By Kelly Chian, ’16
Behind the Camera: Scott Wittenburg
Photography teacher Scott Wittenburg has always loved the wonder and artistry that comes from taking a photo.
“The first time I shot a roll of film with my Kodak Hawkeye in the fifth grade, I was hooked on photography,” Wittenburg said. “It was like magic!”
He is currently producing a podcast called “Photography 101,” with 70 episodes already online and a new installment posted each month. More information can be found at scottwittenburg.com.
Aside from photography, Wittenburg has a passion for writing.
Wittenburg has published eight novels. He draws inspiration from his favorite authors such as Stephen King and Thomas Hardy. The hardest part of the process for him was coming up with new ideas.
“I love writing and spend virtually every evening working on my latest manuscript [for my next novel],” Wittenburg said.
The most interesting aspect of writing for Wittenburg is creating new ideas and new characters in a story, some imaginary and some based on real life.
“I’m currently writing my ninth novel. It’s a sequel to my third novel, The May Day Murders, which is about a serial killer in a small Midwestern town,” Wittenburg said. “Most of my murder mysteries are not for the faint of heart.”
In addition to writing, Wittenburg has been pursuing music since the ninth grade, when he formed his first rock band called The Sands of Tyme and other bands afterwards.
“I was in the sixth grade the very first time the Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show. Every kid in the U.S. was glued to the TV that fateful night because the Beatles’ records had been playing on the radio and everybody was curious what these long haired guys from England who wrote and sang their own songs were all about,” Wittenburg said. “From that night on, I knew what I wanted to do – be a Beatle!”
Due to his Beatles inspiration, Wittenburg’s parents gifted him with a guitar and started his pursuit to becoming a rock star.
“I eventually started writing my own songs and moved to New York City in 1981 to form a band and become a rock star,” Wittenburg said. “Although we had a pretty decent band, we obviously never made it big but I had a wonderful, exciting time playing the clubs in Manhattan.”
With a multitude of interests, Wittenburg encourages his students to take risks.
“I have taken quite a few risks over the years because I am a tenacious, ambitious person,” Wittenburg said. “Had I not taken those risks my life would not be as full as it’s been.”
Hello Cello: Jeff Reinhardt
“I’ve always loved music,” Reinhardt said. “Early music memories still stick with me. My mom playing piano. The Toledo Symphony performance of Smetana in sixth grade. Saxophone lessons with my extraordinary teacher, Mr. Taylor. Playing alto sax in my high school’s marching and jazz bands. Listening to music constantly while studying mathematics in college. Math and music are awesome together!”
After college, Reinhardt took a break from music but returned decades later.
“I decided in my mid-30’s, after not playing an instrument for about 20 years, to give the cello a try,” Reinhardt said. “I’d never touched a string instrument before! It’s a bit of an experiment that’s been going on for nearly ten years now. I take lessons with another extraordinary teacher now, Cora Kuyvenhoven, who plays cello for ProMusica.”
Reinhardt finds his changing musical choices interesting and infinite possibilities with music exciting. He plays music that inspires him from Bach to Bourrees.
“I love the music of Bach, and I’m currently working on various movements from Bach’s Cello Suites and I’ve recently begun to tackle the Bourrees from Suite No. 3,” Reinhardt said.
Reinhardt plays when he can and has participated in school events as well.
“I play mostly solo pieces, but every once in while, I find an opportunity to play with others. I’ve been fortunate to play several times at graduation with our incredible high school orchestra, for example, and I hope to do that again this year!,” he said.
The largest struggle for him is to find the time to play because there’s never enough, but finds playing enjoying and fulfilling when he does.
“Patience, problem-solving, creativity, humility, persistence, advice, and fun are important aspects of music,” Reinhardt said.
Besides music, Reinhardt spends his day cycling, playing mandolin, computer programming and pursuing many other interests when he is not being a husband and a father to three children.
Even with his interests, he wants his students to know that he cares deeply for them.
“As your teacher, I sincerely want the best for each of you,” Reinhardt said.
Writing Right: Laura Moore
“I was always reading, but my passion for reading was never as great as my passion for writing,” Moore said. “My second grade teacher would give me assignments to write bedtime stories for her children after I finished my work. She gave me a purpose. From then on, writing has been a major part of my life.”
In high school and college, Moore was a student athlete so writing was left for breaks until she graduated and moved to New York City.
“Between quarters, I would write furiously. When I lived in New York, I felt a surge of inspiration,” Moore said. “I would sit in the cafes at night and write. That’s where I started writing my first novel.”
After her first year teaching, Moore wrote a memoir about her time in Italy in a creative writing course. Moore enjoys being able to write the stories and explore new perspectives.
Last year, Moore took the year off to focus on writing. After having her son, she had lost her free time and her husband suggested using the year to learn about publishing, new writing techniques, and improving her writing.
“I would sit in my chair from eight to four to work and sometimes skipped lunch. It was great to work steadily on a project, without having to take breaks in between,” Moore said. “I am in the process of editing my first novel.”
Moore appreciates the time she had off and is searching for ways to continue writing. Currently, she writes during her winter and summer breaks.
“I thought I would have to hold off writing for many years but I was given this gift of a year writing. However, writing is now on hold because of family and students,” she said.
From her time off, she found new methods to teach her students. She learned that the process of brainstorming, outlining, and drafting isn’t always how writers write in the real world. She has also begun to use different outlets for her assignments.
“I want to find authentic audiences, like creating blog posts instead of just a flat sheet of paper to hand to a teacher for a grade. I loved writing a blog to interact with other people quickly and see people share my work. Unlike the publishing world which takes a long time; one piece of mine took eight months to print,” Moore said.
Moore understands that not everyone likes writing, but thinks it should be a skill that everyone masters.
“I hope people come out of my class knowing how to write coherently because they all have something important to say and words are a tool to express their ideas,” Moore said.
Breaking Stereotypes: Christopher Hayes
After experiences with Mexicans, Hayes knew that he wanted to further explore Spanish.
“When I was little, I had a family friend who was bilingual,” Hayes said. “We started having an influx of immigrants from Mexico and two students came into class and knew zero English.”
In college, Hayes studied abroad in Mexico where he studied Spanish at a local school and lived with a family there.
“Ever since I did that international trip, I almost only go international when flying,” Hayes said. “I love seeing the culture and the world and seeing how people live doing the same things done but in different ways. It changes you and the way you are.”
Recently, he returned from another trip to Mexico over winter break where he relaxed on the beach. Hayes has spent time in nine countries, and has plans to visit more in the future.
“I’ve been to Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Antigua and the Dominican Republic,” Hayes said. “I would love to get to South Africa and Ghana, and I would love to get through South and Central America.”
While traveling, he enjoys breaking his preconceived notions about a country or its people.
“Mexico is not a third world country. The people in Mexico are hardworking and have the same things that we do here,” Hayes said.
To Hayes, traveling is not limited to what is in the brochure but also living with the locals and experiencing what they do in the day-to-day lives.
Hayes encourages students to immerse themselves in the culture through traveling, being open minded or learning a new language.
“I want my students to learn from other people,” Hayes said. “The more you know about other people the more powerful citizen you will become and the more easily you can climb the ladder of success to understand other people and cultures.”