Teacher Feature: Mr. A talks about his life as a teen

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By Owen Bradbury Aranda

Allen Andraski, affectionately dubbed “Mr. A.” by his students is the World History and AP Human Geography teacher at Los Alamos High School. His love for music and a passion for history easily makes him one of the most interesting teachers. Mr. A. dwells in the depths of E-Wing and is one of the few teachers to have refused to leave his old memory filled room for a classroom in the new building. He is always interested in meeting new people and has a love for teaching kids about the world and its culture.

Last week Teen Pulse staff member, Owen Bradbury Aranda, took a stroll down memory lane with the teacher by asking him questions about the early days.


Q: Where did you go to high school?


A: “I went to school at Pershing High School in Detroit Michigan. I graduated in 72.”

Q: What were you like as a student?

A: “I was a – moderately bright underachieving student; I didn’t try real hard, not as hard as I should have.”

Q: What were you like in high school?

A: “I was one of those kids who was more of a social person than a studious person. One of the things that I always felt I had was an ability to relate to lots of different kinds of people so I knew some of the kids who were nerds and some of the kids who were athletes and some of the kids who were goof balls, and some of the kids who were into art and things like that, I had a pretty broad circle of friends, so I didn’t really hang with one group in particular.”


Q: Did you play any sports in high school?

A: “I played hockey, it wasn’t directly affiliated with the high school but I played hockey outside of high school and I worked in an organized league.”


Q: What did you want to be when you graduated?


A: “I wanted to go to college, and that was about as far as I could see ahead at that time. I was undecided about what I wanted to major in. I finally wound up getting my college degree in geography.”

Q: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: “History and English.”

Q: What music did you like to listen to when you were young?

A: “I was into rock n’ roll, that was the golden age of rock n’ roll back then, and I was very much into rock n’ roll. My favorite band, probably if I could say one favorite band from back then it’d be The Rolling Stones.”

Q: How did you listen to your music?


A: “I records, I bought 33’s and 33 and 1/3 LP’s and I still have most of them in my possession.”

Q: When did you first start liking folk music?

A: “Well you know folk music was part of the scene back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but when I really started getting into more acoustical style music which would be bluegrass and folk, would have probably been about maybe 1980, I would have been 26.”

Q: What was your first car?

A: “When I was 16 I bought a 1962 Corvair station wagon for 75 dollars from my brother, I kept it for about a year probably. It wasn’t a great car haha.”

Q: What was the big thing when you were in high school?


A: “I guess the thing that most got us going was music, I grew up in Detroit so that was Motown sound and then the British invasion and I always like that mysterious west coast music with The Beach Boys and Sam and Dave and all those guys.”


Q: How did you decide upon your teaching career path?

A: “It was something I always wanted to do, I haven’t been doing it that long I started in about 2000 when I moved to New Mexico and I decided it was time to settle down and do something with the future and a retirement plan and all that good stuff.”

Q: How did you end up working in Los Alamos High School?

A: “I moved here when I met Lisa (my girlfriend), I lived in Los Alamos for about four years before we both moved to Santa Fe.”

Q: Did you have any pets when you were a child?

A: “Yeah we had dogs, but my parents were pretty unsuccessful dog raisers so we went through quite a lot of dogs that didn’t quite fit in, and it’s kind of sad that mysteriously one day I would wake up and the dog would be gone and I didn’t know what my dad did with them, but it was sad. I always loved dogs of course and when I got out on my own I started raising dogs so I’ve always had dogs as an adult. I had a parakeet when I was a kid, we had a parakeet for a long time.”


Q: What was cool when you were in high school?

A: “Hair! Long beautiful hair, back in the day it was the name of the play, hair was cool, music was cool, cars were cool, kids were cool.”

Q: Did you have a role model when you were in high school?

A: “Mick Jagger! I wanted to be like Mick Jagger, never quite made that one hahaha.”

Q: What was your first job?

A: ”My first job I had a paper route when I was 10 years old I delivered a weekly paper, the North End News, it came out on Thursdays and yeah that was my first job.”