By Kami Rieck
Driving a BMW 323i to pick up dinner from Big Apple, a New York style Pizza cafe, J. Kurt Schmidt is always keeping busy. Cheerfully talking on the phone while relaying the many adventures in his life from aviation to photography to substitute teaching, anyone can already make the assertion that this man is far from the average.
The life of the most beloved substitute at Concordia is arduous work, and doesn’t stop at the high school. As a professional pilot, he compares his career to one of a doctor.
“I’m always on call, and have a set number of days that I have to work for the company (American Airlines) and so many days that I can request off. There will be some days where I sub at Concordia, commute to Chicago by plane, and then fly to England in the evening,” he elaborates. “I take about two trips a month, which is equivalent to 6 days, to either London or Paris.”
He shares the amusing fact that he’s an Anglophile (someone who admires England), which explains his reason for always requesting to fly to London. Schmidt earns even more bonus points for soliciting weekdays off solely so he can substitute at Concordia.
“The best part about this job is that I get paid to travel worldwide. While most people eat at Bandidos on a Friday night, I’m enjoying dinner in Italy. Paris is full of cathedrals, museums, and cafe’s that are always fun to visit.”
His family can also commute anywhere with him for no charge, so a random trip to Paris is definitely not out of the question.
With a master’s degree in horology, Schmidt has the ability to manage his own clock business, which is infamously known as “Antiquarian Horology.”
“I have made new ones (clocks), but not to sell. My favorite thing is bringing something historical and made by someone’s hand hundreds of years ago back to life,” he explains.
He not only sells antique clocks from the 17th-19th century, but can repair and fix them too, so if you or a grandparent is ever in need of a clock restoration, just follow this link: http://www.antiqueclockrestore.com.
While the average person would probably agree that holding three different jobs is more than plenty, Schmidt is already exceeding all expectations, and this is just the start.
So much traveling inspired him to pick up a camera and capture these jaw-dropping destinations. As a self-taught photographer, Schmidt has become more enlightened and experienced throughout the years that he has come to manage his own photography business (J. Kurt Schmidt Photography), so if you want to see some impressive shots of the Eiffel Tower, or even snoop through some of your classmate’s senior pictures, just go here: http://jkurtschmidt.com.
When asked what he loves the most about being a substitute teacher at Concordia, his response is definitely a heart-felt one.
“I know that most students can’t comprehend this right now, but once you all leave Concordia and get out into the world, you will see how impactful the school and the teachers really are,” he explains. “I still get to be surrounded by the some of same people I was with when I was at Concordia, but now I get to relive high school without all the tests, homework, and college stress. It’s good to give back to a place that has given so much to me.”
The life of this man seems unending, exhilarating and strenuous. When asked to elaborate on how his life isn’t as luxurious as the average student would perceive it to be, his response is out of the norm.
“My life really is perfect,” he responds, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I know this is cliche, but the key to having a great life is to follow your passions, and do what you really love. Don’t worry about playing it safe by choosing a career that doesn’t satisfy you because a million things could end up going wrong, but if you are truly passionate about what you do, the money, the jobs, and the opportunities will follow. I could be earning a lot more (money) by flying more often than I do, but it isn’t about the money,” he passionately explains. “And don’t forget to always surround yourself with people who are supportive and uplifting.”