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English teacher Anatoly Alexeeff writes original songs on his guitar and has played many different bands. photo by Mauricio Vargas

Brandon Chin

Staff Writer

Cal High is full of unique teachers who have interesting lives outside of school few students know about.

With hobbies ranging from worldwide travel to polishing rocks to playing the guitar, some Cal teachers just don’t live the normal life.
Spanish teacher Jamie Brindley and history teacher John Chilcott were first brought together by their love for traveling.

When the two first began dating, Brindley was about to take a trip around the world and Chilcott was heading to Turkey and Europe for the summer.

After they married in 2006, their love for travel has taken them to many places around the globe.

“ I have traveled to all seven continents,” Brindley bragged, knowing Chicott has yet to visit Africa or Antarctica.

Chilcott enjoys visiting historical sites during their travels while Brindley enjoys eating different foods, and seeing many cultural lifestyles.
Brindley loves traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Just last Christmas the two spent their holiday in Spain.

While traveling can be expensive, Chilcott and Brindley said that they can afford these extravagant trips because they make traveling a priority. The two would rather save for a trip than buy material goods.

“We base a lot of our trips on friends that live in other countries,” said Chilcott.

Traveling to visit friends saves money since they don’t have to worry about paying for a place to stay. In fact, the next trip they are taking is to visit a friend who lives in the British Virgin Islands.

“A little bit of sun and fun,” said Chilcott of the upcoming vacation.

Though the travels are fun, they also help the two realize how fortunate they are at home.

“It makes me appreciate how much I have in the U.S.,” says Brindley.

Although not a world travler, musically gifted English teacher Anatoly Alexeeff also stands out among Cal’s staff as a self-taught guitar player.

After learing to play in college from the Internet, Alexeeff, now plays a variety of music, ranging from indie rock to folk music to blues.

“What inspires me most about playing the guitar is that it is a way to express myself which doesn’t have any guidelines,” said Alexeeff.

He has always found that listening to music can help him brainstorm ideas for new songs. Having played in bands in the past, Alexeeff enjoys performing and recording his own original songs, singing along while he plays.

“I was kind of surprised,” said senior Ihla Larson, who has heard Alexeeff perform in class. “He can certainly carry a tune.”

With a true love for music, and quick fingers, Alexeeff shares his talent with students and concertgoers alike.

While Alexeeff has a more popular hobby, history teacher Kelly McCoy has a obscure one. She loves rocks.

Though many people never take the time to look at the details and textures in stones, McCoy always has time for rocks. She has been a member of the Castro Valley Gem and Rock Society for five years, and attends weekly meetings.

McCoy has always loved rocks but never knew how much beauty one could have until she went to a gem show in Concord and saw a man polishing petrified wood.

From that moment, McCoy knew that polishing rocks was something she wanted to do.

“(Her rocks are) something she’s very passionate about,” said Blake Daylor, a senior in McCoy’s economics class.

McCoy polishes her rocks at the society, which gets its supply of rare and extraordinary rocks through generous donations from other lifelong collectors.

Although she is not like most rock collectors, McCoy has loved rocks since the day she was born, and has found a way to turn that into a hobby.

Staff writer Haley LeDuc contributed to this story.