Throwback Thursday- Teacher Edition: Byron Barrett

Madeline Smith, Staff Writer

Who is loved by everybody and loves to tell stories? That’s right, Mr. Barrett! Discover interesting details and read what the astronomy teacher has to say about his early life in high school and his college career.

What type of student were you in high school?

Non-existent.My senior year I only needed one credit to graduate, which was government, so I mainly worked.

What clique were you in?

I say this with great pride. I was a huge guy, but I think I was friends with pretty much everybody. I was friends with the  hippies, athletes, and nerds (although they weren’t called nerds back then.) The only I people I didn’t like in high school were bullies. I usually put them in their place.

What school activities were you involved in in high school?

Sports. All sports, although my main sports were football and basketball. I was in student government and debate but I bailed on both of those.

What kind of music did you listen to in high school?

Rock. Led Zeppelin; my favorite band by far. My senior year I would fall asleep listening to Pink Floyd’s Animals album. I also listened to Grand Funk Railroad, Rush, and Def Leppard.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I have so many of those but they’re just not school appropriate. I had a car wreck in the parking lot on my motorcycle. I felt very stupid and I boned my nice new motorcycle into a new car. The police showed up and started asking questions and there was a big crowd. Everyone was watching. It was a spectacle.

Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

Angelo State, University of Texas Austin, then back to Angelo State, I went from physics to business. Then I went to the University of North Texas and got a master’s degree in science with a physics major. Then I went to University of Texas at Arlington and got a PhD in electrical engineering. I was in school from 1978 to 1993, that’s 15 years.

What was the most memorable word of advice given to your younger self?

“Don’t put your money in the bank, buy the bank.” I made more money on that idea than the rest of my career. I would go to Dunkin’ Donuts and a man always came there dressed in overalls, at first glance he looked like he was worth two cents, but he was actually a millionaire. We would chat and kid with each other and he told me I’ll give you one piece of advice and that was what he told me.

What was your most memorable college experience?

I got to meet a lot of famous people. One that had a big impact on me was I got the chance to meet Kip Thorne. He was well known in the physics world and talked to me about cosmology. I also met Linus Pauling, he was a Nobel Prize Winner in physics. Even though I’m not great, I’ve met some great people. Wow, that’s a t shirt.

Did you always plan on being a teacher?

Never. I thought they didn’t know what they were doing. But Mansfield High School teachers do of course. I met some MHS teachers at a weekend course I was teaching at TCC. One of them asked if I’d ever considered being a high school teacher and I said no but my time at TCC was ending. I got a call and I met the principal. I was 40. My middle age crisis was teaching high school.