During a typical 4th period class, you might see him regaling an eager group of seniors in his Images of Literature course with whiteboard drawings of square-sliced thin crust pizza. If you stayed a while longer, you would hear the eruption of “ah has” as he relates pizza-cutting to the utilization of the Dutch Tilt in late 19th century cinema.
“I am a fantastic human being.”
Jason Mormolstein – teacher, North Star co-advisor, .GIF animator, Hackey Sack club sponsor, pizzaiolo, beard model and argyle fashionista – now enters his fourth year of teaching at his alma mater. With him, Mormolstein brings a captivating teaching style driven by his repertoire of personal passions.
“In the past I was a musician. Outside of the classroom I consider myself an artist. I like to draw, animate and paint,” Mormolstein said. In his free time, he is a purveyor of fine comics, puns, and .gifs via his Tumblr site, Hilaritron.
On a regular basis, Mormolstein utilizes these skills to engage his students in accessing core content from creative angles. “My passions are a part of me, so I bring them in where I can … [for instance,] how I design materials for my students. Sometimes I’ll have them draw things just for fun. Especially in Images of Lit – which is a film class – we do a lot of storyboarding.”
“Momo puts the “wag” in swag,” Benny Idunno, senior, said.
To the casual observer, his energy may be one of Mormolstein’s most notable super powers. “Being a teacher puts me in front of people … it energizes me.”
Mormolstein is further distinguished by his glorious golden locks. His hairdo – said to be a manifestation of his vibrant soul – is one that has earned him the respect of the entire school community.
“Despite the fact that people often throw projectiles at him, his hair actually serves as a perimeter defense and enables him to deflect those projectiles.”
“He is a biped,” said Renee Scott, Yearbook advisor. Scott and Mormolstein work collaboratively to align the school’s print and online publications. Evident in their interactions is the extremely high regard with which Scott holds Mormolstein.
“He knows how to walk very well. If you watch him, he is actually able to ambulate around the school quite well. It’s impressive; not everybody can do that.”
Scott, a Humanities and Communications teacher now entering her 56th year of teaching, is usually quick to point out the deeper, more insightful attributes of her colleagues.
“He’s really good at breathing. So far I’ve noticed that he’s managed to stay alive. So that’s good,” Scott commented.
For Mormolstein, breathing – along with other basic bodily functions – is vital to his passionate instruction.
“I also like to eat. That’s a passion,” Mormolstein said.
When asked about his invaluable contributions to the Niles North community, Scott commented, “He provides a focal point for my mockery.” Scott elaborated, “I think he’s a really great catalyst for making other people feel better about themselves.”
Despite his overwhelming talents, Mormolstein always finds a way to put his students first. “I want them to leave knowing that whatever [they] learn [they] can use and apply to [their] future. Secondly, I just want them to have a good time. I want them to look back on it and think ‘that was a great class.'”