The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Teachers Who Do Cool Stuff

Everyone has something that they are passionate about or appreciate doing in their free time. Everyone has hobbies they enjoy pursuing in their free time, but what kinds of passions and hobbies do our teachers have?

Cynthia Salinas

A Board Gaming Group

Mr. Bush and three other teachers, Mr. Guiard, Mr. Gohr and Mr. Duffy, formed a board gaming group right before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We all have interest in a variety of different types of board games, of all different themes and play styles,” Mr. Bush, a science teacher, said. “We enjoy getting together as a group and we switch up who brings games to the session and try out different board games. We usually spend anywhere from three to six hours. Sometimes it’s one long game, sometimes it’s two, [or] we play three or four different shorter games.” 

Mr. Bush’s passion for board games started when he was in middle school and high school.

“I played games of various types,” Mr. Bush said. “It was starting to be a very common thing of games coming out that were more than just kind of the traditional Clue, Battleship and Monopoly. Then there were starting to be a lot of other types of games showing up, things that would explore fantasy or science fiction. Those themes appealed to me. And as I started to discover that there were board games built around those themes, it caught my attention. And so through middle school, through high school, I played a bit.” 

Mr. Gohr, one of the music teachers, has been playing a variety of games since he was a kid. This ranged from board games to video games and role playing games, so he knew he wanted to join the group.

“It’s been a lot of fun because we’ve done a little bit of everything,” Mr. Gohr said. “We’ve done some games that involve an app to do all the die rolling, and even tell you what the next steps are, which is kind of cool and unique. And role playing and some racing games and all kinds of [games].” 

A lot of the games that the teachers play involve strategy, luck or storytelling. French teacher Mr. Guiard especially enjoys competitive games. 

“It’s the kind of games I like, where you play with some dice, you play with some strategy and you try to outsmart everybody,” Mr. Guiard said. “But sometimes if you play with people that you know, it’s okay to win or to lose because you know, next week or the following time that we play together, it’s going to be somebody else [who wins].” 

Mr. Guiard even helped do the English translation for a French horse racing game called Ticket Gagnant, in order to get it published here in the United States. The group had the opportunity to work as testers for the game. 

The board gaming group gives them a chance to interact with teachers from different departments and spend more time together whenever they are available to meet. It also helps them to socialize, relieve stress, relax and have fun together. 

“Getting to spend more time with them is a pleasure,” Mr. Duffy, a social studies teacher, said. “We get together and we have a meal, dinner, lunch, whatever it is depending on the time of day and then we engage for a couple hours…we’re laughing and just having a good time.”

Cynthia Salinas

A Passion for Chemistry

Science and chemistry have always been integral parts of Ms. Rukes’ life since she was a student, both in high school and in college. 

“Almost every weekend, I will go to the Boys & Girls Club [at the University of Illinois] or I would go to downtown Chicago or to middle schools, elementary schools and I do science activities with kids to try to inspire kids to go into science and not think that science is uninteresting.” 

When Ms. Rukes tells people that she teaches chemistry, she is disappointed when people don’t understand the value of chemistry. That’s what motivated her in becoming a teacher for the subject. Now, hundreds of moles fill her classroom that her past chemistry students have created. 

“Make sure everyone gives chemistry a shot,” Ms. Rukes said. “Sometimes in class, it could be boring because you have to learn the fundamentals. But it’s those fundamentals that make you get to do the fun stuff afterwards. My students got to learn how intermolecular forces work with lip balm. They made lip balm. They learned how to make their own paint using stoichiometry. There’s a lot of connections and they have to understand that you’re getting a little snapshot. But if you look around, the world of chemistry is everywhere.”

Cynthia Salinas

Music in and out of the classroom

Teachers such as Mr. Wieczorek and Mr. Twadell share an interest in music. This interest has driven both teachers to incorporate music into their everyday lives, as they are both recording songwriters.

In the classroom, Mr. Wieczorek has joined his passions of music and math by creating math songs for his students.

“I started writing cheesy math tunes when I was student teaching back in 2016,” Mr. Wieczorek said. “I think now I have written maybe 16-20.”

These fun math tunes developed into the start of a major part of his life. After an injury, Mr. Wieczorek was unable to run as he usually did, giving him time to pursue his love for music on a deeper level.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the classrooms, Mr. Wieczorek took this as the perfect opportunity to delve into songwriting. He also went to an open mic night, which encouraged this surge of love for music.

“I started just doing covers on YouTube,” said Mr. Wieczorek, “then I thought it would be fun to write my own original music.”

This thought turned into five recorded and released original songs, with another song to be released soon. Being musically trained in piano, guitar and even saxophone throughout his middle school years, Mr. Wieczorek has always had a passion for music. This passion allows him to connect with students on a personal level, even through “guitar Friday.”

“I just want music to be heard,” Mr. Wieczorek said. “I just feel like music can put a smile on peoples faces, and helps connect people together.

Mr. Wieczorek performs locally and in neighboring towns around three times a month and hopes to increase live performances during the summer. 

Cynthia Salinas

Similarly, Mr. Twadell, an English teacher, writes and records his own music, both independently and with a group. 

“[The band] started as a quartet and then one of our members moved to Michigan,” Mr. Twadell said. “Then another guy dropped out, so now it’s just Sean and I” 

Mr. Twadell and his bandmate, Sean, write and produce music together to this day, although they live farther apart.

“The genre of music is nice,” Mr. Twadell said. “We can both write full songs independently or collaborate.” 

Growing up, Mr. Twadell always enjoyed electronic music, especially songs revolving around synthesizers. In his band, he contributes by writing lyrics as well as most of the synthesizer tracks.

“I am classically trained on piano and I write most of the synthesizer tracks,” Mr. Twadell said.

 After five song releases, the earliest dating back to 2010, the band has performed some live shows in the city and around the Midwest. His band, Short to Ground, can be listened to on music platforms.

Many teachers have hobbies outside of school, and these hobbies are a major aspect of their lives. From niche interests, to board games, to music, every teacher has a hobby that contributes to their everyday lives.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Drops of Ink intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. Drops of Ink does not allow anonymous comments, and we require a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All Drops of Ink Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *