My favorite subject is social studies

My favorite subject is social studies because Ms. Lauber and all the teachers are great about telling it like a story and helping us learn about it. Like Jamestown, I learned about how they had to survive on a little bit of food coming in on boats and the Indian attacks. So they made a little fort to protect themselves from the Indians. And when I’m not at school my favorite thing to do is to do role play games with my friends. We usually use something from a class we learned and we will be different people from the stories.


I really want to be a doctor

When I’m older I really want to be a doctor. The reason is because my dad is a doctor and my sister, she’s going to be a doctor. I really want to do it because I sometimes see these shows and I think, “Oh, I want to do that!” I don’t know why, but I just want to.

If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you do?

Maybe being a conductor for a symphony or something. I play the violin. I’ve been playing it since July. It’s actually pretty easy. You can play different songs.


I do love teaching

I would say, besides school, my family is the most important. My wife is a teacher at Malibu. My daughter just started kindergarten. We live in the same neighborhood as my parents and my wife’s parents. All of them are education-related in their fields. But really for me, the big thing is, I do love teaching. I never leave here feeling like: Oh no, I’ve got to go to work. It’s really something I enjoy. So I am really lucky that I have found a passion that hopefully, I’m relatively good at as well. I do like this job very much. This is certainly part of my passion in life as well besides my family.


I cheer and do tumbling

When I’m not at school I cheer and do tumbling. I’ve been doing it since I was seven or eight. It’s competition cheer so you practice a lot, like two days a week. You practice, practice, practice and you have a competitions in places like Richmond or Washington, D.C. If you get first place and the highest score, you get a paid bid to go somewhere and sometimes you can fly to different places. I’ve been to Washington D.C., Richmond, Maryland, and some teams have flown to Indonesia. My favorite move is the back handspring. I like tumbling, but I like stunting also because you get to be in the air and do stuff. There is a flyer and bases and a back spot to catch you, but I like being in the air most of the time. I started with gymnastics. I did that for a year, but then I fell off the balance beam and I got scared. I never did it again. I moved to cheer and I like it now.


Academics are very important to me

I’m very committed to doing well in school. Academics are very important to me because, even more than doing a sport or anything else, it’s so important to have good grades. The way you present yourself is also important. Even the most minuscule details about how you dress, how you carry yourself and your body language can effect whether you get a job.

What job do you plan to have?

Well, I’m wearing the uniform right now and I tell people it’s kind of my master plan. I want to try and become President of the United States. I feel like in joining the military you get that sense of what you’re doing, how to command people, how to speak to people and that helps you in politics to convince people of your plan.

I’m going to stay in the Navy for a time because you can’t start out early in politics, no one takes you seriously. That’s kind of an unfortunate truth. You have to stay in a long time. I feel like you have to go into some kind of legislative office. I want to go straight into an executive position because I feel like there’s a lot of animosity toward the legislative branch of anything: “Oh, they never anything done” or “Nothing ever happens.” I want to get work done.


I am obsessed with Paris

I have always wanted to go visit the Eiffel Tower. My parents know. All my friends know. Basically everyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Paris. For some reason I’ve taken an interest in it. The Eiffel Tower is a really cool and tall and pretty sculpture that you can actually climb, which is nice. There are other things in Paris that are cool, too, like different foods, different types of fashion, and it’s different from the United States. So if you visited Paris you would get to visit a new culture. I love fashion. When I grow up I want to be a fashion designer and have my own business, I hope.

When are you going to go to Paris? Do you have a plan to visit?

Well, my parents said for my sweet 16, ‘You can have a party or you can go on a trip.’ So I thought, you could have a party with all your friends or you could go, maybe, anywhere in the world, if it’s reasonable. That’s what my parents say: as long as it’s reasonable and not far, far away. If I got to go on a trip I would probably chose Paris, but if I couldn’t go there, then maybe a little bit closer like Hawaii or Bora Bora.


I started a board game club

I started a board game club here this year. We are an intramural activity. We get about 20 to 30 kids every other week to play board games. I try to have them play cooperative board games where the students have to come together for a common goal. Games like Pandemic, Legendary Encounters and Freedom: The Underground Railroad. There are also resource management games. I try to bring in games, not like the typical Monopoly, but games like Ticket to Ride, where they use a map of the United States and they have to build trains at a time like the early 20th century. It works out well. Students can come, play a game and ride the student activity buses home. We bring a snack in for them and it’s really fun.


Lifelong fitness, lifelong service

I’m very involved with Operation Smile. When my daughter, who is now a sophomore at FC, was in first grade we started. We had this running club called Mile Madness and we changed it to Miles for Smiles after talking with others about how we could incorporate Operation Smile. And it just sort of stuck. We’re still doing it.

Our big focus is lifelong fitness, lifelong service. What can you do to be a better person? You may not be the best or the fastest runner but find something that you like to do. Find something that will keep you healthy and that will keep you active. I love teaching health. It’s kind of my passion. It’s great that it carries on with them. I have a former student who is a freshmen at Randolph Macon; she wants to be a doctor. She wrote me the nicest letter about how much I inspired her. When you’re a teacher, sometimes you don’t always get those things. It’s so nice when you have a former student write you and you think, well maybe I did make a difference in their life.

We try and give them the best part of their day, just to know that they’re loved and supported. You love to hear those stories about students and athletes who worked their way up. Somewhere, somebody along the way helped them out. You just kind of hope you can do that.


Family time

I love spending time with my 2-year-old. Every day we’re coloring or going to the park or something educational. I read a book to him every day. We do Sesame Street every day. He knows what a trapezoid is and a semicircle. He tells me, “Mommy, I know this already.” He’s 2! It’s really funny actually. When I was in the Navy and I couldn’t spend time with him – I had watch in the middle of the night and I couldn’t see him go to bed and I couldn’t see him wake up – that’s what made it hard.

I really want to make sure he has everything that he needs – educationally, spiritually, being supportive of him. My husband is in the Navy, so there are times when he won’t be there. I just want to make sure that when he is home that we get all that family time in, that he doesn’t miss a moment. That’s mostly what I do when I’m not at work because those moments, you can’t get back. You can’t get them back.


I like challenges


I have allergies. I hate them. It’s ruining my life. Last spring, I didn’t have allergies. I didn’t know of it. Sometimes you can get the cough. I got the cough, too. Me and my sister and my dad have the same allergies. My mom doesn’t have an allergy.

What about school? What do you like to do here at school?

The most part I love about school is my teacher.

What do you love about your teacher?

Well, everything! Her favorite animal is an elephant. I just love the way she likes them.

I like learning about coins. I like the quarters the best. It’s challenging. I like the challenging things about school, like tests. I like tests! And we have a test coming up! My favorite thing is my homework, too. Every time I get home, I do my homework.


I like learning about history

I like learning about American history and World history. My favorite part of history was learning about the different battles of the Civil War, like the Battle of Vicksburg, which was when the Union went to capture the Mississippi River to cut the Confederacy in half basically because it was separated by the river. My other favorite part was learning about the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War when General Cornwallis surrendered to end the Revolutionary War.

Do you want to study or use history in a future career?

I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to be when I grow up. My dream, as of right now, is to go to MIT. It’s not super far away from Virginia. It’s in Boston, which is a pretty nice place I’ve heard. They offer a lot of majors that I’m kind of interested in, like my favorite subject science. I like learning about different kinds of elements and how they react to other elements. In fourth grade, I actually did the STEM program with some other people and we made a robot. After that I was like: Whoa! This is pretty cool!


The coolest part of third grade

The coolest part of being in third grade is learning new things. In second grade I would learn about ancient China and things like that, but this year I am learning harder instruction. I’m learning to multiply and to divide, and in second grade I was just learning how to add and subtract. I think one of the other things I like in third grade is music. I’m really into music. My grandmother is teaching me how to play piano, but I’m mostly into singing and cheerleading.


I like to play soccer and surf

I like to play soccer. I like to surf. I do soccer all year-round and surf all year-round. I’m doing futsal and we’re going against way advanced teams and travel teams that are sponsored, so it’s really tough. Our coach really wanted to expose us to the harder teams so we’ll get better and we can learn from them.

I go surfing every weekend – almost every weekend if I’m not busy or something. It’s really cold. We have a wetsuit, gloves, booties and hats because it gets really cold when you get your head underwater. I started surfing when I was 8, so I’ve just been surfing a lot. I just got a new board for Christmas. It’s a 5’3” board; before I was surfing on a 6’2”. I wanted to move down because it was really hard to duck dive on that one because it was really heavy.


Technology is the biggest change


The most interesting challenge with teaching fourth-graders today is definitely meeting them where they are. I teach an inclusion classroom so they come with a variety needs, and making this a safe place for them where they feel loved and wanted is important. I started teaching 11 years ago and the biggest difference from when I started to now is definitely the technology. The kids are so excited about it. They are so excited to use it every day. Today we used Safari Live. We got to take a virtual field trip to South Africa and see the habitat and all the animals, so it’s easy to incorporate this because they are excited about it. That’s definitely the biggest change.


I want to change something

I do a little bit of everything, but debate is probably my biggest passion. Coming out of middle school I wasn’t really involved in anything, but I did a program called We the People where you take a portion of the Constitution and you have to defend it and answer questions about it. My social studies teacher pulled me into it, and I won districts and states for middle school. Then I guess I figured out that oratory and debate were my thing. Freshmen year I joined Student Congress and that’s where I got really into politics.

In terms of what I want to do when I get older, I’m kind of polarized in what I like to do because I enjoy science and I enjoy STEM. I like chemistry but honestly, it’s one of those things where I feel like I have an obligation to go into politics. I think that after everything that I’ve learned, at this point, I want to change something from here on out. I want to take money out of politics. Obviously that’s going to be hard, but I think more people have to be represented than they are and I think that would probably be my mission. I want to end up being in D.C. somehow. I know the cost of living is ridiculous so I’m going to have to work my butt off, but that’s what I plan on doing.