Getting to Know Mr. Garris

An interview with Magnet’s newest history teacher!


Q: If you could live in any time period in history what would it be?

I studied the middle ages, so you might think I would say that, but the middle ages were not a pleasant time to live in. If I had to pick a time period other than today I would probably pick the late 19th century, very early 20th century, between 1870 and 1914. That’s the time when Barbara Tuchman described the western world as the “proud tower”, and I would say that that is a very appealing period to me because it is very modern, there’s a lot of modern technological advancements, but it retains a lot of the old culture and form of the old world.


Q: Have you met any celebrities?

I met Nikki Haley once when she was governor because I was at the Governor’s School and she came to visit and spoke with us.


Q: If you could watch one historical event happen live what would it be?

Probably the coronation of Charlemagne on Christmas day in the year 800 A.D. It was not meant to be Charlemagne’s coronation. He didn’t really know he was going to be crowned when he went to attend Christmas mass, and the Pope surprised him by plopping a crown on his head. That was a great change in European history and the birth of the Holy Roman Empire. 


Q: What is your favorite movie or TV show?

I’ve always been rather fond of the Lord of the Rings Series


Q: What is one word to sum up your first year at AMHS?

If we talk about last year, I’d say joyful.


Q: How would you compare your freshman classes to your junior classes?

I would say last year my junior classes tended to have themselves figured out to a larger extent. They knew what it was like to be at Magnet so we kind of dove right in, and the focus was on our class. My freshman, it was more about not only them learning how to be students in my class but also learning how to be students at magnet and adapt to this new experience. 


Q: What is your favorite hobby to do outside of school?

Well if we talk about my favorite in terms of what I most enjoy doing I would say traveling. I am very fond of traveling especially in Europe. If we mean on an everyday basis, I am very fond of video games.


Q: What was it like living and studying in NYC at Columbia? How different was it than Columbia, SC at USC?

New York was incredibly cool because of all the cultural opportunities there are in New York like you could just decide you wanted to go to the Opera and get cheap opera tickets. I would say I enjoyed the academic environment at the University of South Carolina more than I did Columbia. The Ivy League culture and high academia made for a less friendly environment.


Q: Do you have any words of advice for those new students in your class or future students?

I would say my best advice is to communicate with me because I always want to be here to support my students in any way I can and I can’t help if I don’t know help is needed. Sometimes I can see and find that you need help on my own, but other times I won’t know if you don’t tell me.