Brigham City, Utah
Cheesemaker, goat raiser, language arts/Spanish eighth- and ninth-grade teacher
Why did you get into cheesemaking?
I have a very frugal husband and my love of cheese didn’t fit with that. I decided to get goats and make my own.
Is it easier or harder than people think?
It’s a simple process and tastes way better than anything you can buy.
Goat raising can’t be all that easy, though, right?
Goats are a blast! They’re like big, friendly dogs.
What’s your favorite cheese to make?
Mozzarella, because during the final step you stretch it like taffy.
Favorite cheese to eat?
Feta! There’s nothing as tasty as fresh, warm feta.
If you had only one day left on Earth, what would your last meal be?
Slow-roasted pork roast, asparagus, roasted new potatoes with rosemary, and tiramisu.
Do you ever teach your classes about making cheese?
Last year in my reading class, we talked about non-fiction. As an example, I brought in a cheese-making process book.
I worry that my students are totally unaware of where their food comes from. I talk about sustainable agriculture and local food all the time. I’m sure they think I am a total freak!
Brooklyn, New York
Maori fire dancer, middle school social studies and English teacher
How did you get into fire dancing (also known as fire spinning)?
In college, I performed with the Gamma Phi Circus (the oldest collegiate circus in the United States), and ever since I’ve been into circus arts.
Ever been burned?
My hairdresser is making a fortune from all the times I’ve burned my hair!
Coolest performance or experience?
Three way tie: Performing for a Hasidic Jewish wedding with my hair and body fully covered; in the snow on a Brooklyn rooftop; and at Burning Man [Reno, Nevada] with hundreds of other fire spinners.
Why fire? Why not regular batons, or, say, juggling?
Fire gives an adrenaline rush!
Do your students ever ask to try?
We put rice in the ends of long socks and learn some spin patterns, but I don’t mention the fire. (Watch Thiele perform)
Barbershop quartet judge, middle school music teacher
How did you get into barbershop quartet judging?
Due to a medical condition, I can no longer sing professionally. God opened another door for me.
When did you start barbershop?
I have been a Barbershop Society member since 1978.
What’s your favorite tune to sing?
The National Anthem. My quartet sang it for the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Pistons, and several minor league teams.
Is barbershop a dying art?
Like some organizations today, membership is declining. However, we are still 20,000 strong and in many countries.
What’s the coolest experience you've ever had?
One was being elected to the Pioneer (Michigan) District Hall of Fame. I thought you had to be 80 or dead! I’m neither.
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