International Teachers of Mystery

Teachers are simple beings. They come to school, teach some stuff, grade some papers, and then go home. Lather, rinse, repeat- right? Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, teachers have lives outside of school and did not in fact come out of the womb as teachers.


Name: Lisa Malicoate

What you know: Formerly Ms. Lahmeyer, teaches vocal music

What you might not know: Has played in and directed a German Polka Band (known as a “blaskapelle”) for seven going on eight years.

         “Lahmeyer is my maiden name so I have German Heritage, when I found out there was a German American Society band, I said ‘That’s cool!’” says Malicoate . “I thought it was fun, something kind of off the wall. It gave me an outlet to continue playing music.”

Malicoate juggles being a parent, a teacher, and a band member all  at the same time.

     “The month of October I played twenty-seven gigs,” says Malicoate. “You’ve got to have a schedule book.”

Malicoate pulls out a large, well loved schedule book with all shapes and sizes of Sticky Notes peeking out from the pages within.. She turns to the month of October, where not one blank space could be found. Though Malicoate admits the life of a blaskapelle member can at times be quite hectic, she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Name: Philip Jullien

What you know: Teaches physics

What you might not know: Worked with nukes in the Air Force, figure-skated in Montana, flew to Alaska to work in a fish cannery.

“It was about 1986 when I went through missile training over in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,” says Jullien. “I pulled a tour at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. We worked with nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

Julien was a second Lieutenant in the 12th SMS (Strategic Missile Squadron) , but that’s not all he did while in Montana.

“I was single and I just wanted to do a lot of working out,” says Jullien. “I would run about eight miles a day and I would do about three hours of working out at the ice skating rink. That would include things like figure skating, but also jumps and stuff like that.”

Jullien’s sophomore year of college when he knew he was going into the military he decided to take a trip up to Alaska to make some money working in a fish cannery.

“I worked in the fish canneries up there, there were a lot of hours, but I made some good money,” says Jullien. “ After that, I hitchhiked up to Denali National Park to go see Mount Denali.”


Name: Sarah Whipple

What you know: Is a Latin Teacher

What you might not know: Is a certified water aerobics teacher

Sarah Whipple traces her water aerobics roots back to when she had just moved to Jenks, fifteen years ago.

“My family and I moved in across the street from a woman named Hebrona, Hebbie for short,” says Whipple.

Hebbie introduced Whipple’s mother to water aerobics as a way to heal her injured knee. The Community Center where classes were held had to have at least two people show up for water aerobics to be able to teach the class. On days when the instructor knew there wouldn’t be enough people to have class, she would call Whipple’s mother and tell her to bring Whipple along with her.

“I got to know the instructor and her family well enough that when they needed someone to cover a couple of classes, I would cover a couple of classes,” says Whipple.

Eventually, Whipple obtained her certification and began her part time career as a water aerobics instructor. She now teaches not only at the Community Center, but at Jenks as well.

“The biggest stigma you have to fight with water aerobics is the idea that it’s only for the elderly or the infirm,” says Whipple. “Just because it’s a low impact a workout, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy workout.”

Water aerobics has all the benefits of a traditional “gym workout,” but without any of the stress on the joints. Whipple says the water acts like a “Patrick Swayze” of sorts, always there to lift you up and down.
Name: Karen Workun

What you know: Is an English 11 and AP Language teacher

What you might not know: Turns incarcerated women into poets

    “We send groups of female volunteers to Mabel Bassett, the maximum security prison, to David L. Moss, the Tulsa County Jail, and to Eddie Warrior in Muskogee, where a lot of the women are preparing to re-enter society.”

Oklahoma has the highest per-capita female incarceration rate in the world, and the goal of the organization with which Workun volunteers, called “Poetic Justice,” is to enable these women to express their feelings and past traumas through words.

         Workun has been volunteering with Poetic Justice for many years, and she assists with providing safe spaces for the women, guiding them through breathing exercises, and coaching their writing.

         “Our motto is when the voiceless one finds her voice, she finds hope. And with hope comes the power to change,” says Workun. “When you find yourself in prison, you’re a number, you’re a jump suit color. We help them find their identity again and their self worth.”


Name: Shelby Rine

What you know: Is an English teacher

What you might not know: Teaches English in Thailand and is a black belt in Taekwondo

Rine, a quadruplet, grew up with a Taekwondo instructor for a father. She and her siblings have been immersed in the Taekwondo world for as long as she can remember. Though she did not continue with her training into her adult life, she still holds the title of first degree black belt and all the character traits that obtaining it instilled in her.

“It’s not just about protecting yourself…it’s learning how to behave in a society in a way that is above standard,” says Rine. “People think that in Taekwondo you just learn how to punch people and break bricks, but you also learn how to open the door for someone and how to help someone in need.”

Rine believes strongly in helping others. Before becoming a teacher at Jenks she was a Conversational English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. She describes Thailand as being almost an entirely different planet compared to America, but fell in love with the food, the culture, and the people of Thailand nevertheless.

“Sometimes I go to Asia to teach for two weeks…or sometimes it’s for several months,” says Rine. “I have a lot of connections at this point in life. I have a lot of friends here and I have family here, but I also in many ways feel like I have a lot of friends and a second family overseas.”

Rine resonates with her students here at Jenks that are not from America, because she knows what it is like to be living in a place you don’t call home. Rine loves the opportunity to connect with these students and credits her understanding of people to living and teaching overseas.


Name: Clifton Raphael

What You Know: Teaches film

What You Might Not Know: Hosted a kid’s T.V. show

Raphael began his twenty-four year career in the television industry straight out of college. He earned his rite of passage by doing odd jobs at a small T.V. station in Virginia; eventually, he was directing the newscasts.

“You were behind this big computerized console,” says Raphael. “These things were a quarter of a million dollars. You were basically putting up all the technical stuff, all the video and various shots of the reporters and anchors.”

In addition to his work behind the camera, Raphael also had a significant role on screen. Once a week, he would host a children’s show in which people with interesting professions were brought in so kids could see what they do for a living.

“One time we had a person with exotic animals come in, and one of the animals he brought in was a boa constrictor,” says Raphael. “I remember looking down and seeing that the boa constrictor had wrapped itself around my waist. And so I asked him, ‘Is that going to be a problem?’”

    Thankfully, Raphael survived the kid’s show long enough to advance his television career even further.

“I got a much better job offer at a station in Memphis, and there I did all directing related stuff,” says Raphael. “I directed live studio wrestling…we were the last T.V. station in the country that was doing that live.”

To describe the behind the scenes of television as “hectic” would be putting it lightly. Staying on schedule for a normal broadcast was hard enough, but sometimes, due to breaking news stories, the entire script would be thrown out the window.

“For a high school newspaper, I’d rather not say the particular kind of language that helped me deal with that stress,” laughs Raphael. “I so miss the people I worked with, but I so do not miss the stressful environment.”

By Jett Millican and Olivia Hurd

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