#FarrisStory: "controversial"

My brother was a year ahead of me in school and graduated high school in 2006. The graduation ceremony is where I was introduced to Dr. Robert Neralich.
My senior year I was having trouble with an elective math class I was taking where the teacher was very lack luster in their attempt to teach or even reach out to help students. I decided to give up in that class and, instead of waste my or their time, just skip it. I would invariably be lead to another class taught by Dr. Neralich where he accepted me in my plight. The first day I walked into his class, unannounced while skipping that math class, I told him I was skipping an elective math course to which he responded "My class has it's foundation in math!" where he pointed to a stack of math books holding up his desk. From that day forward I was finally enjoying a class, even if I didn't technically belong. He would read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, classic Chinese poems, show us Art from all over the world and play music from the far reaches of Africa. His class was "Asian Studies,' but he would rarely talk about Asia or have anything for us to study. He broke every rule the school had and made the class both entertaining and instructive about all the cultures he could. It was from this man that I learned that being "controversial" was not a bad thing. That being "controversial" meant nothing more than to challenge the status quo be different. He made sure that he taught us, if nothing else, that being different or "controversial" was not necessarily a bad thing. Every time I smoke a cigar; I'm leaning back with a glass and enjoying not being told what to do. Enjoy being "controversial."

- Daniel from Fayetteville, AR