One on One with Upper Division Director Jon Powell


John Zuk, Editor in Chief

Everyone has seen the man, the myth, the legend, Dr. Powell during their time at school. Whether it be when he speaks in chapel, or walking down the hallways, one cannot fail to notice his Dumbledore-esque beard and apparent wisdom. But who really is Dr. Jon Powell, our fearless leader of the Upper Division? I sat down with him to ask him a few questions.

John Zuk: The student body knows you have an interest in cars. How did this interest start and what is your favorite car that you have ever owned?

Dr. Powell: That interest started because… I didn’t know anything about how cars worked. So I wanted to find out. I gradually started working on cars and figuring out how they worked. … And I think my favorite car I’ve ever owned is the one I own now which is a ’67 Porsche 912. The reason I like that car in particular is the engine is simple enough where I can work on it.

John Zuk: What inspired your beard?

Dr. Powell: *chuckles* The hatred of shaving.

John Zuk: Pretty great reason to have a great beard.

Dr. Powell: There is an environmental component to it as well. As you know our landfills are filling up with plastic and metal. So there was a small percentage of the choice to stop shaving for that environmental reason. I used an electric razor for a while but I realized those are worst because the metal parts that wear out go some place. Probably to a land fill.

John Zuk: What made you want to get into teaching?

Dr. Powell: Probably Mr. Surbeck, one of my Senior English teachers here. He was the teacher of a course called “Camping and Backpacking.” You could take that course twice, once as a student and once as an assistant instructor, which was fun, but Mr. Surbeck’s style of teaching was also fun. It was a style of teaching that placed the responsibility of making the class work solely on the students. He would ask discussion questions and if nobody answered discussion questions he would say, “You guys may want to think about that before the next test,” and go on to the next question. *chuckles* So people would always say, “Wait” and he’d say “No sorry, you’ll probably see that on the test.” He was an excellent, excellent teacher.

John Zuk: On the topic of English teachers, are you excited to take over Dr. Hubbell’s “American Short Stories” class for the rest of the trimester?

Dr. Powell: I am. I’m still a little concerned that I won’t have enough time to do both jobs, the division director’s position and the teacher’s position, but we’ll see how it goes. If it goes well, maybe I can teach more in the future.

John Zuk: Onto some questions about Casady itself. We all know you’re a big fan of tradition, but what’s a change at Casady that is different from your time as a student that you’re happy about?

Dr. Powell: You mean besides the schedule we had last year?

John Zuk: Yes, besides the schedule.

Dr. Powell: *chuckles* *thinking inquisitively* Wow. That’s an intersting question. I don’t know the answer to that question. You guys have a lot more out to lunches which from the kid’s perspective is probably really good. From a division director’s perspective that’s not so good because the idea of teenager’s going out into the world to experience all of it’s dangers is frightening. But I don’t know how the answer to that ques… OH, the Middle Division building, and the Science building. The renovations, all the new construction, I can’t think of a downside to any of those projects.

John Zuk: Probably a little bit different than having classes in a trailer or barn.

Dr. Powell: Definitely

John Zuk: Speaking of lunches, do you have a favorite school lunch here?

Dr. Powell: Ah yes. Don’t tell me… Seafood Gumbo.

Well, now you know a little bit more about Dr. Powell. All in all, his answers provided a great light on who he is. Inquisitive, caring of the students, and in favor of progress. These three traits are great things to have in someone in charge of making the Upper Division the best place it can be. It seems that the beard truly is an indicator of a man of great wisdom, even if it did only stem out of a hatred of shaving and a concern for the planet we live on.