I figured we knew each other well enough that she could take a little friendly criticism. But she wasn't having any of it. When the smile back never came I knew I was fucked. She proceeds to stare right through me and begins the process of making me feel like I had just accidentally kicked a puppy. Thats seriously how I felt. It was never my intention to effect her so severely. But this particular outburst revealed what I believe to be her most important quality. When someone (like myself) questions her ability to be a dedicated and efficient educator, she almost instantaneously responds with hostility. When one reacts in such a manner, it usually represents an attack of their core values. In Ms. Whitaker's case, educating her students is not only her job but her passion. If I had said this to a teacher who didn't feel as strongly, I can guarantee i would have gotten a far less drastic response. It was through her defense mechanism that i became cognizant of this passion and its potency.