Rocks, nature-walks, photography: Faculty members share their favorite hobbies


Photo credit: Jonathan Mun

World Language Teacher Natalie Kang rock climbs up a large boulder on a sunny day. This is one of Kang’s favorite hobbies, and she said it has helped her gain a higher tolerance for adversity.

By Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter

Do you ever wonder what your teachers are up to in their free time? You might be surprised to know that during summer break or on the weekends, your teacher could be rock climbing, taking a stroll along the beach or traveling the world. Here are three Archer faculty members’ favorite hobbies.

World Language Teacher Natalie Kang

Kang finds joy in rock climbing. She climbs in both rock climbing gyms and on large mountains. She began doing this activity with her husband around 2017 when her husband met a friend who wanted to take them both ice climbing in Colorado, which required them to train. She said they both fell in love with rock climbing through this experience and have been climbing since.

When thinking about how climbing helps her destress, Kang refers to how American Rock Climber Carolynn Marie Hill labels it. Kang said rock climbing helps her feel present in the moment and appreciate nature.

“I love the way [Hill] describes climbing best. She calls it moving meditation. When you are climbing and in the zone … you have time to get lost in the movement,” Kang said. “You can’t think about school, homework, chores, stressors or problems. You really just are present in your body, and that feels amazing.” 

Her favorite part of this hobby is the feeling of accomplishment and pride in herself after a challenging climb. She said she has learned to have a higher tolerance for adversity and has built resilience as a person. The appeal of the sport, Kang said, is how it’s not competitive, and instead focuses on figuring out how to solve a problem yourself.

“It is a sport, and it is competitive, but it’s competitive between you and the rock,” Kang said. “It’s just you and your own body working against the problem … An individual climb could be a bouldering problem that you have to solve with your body and strength. I think that is really appealing.” 

World Language Teacher Annie Santana-Grush

Santana discovers a sense of peace through any sort of physical movement in nature, like hiking or taking a stroll along the beach. Santana said she prefers fast-paced walks, and her favorite time of day to walk is the morning.

She described how being in nature while walking is very peaceful and helps her feel carefree.

“Being in nature is so calming and relaxing. I feel like when you’re out and walking, your mind just gets to wander and be free of all the regular scheduled, focused things that it has that it’s preoccupied with during the day,” Santana said. “It’s just the freedom of movement and thought.” 

Santana highly recommends taking walks in nature, specifically along the beach. When walking by the ocean, Santana said you can be more relaxed, as you do not have to put focus on being careful around cars.

“I really do enjoy walking down by the ocean because there’s so much space,” Santana said. “[Being] in a space where you can just focus or lose focus is ideal. You can walk and dance … or [do] whatever works for you.” 

Director of College Guidance Ivan Hauck

Hauck seeks adventure through photography while he travels around the world. Hauck said he could not afford to travel much growing up, but when he was 28 years old, he moved abroad to Rome, Italy. His trip opened him up to the world of traveling and helped him learn a new language. He has now visited 83 countries.

Hauck said his brother introduced him to photography by gifting him a camera and suggesting he take photos as he travels, and Hauck uses this camera to this day.

A few pictures that Director of College Guidance Ivan Hauck took sit on Hauck’s office wall. Hauck enjoys taking photos while he travels around the world. Hauck said one of his images was “taken when [he] was glacier climbing in Norway.”
A map of the world showing which countries Director of College Guidance Ivan Hauck has been to, and pictures that he has taken, are hung on Hauck’s office wall. Hauck enjoys taking photos while he travels around the world and said he took one of his favorite images while climbing glaciers in Norway. (Photo credit: Emily Paschall)

Hauck talked about why he loves traveling and how he gains new experiences through it. He said he likes to take pictures with his camera while traveling, as it lets him to look back on memories through specific moments.

“I love going abroad when I’m fortunate enough to have those opportunities. All of that allows me to expand my understanding of the world, meet different people [and] hear different stories,” Hauck said. “The photography goes along with that … [I like] capturing indelible moments that I look back on and remember … how I was feeling at that moment.” 

Hauck said traveling allows him to grow as a person by seeing the world through new perspectives and cultures.

“It puts me in an entirely different world and mindset,” Hauck said. “My conversations [and] … thoughts are different. It gives me a chance to reflect on my life, what I appreciate both about my day-to-day existence, especially working at Archer. It affords me the opportunities to build amazing connections with people.” 

Now, you know a few Archer adults’ fun hobbies — the next time a teacher asks what you did over your weekend, why don’t you ask them what they did, too?