The Man Behind the Stache

Observing Bobby Hawthorne’s Advanced Journalism Class at ILPC Camp


Emilee Guernsey

Author Bobby Hawthorne teaching his Advanced Journalism class at the ILPC Camp on Jun. 26.

Emilee Guernsey, Editor

As I sauntered into the Advanced Journalism class, I spotted the teacher crouched over a desk scrummaging through t-shirts. He had dusty gray hair and a soft white button up with glasses resting on the bridge of his nose. I boldly walked to him and asked, “May I observe this class?” Realizing this was probably way out of context to him and I most likely sounded like I was a crazed fan, I explained and stuttered, “I’m in the Online Journalism class. I need to write a story.” While I stared at his neatly combed, gray mustache, I began to feel intimidated. Why was I intimidated by a mustache?  

“Sure,” Hawthorne spoke.

I sprung out of my daze of his mesmerizing mustache, and discovered that he responded. I scanned his face a little more, and finally uttered, “Ok, thanks.”

He looked so familiar. I could not put together the pieces of the puzzle, so I wandered to the back of the room and sat next to a face I did recognize, my friend Anjali Sundaram, a girl with quick remarks ready to be sprung out and her signature style of comfortable attire.  

“What’s your teacher’s name?” I asked.

“You don’t know?” Anjali said back. With a shocked expression on her face, she told me. “He’s Bobby Hawthorne. You don’t know who he is?”

I had the face of Steve Perry when he found out he couldn’t sing, at least what I imagined Steve Perry’s face looked like. (It had to be similar to mine either way.) This teacher was Bobby Hawthorne, the author of “Radical Write” and one of the past directors of the exact camp I’m at.

“Wow, no wonder I’m blonde,” I thought.

The class began and shirts were flying like fast pitches at a baseball game as Hawthorne flung them out to students. I could tell this was going to be interesting.

“Drunk people don’t make the best decisions, you ever notice that?” Hawthorne said.

Right away the room filled with giggles and the tone had been set for the class.

I watched intently as Hawthorne maintained the lively attitude of the room. He used sporadic hand gestures mixed in with borderline risque comments. “Soft core porn apocalyptic vampire film,” just to give an example.  

The students began to interact and catch up to Hawthorne’s fast paced agenda.

“You know what I call ‘Game of Thrones’?” one younger girl with sharp black glasses asked.

“No, what?” Hawthorne said.

“Gang Bang of Thrones,” the student said back. Once more, the room was filled with laughter.

“Well, maybe I’ll watch it then,” Hawthorne ended. My mouth dropped open, like I was waiting for a fly to breeze on in. I was so amazed at how quick and witty that entire experience was.

Soon the class was on the topic of pet names for your boyfriend. It was as questionable as it sounds.

“Who has a boyfriend?” Hawthorne asked.

I slowly put my hand up, afraid of what might happen next.

“What’s a pet name for your boyfriend?” Hawthorne asked me.

“Well, it has to do with his Twitter name, and it’s a little inappropriate,” I responded. My face was flushed with a nice shade of pink. Luckily, Hawthorne just moved right along.

Toward the end of my embarrassing and awkward attempt to watch this class, Hawthorne walked up to me and sat down.

“Email me your story when you’re done,” Hawthorne said.

I was internally fangirling, but I replied with a sophisticated, well, as sophisticated as I can get, “Okay.”

I was still staring at his mustache.