Professor Kroot
"Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Professor Kroot 
When I was in my junior year in high school, I had a tough science class with a teacher who was even tougher. Professor Kroot was short, bald and wore a white lab coat, with a red bow tie and black horned-rimmed glasses. Professor Kroot had a great-looking head. He looked like he was born bald. Oh, wait a second... Anyway, his voice boomed like a cannon shot, and you didn't want to be in the line of fire when he was mad.

On the first day of class, Professor Kroot handed out index cards and asked each student to write their full name and birth date on the card. When the cards were handed back in, he announced that each student would be required to bake a cake for his or her birthday. "Bring enough for everyone," he bellowed. "And bring candles, plates and forks and milk, so we can all sing 'Happy Birthday' to you." Most of the kids, including me, had never baked anything, and no one wanted to be embarrassed in front of the whole class.  We soon realized that there were benefits to this arrangement; namely, that we got to have birthday cake nearly every week of the whole semester.

Professor Kroot was one of those teachers who present a tough exterior but was really a good guy once you got to know him, as long as you didn't get too far out of line. He had two facial expressions, stern and joyful. He loved to laugh, loudly. He did everything loudly. Professor Kroot was the sponsor of the ski club and took all the kids on a bus trip up to Mammoth each year. He kept us under control, but the emphasis was on having a good time.

When my birthday came around, I went to the store with my mom and bought three boxes of cake mix and chocolate frosting. There were over thirty students in the class, so I had a lot of cake to bake. Yet, aside from a slight burn on my forearm and a little bit of lopsidedness, the cake turned out pretty well, and I learned to bake and I have Professor Kroot to thank for it.  Oh, and I did learn some pretty cool stuff about science too.
- Hank Frazee, Author of  Referral Upgrade   and  Before We Say "Goodnight"
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