Mr. Newkirk and the WashinGTon Wizards

As a boy, I had the opportunity to attend WashinGTon Elementary School (“GT” stood for “gifted and talented.” It was a magnet school, which begs the question “What the hell was I doing there?”).

Fun fact: WashinGTon is actually on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Another fun fact: our mascot was a wizard. This was especially interesting to me because around the time I went there the NBA team in DC changed its name from the Bullets to the Wizards.

An NBA team named after my elementary school mascot?! If only.

Now those were the days.

The days of Timberwolf and Macaroni and Cheese crayons.

The days of Kid Pix, Tubthumping and gaudy-as-hell NBA jerseys.

The days when South Park was just winding up and the Disney Renaissance was just winding down.

(Yes, it was the 90s).

The days…of Mr. Newkirk, 4th grade teacher, former UNC football player (as an NC State fan that was tough for me to deal with) and storyteller extraordinaire.

One time he told the class about a guy that hit his dog while driving a van and broke the poor pooch’s leg. After trying to saw off the part of the bone that was sticking out, he went to Michaels and got paper mache material. He then formed a cast around the dog’s leg. Several weeks later, he took it off and the leg was as good as new.

I don’t know if it was a TRUE story or not, and I’m not sure I would ever want Mr. Newkirk to be a veterinarian, but it certainly was an interesting story.

He also told us a story about his 6th grade teacher, Ms. Revill “Devil.” He said she would come to class with alcohol on her breath, and while she wrote on the board the students would shoot rubber bands at her. “Who was that, now?! Who was that?!” He would impersonate her in a high-pitched-raspy voice.

Again, I don’t know if it was TRUE, but that story still makes me laugh 20 years later.

Looking back, I seriously wonder if he was just making shit up to see if we would actually believe it.

Mr. Newkirk also liked to play football with us during recess, which was a treat for sure. I mean, a former college football player slinging the pigskin with someone like me? It was kinda boss.

I just wish he had spent more time playing football and less time checking my homework.

Still, even 20 years later, Mr. Newkirk is my all-time favorite teacher.

And WashinGTon is my all-time favorite school.

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