Department Offices, Ranked

by Abe Asher

Each department at OES has its own unique feel and personality, and we cherish and love them all.

I’ve had the distinct privilege of failing tests in the language and math offices, among other achievements, and before we start with the list, it’s important to know that this is much more a critique of the offices themselves than the teachers who inhabit them. Here we go.

1. History

I don’t think I’m just imagining that the history office’s ceilings and walls actually get more and more condensed as you go further and further back in the office – not that there is a lot of space to being with. I think of this walk as a sort of Chamber of Secrets mission, with CT Henry standing at the very back of the room waiting to crush you.

I think it’s a board-game/hit movie staring Meryl Streep as Deb Walsh, Michael Gambon as Corbet Clark, and that guy from the Mentalist as Mike Gwaltney waiting to happen. And no, there is no room for Kevin Bacon as he continues his quest to be in every movie ever made.

2. Math

I love that the math office has a little back-room available to torture students add extra space. Instead of adopting this proposed constitutional amendment and changing the voting system, I think we should throw all the Presidential candidates into the back room of the math office with a box of crackers and bottled water and have a Hunger Games-style competition with the winner getting the job.

Now that I’ve proposed that, I’d like to announce that I am officially not running.

3. English

The desks in the English office are strategically placed so teachers and onlookers alike can gaze at and worship the life-size statue of F. Scott Fitzgerald that is the main attraction in the center of the room.

Bonus points for adding Julie Sikkink to the office this year – the only time I’ve ever seen Julie get mad is when I, without thinking, made an off-hand remark that her Minnesota accent sounded like Michele Bauchman’s.

4. Area 51

Often overlooked, Area 51 isn’t where students who fail Life In Community go, rather, it’s where folks like Robin Schaufffler, Tom Handel, Myra Clark, Gisela Walitzki and others work.

I don’t have another joke here, sorry.

5. Main Office

If we ever decide to overthrow the administration, we are taking the main office first.

Thanks to Liz Harlan-Ferlo’s old office, the main office holds the record for Place I Have Taken Most Candy From In School. At this point, it looks pretty hopeless for other contenders.

6. Science

I was unable to get a comment on why Tanja Horvat’s main office is not in the main science office, but you can draw your own conclusions. Had Tanja’s workspace between the biology and chemistry labs been officially recognized by the board, it would have been hard not to put it on top of this list.

The best thing about the science office remains the chance I will run into Chad Gilton and have the chance to scream, “Go Aggies!” There are a lot of other fabulous people in that office, but the crushing weight of the material they teach keeps me away.

7. Language

There has been a lot of turnover in the language office in recent years, with Spanish, French, and Chinese all losing and adding new teachers.

Sadly for the casual observer, there isn’t a massive in-office rivalry between teachers of the three different languages with flags and barriers and cruel jokes, and everyone seems to get along amicably – even warmly. A real shame.

8. PE

Home of Head Basketball Coach Lauren Pratt and National Tennis Coach of the Year Coleen Davis (see what I did there?), among others, the PE office is at SPARC, an out-of-the-way facility that I will be visiting frequently in the spring.

SPARC is home of the OES Boys’ Tennis Team, or as I colloquially like to refer to it, Watching Matt Sipowicz. As sure as we’re having a horrible earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, we’re even surer that the roof at SPARC will cave in. It’s just a matter of when.

9. Technology

Without Jeff Sprague, former OES tech department head and Emeritus Head Of The Class of 2016, nothing is the same.

However, the tech department is in capable hands and the group holds the record for Most Run-Ins At Timbers Games With Members Of A Single Faculty Department, and that has to count for something.

10. Art

The mighty tag-team of the exquisitely mustachioed Cameron Jack (he is actually rarely exquisitely mustachioed, I just wanted to write that), a native Portlander, and Sue Jensen, who is a native of South Africa, the art office would be a ton of fun if either of its inhabitants could ever be found in it.

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