Aina: Thank you for meeting me, Mr. Mailand.
Mr. Mailand: Thank you for interviewing me. Now to get started.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the Alma/St. Louis, then the St. Johns, area. Fun fact: Mr. Crosby was born in the same hospital as I was 9 years apart from me. Who came first?
Aina: Uhm…moving on. How did you get to know Christ?
Mr. Mailand: Interesting question. I used to watch Billy Graham’s televised crusades when one day, I realized something missing in my life. I was going through a period of questioning, as well as being a troublesome youth/student. It gave me a reputation I decided I did not like, so I made a commitment to Christ and was determined to change some things as I moved to high school. There, I became more involved in a church youth group. This proved to be significant as the leader challenged several of us to deepen our pursuit of faith.
Aina: How about your education? And how’d you come to work for TPS?
Mr. Mailand: I went to John Wesley College in Owosso, Michigan. Since a major in history did not make much sense to me at the time, I took a generalist approach to my studies, receiving a major in Social Science and an enriching minor in Humanities. I also went to UW-Platteville and then, while on staff, took a job at Seattle Pacific University, receiving an M.Ed. on Guidance and Counseling-Emphasis in College Age.
A few years later, Mrs. Howat, who attended the same church and worked at the same school as I did, called me out of the blue one day and introduced me to TPS, which was starting a program I had experience with: Classical Track. I called her back and this is now my 10th year at TPS.
I teach AP U.S. History, AP World History, the upcoming History of Asia and the Middle East, Modern History, Literature, and Composition, U.S. Government and Economics, U.S History for High School, and World History.
Aina: We’re done with the facts, so tell me a little about your family.
Mr. Mailand: Brenda and I were married October 6, 1979 in St Johns, MI. We have lived in 5 states and currently reside near Grand Ledge MI on an 8-acre mini-farm that we have owned for 12 years. We have 8 children, ages 9-33, and 4 grandchildren, ages 1-7.
Aina: Wow, what a large family! Are you very extroverted?
Mr. Mailand: Actually, I tend to be reserved and introverted by nature. I have had to work at developing comfort in generally extroverted pursuits. I enjoy solitude when it can be had and can be fairly intense about things I consider important.
Aina: Nice! I’m very introverted, too. How about your favorites?
Mr. Mailand: One of my favorites is a good well-cooked, grass-fed steak. I like greens, reds, and blues. Goat kids are the most adorable animal, though I’m also fond of dogs. My two favorite books are the Myth of the Andalusian Paradise and How the West Won. As for movies, my wife Brenda loves it when we watch a romantic comedy together, which I realize is quite schmaltzy. I have watched the ending of the Shooter several times, which, though violent, reminds me of Kaleb Moten and his comment about finishing the AP US History Exam—“I felt like that guy in the movie who triumphantly walks out of the exploding building.”
As for my favorite verse—so many to choose from. I like 2 Timothy 2:15, which reminds me of a pastor who said the highest degree any of us can earn is “Approved Unto God,” 1 Peter 3:13-17, and Psalm 119:18, which I use when I pray.
Aina: How about free time? What do you like to do then?
Mr. Mailand: Free time? Is that a foreign language phrase?
Well, I like spending time with my family, reading, and coaching. I also like biking when I can. Recently, I picked up guitar again. Though terrible at it, I find it to be relaxing even though I can only play chromatic scales.
Aina: Ooh!! How about funny stories?
Mr. Mailand: I think the funniest thing took place several years ago during a Classical Track Year 3 session when I was accosted by my son Bryon [6 or 7 at the time]. He proclaimed “Dad, I need a gun!” Since my mic was open, the students heard him and the ensuing conversation. Of course, they immediately filled the Chat Box with all sorts of questions, advice, and guffaws.
When I asked him the reason, he explained there was a frozen animal in the pond enclosure. We wondered why he needed a gun for a dead animal, which he described as brownish gray and, demonstrating with his hand, about 18 inches big. “I think it’s a Woodpecker!!”
The most memorable comment in the chat explosion that followed was “Woodpecker Giganticus.” I suspect every student in that class remembers the day as younger siblings seem to know the story suspiciously well.
Aina: Haha! So Easter’s coming up–what do you like doing in this time?
Mr. Mailand: While we have not done this in a few years, one of my favorite traditions is the Passover Seder. For me, it provides greater depth and understanding of the Passion Week and Christ’s work—His resurrection is the climax of Passion Week.
Aina: Amen! And to conclude this interview, do you have anything to say to students/faculty?
Mr. Mailand: I continue to be amazed at the tools TPS has given us for the pursuit of education, which, like other things in life, can be taken superficially. Whether it’s God, family, friends, or paths of opportunity, pursue each with fervor for God. All great rewards begin with faithfulness in little things.
Aina: Thank you so much!
Mr. Mailand: My pleasure.