Mr. Kuras’s Farewell

Rich Kuras

Jaheim Carter, Reporter

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way? 

I like to cook my meals from scratch. I think home cooking is the healthiest way to go, and it is fun to try new recipes. 

Also, when teaching science, I like to teach how to use analog measurement before learning to use digital tools. I believe this helps to understand why things work the way they do. 

Something you have only recently formed an opinion on? 

All of my opinions are rooting in my belief system. I believe in science. I believe in taking care of myself and others. Being kind. Looking at all sides. Acceptance, patience, and grace. I believe in standing up for what is best for the group before what is best for me.  

I also believe that we as humans face an existential threat to the species to our mistreatment of the planet. The more I learn, the more I think our time is short. I believe we have surpassed the point of no return. The damage is done. The consequences are irreversible—just my opinion. 

What sparked your interest in teaching science courses?’ 

I was steered into teaching while I was a senior in biology at Oregon State University. I was the TA for the freshman Biology courses. I was working with my small group when the dean of the Science Education department observed me teaching. He recommended that I pursue a career in education. I did, and here I am. 

What’s one myth about physics that you find funny? 

That people who don’t understand something don’t believe in it. The idea that people suspend belief due to lack of understanding baffles me. I do not think it is funny, though. It troubles me that ignorance and belief systems are so closely related. 

Where is the most exciting place you’ve been to? 

A room is full of deeply engaged students. It sends shivers down my spine to be in the presence of motivated young people. 

The Grand Canyon was pretty cool as well. Not to mention Manhattan, Crater Lake, Glacier, Yellowstone National Parks, Sailing in the ocean, and raising children of my own. 

Do you find science an essential source of knowledge for today’s modern age? 

Absolutely. See my earlier response about ignorance and belief systems. 

How have you been? ( A self-help question about your mental, emotional, and social health) optional question. 

I have been doing very well during this pandemic. I have a great partner, so I am not alone. My home is big enough, and I have excellent technical skills and connectivity. I chose to stay one more year instead of retiring so that I could help staff and students. I have always said that learning is life long activity, and it is good to try difficult things. I would have been a hypocrite if I did not return this year and took the easy way out. I strive on challenges, both mental and physical. This year has been a challenge, and I feel like I have been successful in my goals of helping my colleagues and students. 

What is it the Lancer community can do to help through this year? 

Lakes staff has been excellent at supporting each other. The administrators have been proactive and supportive of the team as we struggle through this very steep learning curve. Teachers have been open about asking for help and generous with their time to help each other. Lakes is a fantastic place to work and learn. 

The same is true of the students. Some so many students reach out to each other and offer support, love, and acceptance. Lakes is a very diverse community and indeed a model for what society could and should be like. 

I am grateful to have worked here and will miss it when I leave.