New Year Means ‘Happy Birthday!’ for Two Central High Teachers

MR. POTTER AND MR. STRICKLAND BORN ON THE NEW YEAR -- Mr. Edward Potter (Left) and Mr. Chip Strickland (Right) pose for a commemorative photo.

Brittney Hoang

MR. POTTER AND MR. STRICKLAND BORN ON THE NEW YEAR — Mr. Edward Potter (Left) and Mr. Chip Strickland (Right) pose for a commemorative photo.

Brittney Hoang, Staff Writer

On Jan. 1, the whole world celebrated the passing of 2016 and the arrival of 2017. Although everyone can wish anyone a Happy New Year, not many can say “Happy Birthday!” on New Year’s Day. Central High School is very honored to be able to wish two Central High School teachers a happy birthday on Jan. 1.

“I never have to work on my birthday!” exclaimed Mr. Edward Potter, Central High’s Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and Dual Enrollment teacher.

“I actually hated having my birthday on New Year’s in high school,” began Mr. Chip Strickland, Central’s physical concepts instructor. “I wanted to get my driver’s license, but since it’s a national holiday, I had to wait two days to get my license.”

Besides not having to work or ever go to school on their birthdays, there are some obvious detriments to having a New Year’s birthday in addition to having to wait for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to open.

“Since the whole family gathers for Christmas and soon afterwards leaves and go separate ways, we have always celebrated my birthday early so that everyone is there. My birthday and Christmas are celebrated on the same day,” explains Strickland. “This year, however, I went to the Universal Studio in Orlando, Florida for my Birthday (or New Year’s) and the Studio wished me and six others a Happy Birthday through the intercoms, so that was pretty cool.”

“I usually celebrate my birthday on the evening of the 31. As exciting as it is that a new year is starting, I am generally more excited about my birthday because all of my friends that I never usually am able to see often get together to celebrate my birthday, so it’s fun,” stated Potter. “One of the bad things about having a New Year’s birthday would probably be that my parents didn’t get to claim me for tax break, since it’s New Year’s Day and most of everyone is off of work, not to mention that December 31 is the last day of the tax year.”

Combining the excitement of two holidays into one day is bound to bring out some of the most “interesting” experiences that are remembered no matter how many years pass, be them little details or big events.

“I was the first baby born in Chattanooga in the year of 1967 at two a.m.,” recalled Strickland. “I remember on my 21 birthday, I wanted to drink beer for the first time, since I was of legal drinking age, but I quickly realized that I had left my driver’s license at home. I was really bummed out about that. The most memorable and probably the best thing to happen on my birthday was seeing my daughter’s birth. My grandfather and daughter also were born on New Year’s day!”

“I remember when the millennium rolled over. One thing that I remember very well is probably that one year where I accidentally cut one of my friends with the knife used to cut the cake,” reminisced Potter. “Thinking that the whole world is indirectly celebrating my birth is really… surreal is the only appropriate word here. Someone is celebrating hour on the hour, since it is twelve a.m. at a different time zone with every passing hour. It’s odd thinking about it that way.”

All in all, Central High School wishes a Happy Birthday and New Year to both Mr. Strickland and Mr. Potter as well as everyone who was born on New Year’s Day!