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Lab Coat Legend

It was the first day of school. The heat was getting to me and so was walking up the stairs to room 607. My next set was Environmental Sustainability, a new class at Christian Brothers. There I saw Mr. Tom Edwards in pants, a button-up, and his infamous lab coat. I wondered how he wore […]

It was the first day of school. The heat was getting to me and so was walking up the stairs to room 607. My next set was Environmental Sustainability, a new class at Christian Brothers. There I saw Mr. Tom Edwards in pants, a button-up, and his infamous lab coat. I wondered how he wore that and did not die of a heat stroke. As any teacher on the first day of school does, Mr. Edwards gave an introduction about himself. But his introduction was like no other, as he described his adventurous life so nonchalantly as if it was like every other teacher at CB had lived a life like his.

Let me tell you — every teacher at CB has NOT lived a life like his. 

Mr. Edwards teaches Biology and Environmental Sustainability, but before he arrived at CB, he taught grades from kindergarten all the way to seniors in a variety of subjects, which include world history, math, science, and even physical education.

Fresh out of high school, Mr. Edwards went to the California Maritime Academy, where he got his degree in engineering while also becoming a certified welder, pipe fitter, machinist, and electrician. Because of all his impressive qualifications, he became a troubleshooter on a ship and shortly after got promoted to working on nuclear submarines. Working on nuclear submarines, he received a security clearance, allowing him to go on secure and top secret facilities in the United States.

Not only was Mr. Edwards spending his time underwater, he was traveling to all sorts of places during his life, as he began his work as a troubleshooter on power plants.

“I have traveled to all of South America, all of Western Europe, different parts of Asia, some of Africa, as close as you can get to the North Pole, and I was outposted in the Antarctic, basically any place except the Soviet Union and Communist China because the government wouldn’t allow it with my security clearance,” he nonchalantly says. 

Even with traveling, Mr. Edwards still had found time to go back to school, as his work would send him to colleges to get even better at his job.

“I went to Harvard for business background, and I went to Princeton for business background as well but more financially oriented. I also have attended the University of Hawaii to study business in the Pacific Rim and I went to a couple of junior colleges.”

Mr. Edwards has already lived a pretty full and impressive life before teaching at CB. He retired from his engineering career and went to St. Mary’s College for credentials in education in multiple subjects.

He had already retired from being an engineer as well as being a public school teacher. That was until CB caught his eye. From being at St. Mary College, Mr. Edwards was familiar with the Lasallian philosophy from his time at St. Mary’s. “The Lasallian philosophy is great because it recognizes, unlike public school, that there’s a whole aspect of teachings of kindness and respect beyond the academic aspect.”

According to Mr. Edwards, even after you have seen and been everywhere else in the world, CB is still the place to be. 

Many people know that Mr. Edwards teaches the Environmental Sustainability class, but what they don’t know is that he actually helped create the entire curriculum. He was motivated to create the class because he claims that “so many people just look at the primary issue of global warming and there’s so many things that radiate from that that are troublesome too. Students don’t realize that there’s so many things we could do. It is nice to be an advocate to try and spread the word.”

In the class, you not only learn about the ways to help create a better planet but also the basics of engineering and design, while of course also listening to Mr. Edwards’ interesting stories.      

Mr. Edwards, brimming with fruitful stories, is often the most energetic in class. I have only had him as a teacher for about a month, and he is already the teacher of the class I am most excited to attend everyday. Mr. Edwards is humble when talking about everything he has done with his life, even though there is no reason for him to have this humility. CB is truly blessed to have such a fascinating teacher on campus.

So anytime you see a man in a lab coat, say hi and ask him a question about his life… you’ll be happy you did. 

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