Meet Chris Dreeson, Intermediate Academic Director for Great Books-Stanford, and our Nerd for March! Chris is a teacher at Miami Beach Senior High School, and enjoys playing bass in his rock band and cheering on the Boston Red Sox. Chris invented the Great Books tradition of fountain-hopping – a free-time water sport similar to swimming, but in various fountains. Read on for the nerdy scoop on our most famous, fountain-hopping Academic Director: Relationship to Great Books: Current Academic Director and former Music Elective leader What are you reading right now: Corrections by Jonathan Franzen Nerdy fun fact: When I attended Northwestern, I was on a combined operatic (voice) and debate scholarship. To my knowledge, I’m the only “singing debater” to have attended Northwestern. Nerdiest Attribute: I consume books at an alarming rate. I also read them. Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien What project are you currently working on? I actually just finished recording some bass tracks for an upcoming album produced at Dungeon Recording in North Miami. How many (and which) fictional/dead languages do you speak? I speak English, but I’ve sung in Quenyan, the Elven tongue in the Lord of the Rings Favorite/least favorite word? Least favorite would be “schistosomiasis” (first encountered in the novel Lord Jim), favorite word would be “lingweenie” (a person incapable of producing neologisms). Which nerd in history would you most like to have a late brunch with? Wouldn’t mind having a late brunch with Mozart, the precocious little devil! Who was your first fictional crush?
Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca Which author would you want to write your story? Junot Diaz would do a great job. Who would win in a fight between Dumbledore’s Army and the Avengers? A trick question. Even if they were in the same time period and place, they would have no cause to fight each other. What are you most excited about teaching at Great Books Stanford this summer? I’m quite excited about devoting an entire week to the theme of social justice because I hope it will inspire the intermediates to take up their own local and national challenges regarding how to bring good into the world and right what is certainly wrong. What is your advice for new, Great Books campers? I think about what my own daughter said regarding her many years as a camper: making lifelong friends at Great Books. There will be many others, just like you, who love to read and consider bold ideas. Reach out to them and bond! What question would you like to ask next month’s Nerd of the Month? What is your most embarrassing moment? In my early years of teaching, I got my pants caught on a sharp edge of the new “white boards” in my classroom. But I didn’t realize that I had torn a rather large hole in my pants and my students certainly didn’t tell me. Every time I turned to write something on the board, my students were in hysterics. I simply thought I was having a good day by keeping them entertained. When I finally left my room to go to lunch, one of the other teachers pointed out the rather large hole by saying “Feeling the breeze today, Mr. D?” (in front of a large group of students). Chagrined, I clasped my pants together and casually backed out the cafeteria.