Riechel’s Return with Fire Friday

Riechels Return with Fire Friday

Lilah George, Staff Writer

The students sat in room 102 watching GP’s retired Chem teacher fill a balloon with gas and light it on fire. The explosion was almost instantaneous, and Mr. Riechel stood and observed the students shocked reactions. 

Mr. Koerber has been a chemistry teacher here for two years. He replaced Riechel, who retired, and it is fitting that he take over during paternity leave. Over the summer of 2022, Koerber and his wife had a second child and he is taking time with family for several weeks. 

Now, students meet Riechel, the teacher who came before. “I missed it, I missed it a lot it’s great… I’ve been to a lot of schools in my career and far and away this has been the best place, so I was missing it! So, the chance to come and replace Koerber for an extended 5 weeks, I jumped at it,” Riechel said. 

Every Friday, he performs fire demos which teach and amaze at the same time. He has a different version each week, which he connects to the topic being taught. “I love seeing the whites all the way around people’s eyes and the ‘Woah!’ when the fires go off, it’s funny,” Riechel said. 

Koerber left for paternity leave on October 14. The following Monday, students met their sub. Few of those students knew fire Friday’s were coming, so there was shock at the flames each week. “You can tell Mr. Riechel really likes fire demos, he did one every week. First, he would describe a scenario that was his inspiration for the experiment, then he’d set it up and explain each compound. Everyone became slightly apprehensive and scooted their chairs back. Before you knew it, he was breathing fire or creating a ramp of flames! Not only were these entertaining, but they really showed how chemical errors can have disastrous outcomes such as the Hindenburg airship in 1937,” freshman Diana Fortado said.