Cougars of Clague: Jacob Engels


Courtesy of Jacob Engels

Jacob Engels is a teacher at Clague.

Lakshya Jaiganesh

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan (Named for the Potawatomi term that means “boiling water.” Other possible translations include boiling pot, mirage, otter’s tail, or reflecting river.) and raised in Portage, Michigan (Named for portage-ing a canoe in between rivers, possibly French origin). I went to school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI (Ann Arbor was founded in 1825 by land speculators John Allen and Elisha Walker Rumsey. Allen and Rumsey decided to name it Ann Arbor for their wives since both wives were named Ann.) I currently live in the coolest city in the United States, Ypsilanti, MI (The city was originally a trading post set up in 1809 and called Woodruff’s Grove after Major Thomas Woodruff. The name was later changed to Ypsilanti in 1829 in honor of Demetrius Ypsilanti.)

Q: What is your favorite class and why?

A: I love all the children equally. But I will admit that my favorite class is the one I have in the 1st period.

Q: What hobbies/sports/clubs do you do and why do you like them?

A: I play baseball for the Southwest Michigan Dirtbags, winners of the 2020 Kalamazoo Baseball League Championship. I like baseball because it is extremely fun to play! Everyone should try it! Unfortunately, baseball is too often exclusive. People with marginalized identities have too often been made to feel that baseball is not for them. But it is! Just google “Carolyn King Ypsilanti” and you’ll find that people in this area have long been engaged in efforts to make sure everyone got a chance to play baseball. Cricket is also cool. It is baseball’s cousin. Anyone who likes one cousin would like both cousins if they got to know the other cousin.

Q: What is one thing you have learned since the start of the pandemic?

A: I’ve gotten to know a LOT about Michigan Place Names from my 8th graders. They have become experts on how places in Michigan got their names. So now I can go to the bulletin board outside Room 202, and I can learn the origin of the name of just about any place in Michigan. Did you know that there is a Hell, Michigan? Did you know that there is a Colon, MI? Colon got its name because ‘Lorensie Schellhouse opened a dictionary and the first word he saw was colon.’ I read that on the bulletin board.

Q: What’s an interesting/unique fact about yourself?

A: My mother was one of ten children. Her name, and the names of all ten of her siblings, begins with the letter J. I have a cash reward for the first person who can successfully guess all 10 names.