Same Seat, Different Hour: 155

Three students sitting in the same seat throughout the day couldn’t be more different


Samantha Joslin

     While these three students lead almost completely different lives, they all have one thing in common: they all sit in the desk five seats from the door, first row from the aisle in room 155. The room goes through two teachers and three grade levels during its seven class periods — and the seat is held by senior Alyssa Gaul, junior Calvin Howard and freshman Colby Johnston during three hours of the day.

     Gaul is the quintessential artsy girl. She is in theater, works at Michael’s and spends her free time painting and reading. Gaul occupies the seat during first hour IB English HL2, a class she loves. She is sandwiched between two friends and surrounded by familiar IB faces; her class time is spent delving into the text (currently, Shakespeare’s Macbeth) and talking “too much” during discussions.

     “I talk a lot in that class,” Gaul said. “I try to bring up interesting points that people don’t think of. I am a very talkative person, in general. When I get going about things I enjoy, I just can’t stop. (IB and freshman English teacher Benjamin) Pabst and I both see potential in literature to mean something more, and I like that. He also likes talking and discussing more than giving out homework, which I don’t need.”

     Outside of the classroom, Gaul explores her love of art in other ways. She’s been playing piano since middle school — when she started getting into theater — and now does singing lessons to complement both hobbies. Gaul is playing a lead in the upcoming NW play, Fools, so most of her time is spent practicing for that performance in the Greg Parker Auditorium.

     Majoring in English, going to art school or studying to become a director are all currently on Gaul’s radar, although she has yet to decide where she wants to attend college.

     “I need to do art, I love it,” Gaul said. “Reading is my fun, and also watching too much Netflix, which I feel like everyone does. I love being in plays, musicals, singing — anything you want to know about me relates somehow to art and literature.”

      Gaul’s love for books and reading is last on Calvin Howard’s mind, who finds his way to the seat in sixth hour. And this time, something else is different — Brett Mach, junior and senior English teacher, is at the front of at the front of the room instead of Pabst. They are studying The Scarlet Letter, which Howard hates with a passion.

      “English is boring,” Howard said. “I hate reading. Why would I want to read about other people’s adventures? I want to make my own.”

      According to Howard, his class time is spent joking around with Mach, falling asleep and complaining about The Scarlet Letter. Outside of 155, Howard participates in Ultimate Frisbee Club and varsity track and field. Beyond his athleticism and his ability to endure 55 minutes of English four days of the week, his greatest pride is his friendliness.

     “I’m the friendliest person I know,” Howard said. “I like to have a great attitude all the time; I don’t have time to be in a bad mood. My mantra is peace and love always. The effect you have on people is the greatest currency you have; I try to leave all people in a better attitude than when I met them.”

      As Howard said, he feels that time spent reading is time wasted. His goal for his life is to, quite simply, travel the world.

     “I want to go everywhere,” Howard said. “I want to climb Mount Everest, I want to surf the biggest waves in California, I want to go mountain biking in Chile, I want to snowboard in Alaska, I want to survive the wild. I just want to live.”

     Between these two hours is another very different story, the story of freshman Colby Johnston in fourth hour’s Advanced Placement English Language Composition. Instead of theater or frisbee club, Johnston has been in band playing trumpet since fifth grade and currently plays it for the NW band, along with playing football and hoping to do wrestling and track and field later in the year.

     “Band has just been one of those things I’ve found enjoyable no matter what,” Johnston said. “I’ve been able to find great friends through (band) who have played a part in who I am.”

     Despite the impact that band has had on his life, Johnston admits that his religion has impacted it more. He goes to church every Sunday morning and youth group every Sunday night, discussing with friends how the lessons they learned that day will be applied to their lives.

     “(My religion) impacts what I hold as true, my worldview, as well as how I approach different obstacles or challenges in my life,” Johnston said. “It has also been an area I can lean on when things aren’t going well.

     In contrast with Howard’s perpetually peaceful disposition, Johnston’s patriotism calls him to join the military after high school. He wants to be an aeronautical engineer — or, someone who develops air and space crafts — for any branch of the military.

    As passing bells ring and students shift from class to class, these three students, whether a seating chart placed them there, or friends called them over on the first day, or it was the only spot left when they arrived, found a place in the same seat. It’s hard to believe that students with a common thread connecting them every single day could be so different.