Back To School Memories from the TJM Crew

With school about to start for a new year, we asked members of the TJM staff to tell us a little about their own school days. Topics included:

Favorite or Most Influential Teacher

Highlights or Lowlights Of Your School Years

Most Useful/Relevant Class to Your Current Job

(and yes, we gave extra credit if they responded to all three.)

Without further ado, here are a few of our Tales Out of School. Enjoy!

Shannon Moore, Controller

Teachers Who Opened Up New Worlds

I had a few favorite teachers.  My biology teacher really fostered my scientific brain in the beginning and recommended some really great reading material.  My English teacher was just a hoot.  She was incredibly strict, but once you earned her respect she relaxed, and you got to see this free soul on the other side of the rough exterior.  Getting to know things about her husband and their travel together was really sweet.

My religion teacher allowed us to challenge teachings.  He went through arguments in a non-condescending way.  We felt safe to have challenging conversations.

My anatomy teacher had some really great assignments we were able to complete.  Dissecting a cow’s heart, lamb organs, cats, blood tests.  It was great.

My chemistry teacher let me play with fire after class to get some cool photos.  And finally, my cheerleading coach sparked an unknown love for running.

 Matt Fischer, Director of Client Relations

A Teacher Who Believed

My favorite teacher was Ms. McDonald at Howard Middle School. She taught us art all three years, and was so open and encouraging to us in pursuing new styles and techniques. I will always remember the wood burning I did that I did not particularly like. She encouraged me to not only finish it, but to also submit it to the student exhibit at Fine Arts For Ocala. I ended up winning an award for it, and will never forget how she saw something that I didn’t.

Dessert or Desert?

The lowlight of my academic career was in the second or third grade and we had to write based on a prompt. The prompt was “What is your favorite dessert, and why?”

I sat there, trying to think of any desert I knew outside of the Sahara. I was drawing blanks. Even if I chose to write about the Sahara, I didn’t know much, so how could that really be my favorite? I looked around to all the other kids writing away, fully engrossed in this prompt. I thought to myself, how can I be lacking such essential desert knowledge at this age? Clearly, I was behind the rest of the class academically.

After a few agonizing minutes, I finally approached the teacher as I was ready to give up. She laughed and told me I had to write about my favorite dessert, NOT desert! Now that I could do! So with little time remaining I ran back to my desk and quickly wrote about why ice cream is my favorite dessert.

You would think this core memory would have taught me a valuable lesson on how to know the difference between dessert and desert. I assure you it didn’t. I Googled the spelling just before writing this to make sure I didn’t get them mixed up.

AP Physics? Not So Much Today

As for the class that’s been most useful to me today, probably speech class or basic math. This was a tough one, as I feel that the “experience” of school as a whole was more important than the individual things you learned. Is it too obvious from this answer that I cannot remember a fraction of what I was taught, or how things like 9.8m/s2 that I learned in AP Physics had no bearing on my adult life?

Stacy Holcomb, Administrative Sales Assistant

Kindergarten Comfort

My favorite teacher was my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Dickey. She always made me feel comfortable and helped me adjust to being away from my mom and on this new journey. I just remember her being very nice, nurturing, and caring. Something I’ve never forgotten.

Making Music and Memories

A highlight of my academic career began in fourth grade. I started learning how to play the clarinet and joined band in elementary school. I was in band until I graduated high school. I marched in many parades, performed at many events, and competed in many competitions, taking home several awards.

A lowlight was in 2001. I had to have two knee surgeries, one of which prevented me from marching in the Christmas parade because I was not allowed to bear weight for four months. I was absolutely devastated by this. I loved marching band, but I especially loved marching in the Christmas parade.

I remember being a young child and watching the marching band go by in the Christmas parade and wanting to be just like them. So, when I was unable to march that year, it really upset me and broke my heart into a million pieces that I was missing out. [Editor’s Note: Stacy tells us she recovered and was able to march in the following year’s Christmas parade.]

Learning to Excel (in more ways than one)

The most valuable class I had was in college. I took a course on Computer Science and learned how to use Excel. I have since been a vital asset to companies with this knowledge.

Rick Cundiff, Content Director

Three Who Made a Difference

I can’t limit my most influential teachers to just one. There were three. The first was Mrs. Maddix, in third grade. She was the first to recognize my potential as a learner and encourage it.

Next was Ms. Tabor, science teacher from seventh through 10th grades. She was smart, funny and taught me more about being a good person than about science. She also once got so frustrated with my attitude that she threw her shoes at me in the classroom. We laughed about it years later as good friends.

Finally, there was Dr. Quisenberry, my college speech professor. He was warm, encouraging, genuinely interested in student success. Like Ms. Tabor, he became a dear friend and mentor.

Kentucky Clay Killed a Kiln

My academic lowlight had to be shop class in seventh and eighth grades. It was a requirement, and I hated it. Didn’t like the teacher. That was probably mutual.

A classmate and I caused the destruction of the ceramics kiln. We were making projects from good Kentucky (dug) clay because the shop teacher was too cheap to buy proper pottery clay. Trouble was, good Kentucky clay had lots of air bubbles in it. They all had to be carefully kneaded out before firing in the tired old kiln we were saddled with.

Apparently, we didn’t knead quite well enough. Our projects exploded in the kiln, destroying the interior. The school replaced it with a shiny new one, and all our ceramics projects after that used the proper (purchased) clay. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the crafty old jerk planned it that way.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t one of the two grading periods I flunked the class.

Mom’s Always Right

The classes most helpful to what I’m doing today? English, of course, and my high school typing class. Thanks, Mom, for talking me into taking that one!

Justin MacDonald, VP, Sales and Marketing

Many Positive Influences

I’ve had multiple influential teachers over the years and I would say the most impactful teachers were the ones that challenged my thought process and maybe even allowed me to challenge their processes a little.

Standouts would be (by timeline) Mrs. Hester (fifth grade), Mr. Hackmeyer (technically not a teacher; he was the middle school Principal), Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Werhner, Coach Holley, Mr. Rucker, Mrs. Lipphardt and Coach Beeb.

A Good Student Goes Bad (well, sorta)

I was a very well behaved and excellent student in elementary school, I was an excellent and very involved student in high school (multiple sports, clubs, volunteering, etc.), and I was an ABSOLUTE nightmare in middle school.

I had over 50 (disciplinary) referrals in my three short years at Howard Middle School, so I would say my low point was the entirety of middle school (although I very much enjoyed it and made lifelong friends.)

[Editor’s Note: See kids, this is proof your Permanent Record doesn’t really haunt you all your life.]

Valuable Lessons and Three Important Words

Sociology and Psychology with Mr. Rucker in high school was probably the most pertinent class to what I do today.  I have taken other art and/or business-related classes that deal specifically with aspects of what I do, but my Sociology and Psychology classes with Mr. Rucker prepared me for dealing with life and people in general.  In addition to his teaching, the best advice he provided was three words: Get over it.

Courtney Cole, Sales Lead

Video Teacher Helped Her See a Photographic Future

My most influential teacher would have to be Mr. Wallace, my middle and high school TV Production teacher. A lot of kids would take his class just so they could “hang out” for an hour,  but I truly enjoyed it. I learned so much from him, and it really pushed me to go to college for photography in the end. I will remember and cherish the memories of getting to run the class my senior year with a few of my friends/classmates.

Nap Nabber Got Nibbled

Overall I was a pretty good kid in school. I enjoyed going to school and had a ton of friends. Pre-K was my only trip to the principal’s office. A kid took my mat at nap time, and I wasn’t ok with that, so I bit him. Let’s just say I never did that again. [Editor’s note: And neither did he, we’ll wager.]

Video Made The Trading Pin Star

I would say my most valuable classes were all those years of TV production, as well as photography classes all through high school and college. I am not working in that capacity now. However, that is how I got my job here at TJM. My friend, who already worked for TJM, saw some of my work and thought I should apply here, so I did. Twelve years later, I am still here and love my TJM family!