My classmates and I who took all the advanced science classes at St. Vincent High School had Mr. DeShazer twice a day during our junior year for Advanced Placement Biology and Honors Chemistry. Â They were some of my hardest classes but also my most enjoyable classes. Â My classmates and I have beenÂ reminiscingÂ about high school memories the last few days…
The ceiling of Mr. DeShazer’s classroom had what appeared to be circular burn marks on it. Â As sophomores we had no idea why they were there. Â As honors chemistry students, we learned that they were created by bubbles that we ignited. Â Neat Stuff!!
Before every chemistry lab, we had to write out the procedure, including a section about safety precautions. Â Since this was a high school lab, this usually meant “Wear your goggles” and “Be careful when working with acid.” Â Somehow we got into the habit of adding safety reminders like “Don’t chew glass.” Â Mr. D. went along with it as long as we had the real information in there too. Â I think he was entertained by us and joined in our lightheartedness as long as we were serious about the science.
The school created a more restrictive dress code while we were students. Â Our rebellious response was to follow the dress code but to wear the most outrageous things we could. Â One day my friend BJ walked into class wearing a neon orange reflective safety vest over his shirt. Â Without skipping a beat, Mr. D. said, “I see BJ was out directing traffic this morning,” and went on with the class. Â It was hilarious because he understood what we were doing.
Sesame Street is doing something right by connecting learning to music. Â Mr. D. is doing the same thing. Â When we were learning about the ideal gas law, he played a song for us about it: “talkin’ heavy duty chemistry…we’re talkin’ PV=nRT!” Â My classmates and I have not heard this song for 16 years, but we still remember it.
I have never met the great Mrs. D. Â She must be a wonderful woman because she puts up with the great Mr. D. and she made us mini muffins on the day of the national A.P. Biology test – a four-hour exam that determined whether we got college credit for taking the class. Â She knew it was a big deal and did what she could to help us.
Mr. D. had a strict rule about no food in the lab, except for one day a year. Â At the end of junior year, after the A.P. Biology test, Mr. D. chili cheese omelets with wild cantrell mushrooms and bagels with truffle butter for his A.P. Bio students. Â A.P. Biology was one of the most work-intensive classes I took in high school. Â We had a test about every three days, and he pushed us hard to prepare for that test. Â I think the end of the year breakfast was a congratulations/thank you celebration.
If any other St. Vincent graduates want to share their DeShazer experiences, please let them as comments.
Click here for Part 4 of the Ruth-Mr. D Story.
Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsors are Darvin and Jane DeShazer. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit myÂ Sponsor A Law Kid page.