B-Free: The Man, The Mystery

Quinn White, Reporter

Devoted teachers are what makes a school a community. Bryan Friedrichs is one of the teachers who has taken his passion for working with young people and made it into a career. However, change is in the air.

Friedrichs a familiar face throughout the halls of West Anchorage High School. He is a teacher at West who’s main focuses are teaching geology, process technology, and algebra.

Although Friedrichs enjoys teaching, he has decided to make a career change. He plans on switching to a job in the trade industry. “Having taught process [technology] for four or five years now it has exposed me to more of that world. I got interested in construction stuff by building [a] cabin and I’m interested in making a little change. I think I would enjoy that work,” He said.

He hopes to specifically go into the electrician field and become a lineman. The job of a lineman is to install, repair and maintain power lines both above and below ground. In order to go through with this change, he will have to go to trades school and pursue an apprenticeship.

Friedrichs never expected that he would go into the field of trades. Growing up, he was never one to sit around. Instead, he enjoys being active and engaging with others. After earning a science degree in college, he began work as a geologist. Although he was passionate about science, he found himself bored. He said, “I found myself in an office writing a lot of reports. I had always had an itch to try out teaching. It fit well into my science background… Teaching has allowed me to get exposed to more types of careers that are out there. Growing up and going through high school you are only directly exposed to what your parents do, what people you know do, the people you are in contact with like teachers and doctors. There’s a whole host of other jobs out there that you really would have no idea existed unless you have some family connection or someone tells you about it,” he said.

Fellow teacher and close friend of Friedrichs, Sven Berglund says losing a teacher like him can be a hard loss. Before they became close friends, Friedrichs served as Berglund’s intern while they both worked in environmental consulting. Berglund admires the passion Friedrichs has for teaching, “I think he genuinely likes kids. He is amused by them, they drive him crazy at times, but I think he likes young people. It makes him feel good when they’re doing well, which is a trait that all good teachers share. A little bit of ‘Oh my god they’re doing good, I’m so happy!’ When it doesn’t get you any extra pay or anything. It’s just that the kid understood. When teachers get geeked out by that kind of thing, that’s the measure of a fairly decent teacher.”

Berglund says that he will miss Friedrichs’ intelligence the most. “He is the smart one in the relationship. He explains all the complex things. It will be difficult for me. My classes IQ level will probably drop like 30 to 40 IQ points. It’s going to go back to a lot of [fart] jokes here,” he joked.

Before he makes this change, however, he will be taking a year sabbatical to relax and travel with his wife, Olga. If Friedrichs will continue to teach after he starts his work as a lineman is still yet to be determined. He says that leaving one of his many passions behind isn’t necessarily what he plans on doing, “I would still like to have my hand in teaching. I might step away from it for a few years and then come back to it. A lot of that is still up in the air.”

“We’re learning!” Bryan Freidrichs discusses different types of energy with his students at West Anchorage High School on March 30, 2018.
Bryan Friedrichs shares his passions with his students at West Anchorage High School. He explains the uses of geothermal energy with his class on March 30, 2018.