The Q+A- two students, two teachers, each month. This month we sat down with college counselor Mr. Ross Mankuta.
Conducted by Leigh Jacobson
Common misconception about teachers: That we have no lives. I suppose that between doing my job, coaching two sports teams, and answering students’ emails at all hours of the night, one can easily make that mistaken assumption. You’re all forgiven for such a gross hallucination. I have a vibrant social life!
Most creative gift, given or received: Taking my dad to the Indy 500 this Memorial Day weekend for his 60th birthday and Father’s Day, a lifelong dream of his. Anxiously waiting for my doting juniors and seniors to bring a creative gift my way.
Movie you’ve seen the most: Wow. This might be the hardest question you ask. American President, A Time to Kill, A Few Good Men, Troy, and the Austin Powers movies come to mind first.
Book you’ve read most: For One More Day by Mitch Albom
Fictional character you identify with: Either James Bond or Moses (if we can say fictional here?) The James Bond link, I know, obvious. Think about the Moses connection for a second, will you? First, the guy was always outside, in the sun, enjoying the nice weather. Umm, duh! Connection #1. But most of all, our buddy led a group of Jews eastward on a journey that took some considerable time. I start with kids in the beginning of their junior year, and where do many of our graduates end up going? East! This is only the tip of the Moses/Mankuta connective tissue iceberg.
Obsolete item you won’t trash: For those of you who stalk me and my P90X workouts in the weight room, THOSE SNEAKERS! Ask Kierman, Robbins, and Miller, they’ll testify to this.
What you wanted to be at age 10: I don’t know. 11? In seriousness, President of the United States or Mr. Mankuta at Milken Community HS. Flip a coin really.
Student pet peeve: I thought you’d never ask! Guys who wear their jeans in a way no self-respecting man should, the way many 9th graders behave in the Dean’s hallway, students who do not reply to emails, students who think I’m 34, and students who don’t trust the college application/admission process to work itself out for the best.
Procrastination technique: Filling out these questions is currently helping me get out of so much!
Secret hobby: Wouldn’t it not be a secret anymore?
Favorite historical figure: Jackie Robinson and Thomas Jefferson (tie)
Favorite piece of art in your home/anywhere: Three pictures I have at my desk at work sent to me by a former applicant of mine at USC. Come take a look.
Movie star you always wanted to be: Mo’Nique
Favorite gadget: The ejector seat on my convertible. Damn, that would be sweet. In all honesty, definitely the convertible top itself. It’s Batmobile’ish.
Topic you love but won’t discuss at a party: What won’t I discuss? Come on.
The last meal you had: It is pretty safe to say that the last meal I had is generally a bowl(s) of cereal with milk. Why don’t more people eat breakfast food during other meals? Everyone likes it. Go ahead, have it for dinner. I dare you!
Funniest English word(s): brouhaha and donnybrook
Most memorable teaching experience: A day that I really will not soon forget is the first time I met some of my seniors and their parents. This past August Milken threw a little ‘party’ for me and invited all the seniors I’d be working with during the school year. That was a really great experience for me to validate why I made this career switch.
Most-visited website, why: howtogetkidsintocollege.com Now that y’all went to check if that site exists, probably Gmail with cbssports.com a close 2nd. Gmail enables me to stay in touch with my friends and family, many of which are across the country, via chat and email. cbssports.com because I am a sports fanatic and am always looking for the latest news and headlines.
Favorite cancelled-too-soon TV show: The Mole. No questions asked.
Most beloved/interesting item at your office desk: If anyone has been to my office you know that the pictures are abundant. To me, they are by far the most important items at my desk.