Humans of MC: Andrew Thompson, Mr. Luther, Ms. Semling, Catherine Collins

Caroline Brockman '17, Writer

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 It’s time for another edition of HOMC!! Check it out:

Andrew Thompson


What was the highlight of your XC season?

Definitely MCALS. The boy’s team got fifth out of tenth, and that was really good for us.

What are you looking forward to as a sophomore?

Running cross-country again, which is always fun. And new classes!

What’s your favorite cafeteria food?

Well, at the beginning of the year, it was the chocolate chip muffins. But I ate so many I got sick of them, so now I would say the pasta.

How much history does your dad speak about at the dinner table or during car rides?

A lot. A lot of history that I don’t understand. It’s gotten to the point where I just nod my head when he’s talking and say, “yeah.”

Would you rather have the power of invisibility or flight?

I would definitely say flight – it would be really fun to fly everywhere. I wouldn’t have to have my parents drive me, I would just fly.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and who would you bring?

I would go to Hawaii, and I would bring two of my good friends Ben and Nick. The beaches there are awesome, and I love swimming. I went there once in fourth grade, and I’ve always wanted to go back.

Mrs. Semling


What were a few crazy memories from your MC days?

Well it was the Eighties, so I have a lot of crazy memories. Certainly one of them was being taught by Mr. Thompson – I can still remember him jumping off his desk. We didn’t have many electives then, and he taught a World Literature class, so that was a fun elective to take. Our principal at the time, Don Ritchie, used to raise money by doing a “Dr. Digesto Show” in the gym. We would throw money to the floor while he dangled worms and other live edible critters in the air and consumed it all. And some of my most wild memories were from the Wilderness Club. I repelled off 300 foot cliffs, snowshoed into the backcountry of Yosemite, learned to rock climb and scuba dive. The wilderness club was probably one of my most favorite parts of high school.

What was one of the best experiences from your Theology 9 classes?

Oh, I love Theology 9. Well last year, we were a great class of singers, so we always just belted it out in song.

What is your favorite place to eat lunch on campus?

At lunch, I am usually with students in the campus ministry office, but my favorite place on campus is definitely Don Ritchie’s bench, near the chapel, with a view of Mt. Tam.

Where is the most beautiful church you ever visited around the world?

I would have to say the Hermitage at Big Sur. It is a simple rotunda chapel where you pray with the monks. Sunlight comes through the center of the rotunda straight down to the altar. The monks’ singing is so beautiful. It takes you to heavenly heights.

If you could have a day with Pope Francis, where would you take him/what would you do?

Well, I have this fantasy that I’m in the Sistine Chapel, surrounded by Michelangelo’s paintings,  and for some reason, it’s raining and it’s just me there. Pope Francis shuffles by and we start to talk, so it’s just the two of us hanging out in the Sistine Chapel. We could pray, and together be in the beauty of Michelangelo’s artwork.

What is a Christmas tradition in your family?

For the past 35 years or so, we get together with the entire extended family, approximately 60-75 people, at the Fairmont Hotel for lunch. We all bring gifts for a charity. Each generation sits at their own table. Every year I seem to get closer and closer to the “old people” table. My favorite table is toddler table. There’s nothing like a bunch of unsupervised three year olds eating together to get you in the Christmas spirit!

What was a favorite vacation as a kid?

When I was fourteen, my family bought a Volkswagen Camper van in Frankfurt, Germany, and the four of us LIVED in that van for six weeks as we toured Europe.  I can remember running down the hills of the Untersberg in Salzburg, Austria, with my sister Erin, singing the Sound of Music songs, strolling around the ruins of Rome, and being amazed at the works of Michelangelo in the Vatican.  My mom, who was the acting family tour guide, had us going in and out of every church and cemetery across Europe, until the day my dad rebelled and said he was going to a cafe for an espresso and the Herald Tribune. By the fifth week, we landed in Paris and were more than a bit tired of living in a car together, so my parents splurged for hotel rooms. They put my sister and I in a different hotel (across the street) and gave us twenty francs, and said, “See you two girls tomorrow”.  Finally, alone and away from the parents, Erin and I found a McDonald’s in the Latin Quarter and dined there. It’s a trip I’ll never forget, and one that instilled a thirst for travel, art, faith, and adventure in me.

Catherine Collins


Describe a really embarrassing moment from high school.

Mr. Hamel was telling us about how when he lived in Japan, the Japanese had many stereotypes for caucasians, and one of them was that people smelled like milk. He told us that daily he would get comments referring to his “milky” scent. It was Friday, G Block, and without thinking, I just yelled “you smell like milk too?!” You could hear a pin drop. Everyone looked at me. I felt like there was an explanation needed, so I said “well, my friend always tells me I smell like milk.” I don’t really know if I do… and I don’t know if that’s flattering.

What will you miss most about MC?

I’ll miss the people the most. During senior year, you get really close to a lot of new people. I’ll also miss my friends, and my teachers. Especially my teachers this year.

What is your favorite type of dessert?

I’m a big ice cream fan. Specifically, I love huckleberry ice cream. You can’t find it in California. The last time I had some was in Washington. A huckleberry is like a wild blueberry, which is how I picture myself if I were a fruit.

What is your dream job?

Since I was little, it has always been to work for National Geographic. To travel, to write, and to talk to new people.

When was the last time you laughed really hard?

Well, I laugh all the time so it’s hard to choose just one. But probably today during B Block when I was with Finn and Claire in the art room dancing to a song and watching cats jump away from cucumbers.

As a senior, what is your best advice for freshmen?

Carve your own path, and do something even if your friends aren’t doing it. That’s what I did with cross-country, and that’s how I met a bunch of friends–especially upper-classmen–freshman year.

What was your favorite TV show from your childhood?

Dragon Tales!

Mr. Luther

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Who was your favorite math teacher and why?

I never really had a favorite math teacher, I actually liked other subjects a lot more. My favorite subject in high school, Chemistry, was taught by my favorite teacher, Mr. White. I really liked that class more than anything else. I also really liked history as well.

If math is now considered your favorite subject to teach, what would be the second favorite subject to teach?

I would love to teach history. I would love to teach about the World War I and World War II eras. I love teaching math, but it would be great to teach something that’s more “human.”

You might be one of the most business like dressed teachers on campus. About how many ties do you own?

Oh boy, that’s a tough question. I probably have about 25 ties.

Where do you like to go for coffee?

I live in the Castro, and there are a lot of great places around there. I like to go to Philz Coffee and Peet’s Coffee too. At Philz they hand-make every cup of coffee. That’s usually where I’ll go if I want a really good cup.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Well, I’m not artistic or musical, but I do have a good memory. One year, my students wanted to test how good my memory was, so one day they gave me an eight-digit number to memorize. Each consecutive day, they gave me another (additional) eight more digits to memorize and add to the previous days’ numbers. I was able to memorize 64 digits. It’s helpful to have a good memory as a teacher because I don’t have to write a lot down when I take notes for myself.

What sports do you most like to watch?

Football and baseball. I played both sports in high school. I was better at baseball, but I think I like watching football more.

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