Friday, December 12, 2014

Man behind the mic

Allen takes pride in role as morning voice of Comet Country

Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

Whether you tune them out or listen attentively, the morning announcements are an omnipresent part of our daily routine. Most students, however, are unaware of the man behind the mic.

Thurman Allen, an English teacher at Mason High School, has been the unseen face behind the voice resonating through classrooms for the past six years. What started out as a somewhat random selection by a former assistant principal evolved into a job in which Allen can embrace his Comet pride every day.

According to Allen, the best part to him is being in the loop of MHS’ news.

“I like the fact that I know what’s going on,” Allen said. “Any time I can read congratulations, or see how the band is doing, or the lacrosse or water polo team, it’s always fun.”

Allen said there have been several challenges to his duty that he has faced over the years.

“The hardest part is probably that people send me announcements, but they won’t proofread them,” Allen said.  “Earlier this year I had to be on the fly and make corrections as I was speaking. Also, there is always the fear of messing up a word. Names are especially bad. I have had some problems as well with students who will ask if I can invite someone to Prom or sing happy birthday, but if I start with them, I will have 3,400 students who will want to make it happen as well.”

Outside of school, Allen said he participates in several extracurricular activities.

“I am co-coach for the academic team and the advisor for the film club,” Allen said. “When I’m not directing, I am an adult volunteer for the drama department. Occasionally, I help out with the book club.”

Along with juggling his teaching duties, preparing the announcements and running clubs, Allen said he still finds to time to be in a band.

“(My band) is called Entertaining Lucy,” Allen said. “We are a three-piece combo–I play bass guitar. We basically play everything from classic rock and Pearl Jam to more modern stuff that people like to listen to.”

Allen said he likes to mix things up sometimes by changing the coined closing of ‘Comet Country’.

“My favorite one to do is when I go to the ASL class,” Allen said.  “No one ever gets it. I say have a great day, and it’s just quiet. We tried to do that a couple of times on the Day for Deaf. Or I go to different language classes and it’s like in German. Or we did the choir and they sing it.”

The fact that even some of his own students are clueless on his announcing duties is amusing, according to Allen.

“Most students don’t make the connection until suddenly someone informs them,” Allen said. “What I get from the students is, ‘You’re the one who does the announcements?’ Yes, you hear my voice every day. They have no idea.”

According to Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart, she, along with the rest of the administrators, are extremely grateful for Allen’s contributions throughout the years in saying the announcements.

“I love that Mr. Allen is the morning voice of Comet Country because he is so enthusiastic,” McCarty-Stewart said. “He is a great way to jump start our day.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Madison,

Dear Madison,

I would just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your letter and all of the...interesting details. Since Peyton might have been a little mortified after having his blunders exposed to the cyber world, I figure I should should level the playing field by exposing some of my own embarrassing childhood moments.

I have also only broken one bone in my life. Since I come from a background of playing soccer and other physical activities one might figure I broke it then...nope. I tripped over a scooter and fractured the growth plate in my foot. When people at school asked why I had a bulky blue cast on my leg I lied and said I fell out of a tree trying to save a cat. (This was in third grade FYI)

You mentioned that you and Peyton liked to play Sharkboy and Lavagirl. I did have a similar shark themed nickname--Jaws. This was due to the crooked, overbite teeth that filled my mouth. (Thankfully braces exist so this nickname is no longer applicable. My parents says this was the best return on an investment they've ever made)

Another moment that still makes my family chuckle happened to me in first grade when we lived in Arkansas. We were touring an abandoned hotel and it was covered in a plethora of graffiti. Since I loved to read and learn I began to study the words spray painted on the walls.

"Daddy, what does F*** mean?"

It was a simple question for a curious 7 year old so I was surprised when my parents and older siblings began laughing hysterically. Of course my dad teased me about it after by asking me what word was written on the wall--just to hear me say the f word again.

These are just a couple of funny incidents that happened to me, but I hope they made you and Peyton laugh. I look forward to the fun times ahead for me and Peyton. I'm also glad that he has a very cool older sister who I can be myself around. :)

-Juliana Discher

IN RESPONSE TO: Dear Juliana,