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Math teacher shares love for competitive reality show ‘Survivor’

Sophia Jensen
Garrett Betty (staff) dresses up and poses in front of a “Survivor” tapestry in his classroom. His classroom contains several items of “Survivor” memorabilia to show his interests.

Sometimes, teachers can be hard to find around the school when you need them, but you can find Garrett Betty (staff) streaming the latest episode of “Survivor” every Wednesday.

Betty is a math teacher and is in his second year teaching at WHS. He has technically been teaching for two and a half years as he was a long-term sub before he came here. He likes to binge watch movies and TV shows in his free time, and he is involved with coaching football and track. 

Betty goes over a warm-up problem with freshmen. Betty teaches geometry and algebra I and started a “Survivor” bracket with coworkers this school year. (Sophia Jensen)

“I’ve known him since sophomore year,” Makira Kueny (10) said. Betty has taught Kueny in the past, but she is now his teacher assistant. “His room has a lot of ‘Survivor’ things in it.”

Betty’s classroom contains more than a few pieces of “Survivor” merchandise, even including a tapestry that hangs over one of his windows.

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“Survivor” is a reality show about a group of people taken to a remote, exotic island who compete for a cash prize. “‘Survivor’ was kind of my COVID, quarantine show,” Betty said. 

Betty started watching “Survivor” in December of 2020 and his roommate at the time made him watch season seven. “Season seven, anywhere you look, is like, top ten ranked one of the best ones,” Betty said.

The math teacher’s love of “Survivor” goes above and beyond to the point where he has even tried to get onto the show as a contestant multiple times. Unfortunately, his attempts have not succeeded.

“Three times. I’ve applied three times, yes,” Betty said. His commitment even took him so far as to Oregon where he auditioned to get on the show. So far, he has sadly received no response.

Betty’s love of “Survivor” isn’t confined to him and his classroom. It has gotten to the rest of the staff as well and a “Survivor” Bracket has come from it. Ethan Mattix (staff) happens to be one of the players.

“I know nothing about the show,” Mattix said. “It’s been on for a really long time, and they’re on an island. That is truly the extent of knowledge I have about the show ‘Survivor.'” 

Mattix stands next to his torch and holds the tiki totem from when he was in the lead. Although Mattix obtained the totem, he did not win the bracket. (Sophia Jensen)

Mattix is an English teacher and has been teaching at WHS for as long as Betty has. They were both first-year teachers here last year and bonded through that. “He and I were both first-year teachers here last year so we met each other then and we got put in a lot of the first-year teacher stuff that they have us do and so we kind of got to know each other through that,” Mattix said.

Mattix has heard a lot about the show from Betty and is well familiar with his obsession with it. Although he may not know much about the series himself, he still participates in the bracket they have.

“There’s a bracket, and all the teachers who are involved met one day during lunch and we just blindly picked three people from the current season that were gonna be like ‘our people,'” Mattix said. “We get points based on how well they do in the individual episode, and then when our people are eliminated, then we are no longer getting points for them.”

Each teacher participant has a torch with an inflatable flame on the top to signify whether or not they are still in the game. If they are eliminated, their flame gets deflated and their torch is “out.” If a player is in the winning spot, they will also possess a totem of a tiki head to show off their place on the board and their soon-to-be victory.

Despite his lack of “Survivor” knowledge, Mattix was in first place and winning, but eventually all of his players were eliminated and he had to give up the totem. Math teacher and department head Courtney Hawker (staff) ended up being the one to win the bracket.

Betty successfully roped his friends and coworkers into the “Survivor” loop and he finds a way to make it fun no matter what. Some watch it, and some don’t, but either way, they enjoy the game.

“CBS, 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Tune in, touch base with me the next day — we can talk about the episode,” Betty said.

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Sophia Jensen
Sophia Jensen, Reporter
Sophia is a junior at Windsor High School who hopes to become an author in the future. She loves to read and listen to music, and she is fascinated with cryptids.
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