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McElhaney and Richard: Friends or Foes?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

By Retta Karpinski


It’s easy to emphasize the differences between McElhaney and Richard. They hold opposing views in the way they teach and in their political stances. Their humour also contrasts: Richard laughs at his own jokes, McElhaney gives off a more deadpan presentation. Their banter, although friendly in nature, capitalizes on their opposing viewpoints and personalities.

I asked both Richard and McElhaney to write a guest article for this newspaper. They both agreed with enthusiasm. Even so, Richard turned his in late. McElhaney was on time. I then asked them to switch and grade each other’s papers. McElhaney declined, saying “Richard is too sensitive.” Richard, again, was late getting back to me with McElhaney’s graded paper. However, his grading was detailed and McElhaney received an ‘A’.

Despite these seemingly endless differences, Mr. McElhaney and Mr. Richard have more in common than you’d think. Besides teaching AP U.S. History in adjacent rooms in the 1000 building, they both have booming, made-for-lecturing voices, and also, interestingly enough, large, framed photos of Reagan in both of their classrooms. Coincidence? I think not. They have a camaraderie that comes only from proximity and time spent together. Do Richard and McElhaney have a secret bromance?

That last one’s a joke. Yet the friendly and slightly competitive nature between them is undeniable after listening to mere seconds of their banter.

Their classrooms also have similar layouts and styling. McElhaney's room contains whiteboard quotes such as “poLITics” and pictures of Abe Lincoln, David Bowie, and his own dad. To describe his room, the word I would use is eclectic. Eclectic is also the word I would use to describe Richard’s room, with whiteboard quotes changing from mere knock knock jokes to the dates of the next Improv show. The various political slogans from throughout history that hang about his room (e.g. “All the way with LBJ”) also help to emphasize his heterogeneous collection. You can never be bored in either of their classrooms. Until they start lecturing…

I’m kidding on that one too. Another thing they have in common is their ability to captivate a room. Those loud, booming voices I mentioned earlier, have a lot to say and it’s always interesting. Although not always on topic (*ahem* Rich), they both have the ability to entertain their students AND slip in quality information.

So whether or not you believe in their bromance, it’s important to note the, dare I say, loving manner in which they boisterously interrupt and poke fun at each other. For you sophomores out there, I would highly recommend taking APUSH next year, if not for the content, for the teachers.

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