Teacher friendships thrive outside of school

Teacher friendships thrive outside of school

English teachers Deborah Stahes (far left), Christine Zurkowski (left), Eric Sutton (right), and Dick Paaby (far right) sit on the front of a boat during an outing. The entire English Department goes on many outing together and have a great time together.

Chioma Iheoma, Opinion Editor

The concert was filled with music as the band O.C. Supertones played their set.  Members of the audience included social studies teachers Jake Hollin and Brian Powell, who sang along with the Christian Ska band.  Jumping up and down in the mosh pit at the concert is just one of the memories they’ve formed throughout their friendship.

Students only get a glimpse of teacher friendships during the school day.  When the last bell rings, these relationships turn into friendships that the average student can identify with.  The friendship between Hollin and Powell is one such example.

“That was a couple years ago and Mr. Powell made a comment like ‘Well, I hope I can still jump around like that when I’m your age,’” Hollin said.  Jokes like these can be made between the two teachers who have been friends for “about seven or eight years,” according to Hollin.

Not only are their classrooms close together, but they live about three minutes away from each other.  The two met before they started working at JC.

“We were originally friends at church and then he had applied to work here,” Hollin said.

The two attend Mountain Christian Church, where they are involved in several activities.  “We had Mr. Powell dress up one time as Kung Fu Panda, and I had kids at a church event throw hula hoops at him, like ring around the panda,” Hollin said.

Bonding time isn’t only for church events, however.  “We watch pretty much all of the Ravens games together.  Our kids hang out with each other a lot, so we’re usually just hanging out while they’re playing and just have fun,” Powell said.  There are nine children between the two teachers, Hollin’s four and Powell’s five.

The close proximity of their homes and the size of their families results in good memories.  “Our wives are best friends, our kids are best friends, and we all hang out all of the time and do stuff.  It’s not just us, it’s our whole family,” Hollin said.

At one point the Hollin household and the Powell household were even less than three minutes away from each other.  “They lived with us for about six months while they were moving into their new house,” Hollin said.  According to Hollin, their home, which was filled with 13 people, was “a beautiful mess.”

On the opposite end of campus there are two other teachers who share a bond.  English teachers Christine Zurkowski and Susan Fisher have been friends for about 10 to 12 years.  Like Hollin and Powell, Zurkowski and Fisher’s friendship involves their children.

“We’re moms and we talk about our kids,” Fisher said. “She’s been at my kids’ weddings.”  Fisher taught Zurkowski’s three children as well.  “You get to know each other a lot that way too,” Zurkowski said.

“When she’s worrying about her kids, my kids are older, so I just say ‘you’ll be fine, they’re just being teenagers,’” Fisher said.

“I think one of our best days was when we met down at the Grand Prix.  [Zurkowski’s] husband was doing the fly-over and then we met in the stands and went to our boat,” Fisher said.

Friendships amongst teachers at school go beyond the staff lunchroom.  Similar to the books that they teach from, the friendships of teachers cannot be judged by how they appear.

Chioma Iheoma is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.