The Mysterious Mr. McCulloch: An Interview Over Tea and Scones

The Mysterious Mr. McCulloch: An Interview Over Tea and Scones

Caroline Albacete and Maura Ward

       If you’re not a junior this year (or have Mr. Patrizio as your religion teacher), you might be wondering, “Who’s that guy in Ms. Colonna’s old room?  What is he doing there?  When will he leave – or is he staying for long?”  Well, two intrepid reporters here at the OC Eagle Eye have the answers to two of those questions for you. The mysterious man is Mr. John McCulloch, and he is teaching Junior Religion this year.  Our reporters had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Mr. McCulloch over tea and scones one afternoon last week (or, more accurately, sat down to participate in an engaging email exchange).  Caroline, the old pro and experienced Eagle Eye staff member, conducted the interview, while Maura, the rookie, stuffed her face with scones and took pictures.  They were the classic “good reporter, bad reporter” duo.The two began with a few simple questions to introduce their audience to the subject, as the following report states:

Reporters:    Where are you from originally?

MCC: I am from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, in North Huntingdon.

Reporters: Where did you attend college?

MCC: I received a private Catholic Benedictine liberal arts education from Saint Vincent College.

Reporters:   Why did you decide to become a religion teacher? Did you have a specific mentor or favorite theologian who turned you upon this path?

MCC: I feel called to teach religion and I connect with a lot of the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor.

Reporters:   Did you always know, even as a child, that you wanted to pursue religion, or did you want to be something else when you grew up?

MCC: What I wanted to be when I grew up changed a lot throughout my childhood.  In high school, when I rediscovered the beauty of my faith and the study of Theology, I knew I wanted to study and teach it.

Reporters:  Have you taught at any schools before OCHS, and if so, where?

MCC: I taught middle school for three years at Queen of Angels Catholic School, in Irwin.

        With the pleasantries out of the way, Maura and Caroline proceeded to ask the nitty-gritty questions, the crowd-pleasers, and the personal inquiries. They began with a simple question (What do you really think of OC, Mr. McCulloch?), and then the interviewers asked about his mundane preferences, such as his favorite movies (Hook) and song (The Church Clap). The interviewers had learned a bit of information about Mr. McCulloch’s favorites during the first week of school after he had played The Church Clap for their religion class and discussed the movie in great detail.

Reporters: How do you like Oakland so far?

MCC: I really like Oakland Catholic.

Reporters:  Why is Hook your favorite movie and The Church Clap your favorite song?

MCC: I like Hook because it is so funny, but maybe I also connect with Robin Williams’ character and his struggle to find his inner Peter Pan. I discovered The Church Clap because it used to be Andrew McCutchen’s walk-up song. I enjoy it because it is catchy, it makes going to church cool and, if you listen closely, it is a cautionary tale.

       Both juniors could not help but notice that Mr. McCulloch closely catalogues all of Andrew McCutchen’s walk-up songs. This observation was made after playing a round of Mr. McCulloch’s Jeopardy, which included a question about McCutchen’s current walk-up song, Bad Blood. The conversation hit a slow point as Maura asked Mr. McCulloch what exactly a “walk-up song” was (a song that plays as baseball players walk up to the plate and get ready to hit the ball – basically a theme song) and, as a follow-up question, what “baseball” was (a game played with a ball and stick that Mr. McCulloch is apparently a big fan of – the Pittsburgh Pirates appear to be his favorite team). The two sleuths then proceeded to wrap up the interview with two final questions, as reported below:

Reporters:  What is your favorite thing about teaching religion?

MCC: My favorite thing about teaching religion is attempting to witness Christ to others and having my students share Christ with me.

Reporters: Have you participated in mission trips before, and if so, do you have a favorite trip or place to volunteer at?

MCC: I have had the pleasure of being a part of many mission trips.  My favorite trip by far was a Saint Vincent trip to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity at Kalighat in Calcutta, India.

As the interview wrapped up, Caroline had to leave for field hockey practice, so she, Maura and Mr. McCulloch put on their sunglasses and exited the “tea house” (read: email exchange) as equals.

       The two reporters learned much about Mr. McCulloch through this interview, and the OC Eagle Eye staff hopes that our audience also feels closer to the mysterious Mr. McCulloch after reading this article. When you pass him in the halls, be sure to say hi to him and welcome him to OCHS!