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By making his home in a refurbished school bus, Erik Brohaugh, a mathematics and physics teacher in Prinsburg, Minn., is teaching his students a real-life lesson about subtraction.

"Life is a lot more than possessions, accumulating things, and making money," said Mr. Brohaugh, who teaches at the 150-student Central Minnesota Christian School. "You can be comfortable with what you have."

A devout Christian, the 24-year-old teacher was living in a rented house when he realized that he could get by with a lot less. That was when, just over a year ago, he bought the bus and moved in.

Mr. Brohaugh, who is single, has added running water, a stove, and toilet to his abode. He does without a telephone and a television set. His lights, heater, and other appliances run on propane and a 12-volt battery.

His bus, which is parked on a friend's farm about three miles from his school, does tend to attract visits from students and curious locals, and most recently, local and national reporters.

Mr. Brohaugh must replace the engine before going on the road, but he doesn't expect a shopping spree when that time comes.

"I can always say no to buying things because I don't have enough space," he said during a phone interview at his school.

Trivia whizzes

After eight years of teaching high school history, government, civics, economics, geography, and sociology, Russell G. Curtis has a head full of facts, which he often calls on to bring the subjects to life for his students at Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School in Ripley, Ohio.

Later this year, his knowledge may be put to the test on national television. Mr. Curtis is one of 19 social studies educators who recently qualified to be contestants on the syndicated television show "Jeopardy."

Staff members from the high-brow quiz show conducted a talent search at the annual convention of the National Council for the Social Studies last fall. Nearly one in five of the 100 participants did well enough on a written test and mock game to enter the contestant pool. The ratio surpassed the national average of one qualifier per 20 hopefuls.

The success rate "speaks very well of teachers, especially social studies educators," said Mr. Curtis, who says his career has prepared him well for the game.

No word yet on whether the teachers will actually be asked to appear on the show. But Mr. Curtis is hoping for that phone call this spring.

--Robert C. Johnston & Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Vol. 18, Issue 25, Page 3

Published in Print: March 3, 1999, as Take Note
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