The Andersons of FHC balance comradery and chaos upon their last name

From+left+to+right%3A+Cal+Anderson%2C+Kimberly+Anderson%2C+Brad+Anderson.+Not+pictured%3A+Jon+Anderson

Ellie McDowell

From left to right: Cal Anderson, Kimberly Anderson, Brad Anderson. Not pictured: Jon Anderson

After Jon Anderson was hired to teach science at the high school in 1999, FHC claimed they’d never employ another teacher with the last name Anderson again.  

Because now that they had two Andersons in the building—Jon and social studies teacher Cal Anderson—it was confusing enough for the students and staff.  

“When I was here, it was just Cal,” Jon said, “and he said when they hired me, they thought they’d never hire another Anderson. And then, they hired Brad, then Kim.”

Before the Anderson clan—Jon, Cal, Kimberly Anderson, and Brad Anderson—came to be, ironically enough, there were more common last names sprinkled throughout the halls, whether a staff member or student. But looking at today, the last name Anderson has taken over. 

“We’re the number one name in the school now,” Jon said. “[It] used to be Smith; there were a lot of Smiths. And then there were a lot of Mills—there were four Mills at one time, all from the same family.”

However, when American Sign Language teacher Kimberly Anderson first began teaching here, she wasn’t an Anderson. She was Mrs. Williamson, her maiden name, until she married the science teacher, who is just a staircase away. 

“I get asked which one I’m married to almost daily,” Kimberly said. “And they usually pick Cal Anderson, and I’m like, ‘Nope!’”

When the rumors of potentially a fourth Anderson in the building started swirling, people tried to find out who was who without confusing them by their last names. 

“When people found out [Jon and I] were dating, there was a rumor going around,” Kimberly said. “They all thought it was Mr. Brad Anderson. They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s cheating on his wife; I thought they were married; oh my gosh, they’re getting a divorce.’ It was this whole thing about how Mr. Brad Anderson was supposedly getting divorced to marry me, and that’s when I told Jon: ‘We have to tell everybody; there are rumors going around that are awful.’”

I wish there were more [Andersons] in the building, like an army—the Anderson army.”

— Jon Anderson

But as the kids straightened out their facts and placed the correct name with the correct face, it became easier to define the different Andersons. 

But of course, an easy, fun way to differentiate these teachers had to be found; therefore, the students resorted to nicknaming.

“All of the Andersons have nicknames,” Brad said. “Jon is ‘Janderson.’ I know a lot of kids just call me Brad, maybe not to my face, but behind my back. It used to annoy me, but now, I’m fine with it. As long as they call me Mr. Brad or Mr. Anderson or ‘BA,’ it’s fine. But, if I hear them say, ‘Hey, Brad,’ on accident, [that’s fine too]. I think it’s hard to keep it all straight. I like ‘BA,’ I like ‘Branderson’—I’m [just glad] it’s not ‘Baldy.’”

As far as nicknames go, students still get easily confused when trying to virtually contact the right Anderson. In other words, emails are a nightmare for the four Andersons. 

“One time,” Brad started, “somebody emailed me a very apologetic letter about class and their conduct in class and how they were really sorry. I don’t know if they’d been caught cheating or something, but they were just really apologetic, and it was very heartfelt. I just emailed back [and was] like, ‘Wrong Anderson, I’m forwarding this on.’”

Despite the students’ disorientation with the Anderson clan, parents of FHC also often slip up when attempting to schedule meetings with the correct teacher who teaches the correct subject. 

When this happens, Brad is accustomed to it; therefore, he simply points the parents in the right direction so they can have a conference with the Anderson they were hoping for. 

“The worst is at conferences when a parent will sit down and be like, ‘I can’t believe my son’s doing so bad,’” Jon said. “And then, [they’ll] talk about home stuff, and I’m like ‘I don’t even have your child.’”

As bewildering as this may be for the high school community, the Andersons find nothing but comedy within it. Considering none of them are actually related besides the married couple, Kimberly and Jon Anderson, the other two have found joy in tricking students into believing they are blood-related. 

“I think there is sometimes a little light humor as far as the related Andersons,” Brad said. “[With] Cal Anderson, we’ve run with the joke that I’m his nephew. There’s just some comradery amongst the Andersons.”

Essentially, in the end, the consensus is the more Andersons, the better. The bond and banter the four have created off of their last names has drawn them closer as co-workers—even if it’s a tornado of disarray for others.  

“I think it’s awesome,” Jon said. “I wish there were more [Andersons] in the building, like an army—the Anderson army.”