Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

History teacher loves to fly high

October 5, 2006

The next time you see a hot air balloon, grab your binoculars and take a closer look. You might see Lansing High School teacher Ben Doll flying the friendly skies.

Doll recently began his first year at LHS, where he teaches world history, American history and leadership.

When he's not in the classroom, Doll partakes in two of his favorites - history and sports.

A resident of Overland Park, Doll enjoys taking rides in his parents' hot air balloon.

They recently purchased a new balloon and gave Doll the old one.

Now all that stands between Doll and the clouds is a piece of paper.

"Technically speaking, if I would get my license, I would be able to fly a balloon," he said.

Doll's parents also launched his love for history.He remembers vacations to Gettysburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C., early in his childhood that made him want to learn more.

"When we did go on trips, we went to museums and they exposed us to that. I never thought it was boring," Doll said.

In the classroom, he urges students to pursue the history behind events in the media, especially those on the big screen.

"I was the kid that would go see that and think, 'Wow. This is really neat,' and then want to investigate it," Doll said.

He uses the recently released film "Flyboys" as an example. The movie tells the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron largely comprised of American fighter pilots who assisted the French Air Service during World War I.

"It's an action movie that some of the kids have seen. I try to let them know that this is actually history," he said. "You can kind of bridge that gap."

Doll previously taught for seven years at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.

He admits he wasn't sure the transition from teaching at a private school to a public school would be seamless.

But months after the change, he couldn't be more satisfied - in the classroom and on the court.

He's also an assistant boys basketball coach. Some day, he wants to be a head coach.

"The silver lining that has come out of that was how the great the school is, the kids are, this Leadership course, everything," Doll said.

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