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.”