Let’s Talk Catchphrases

Around the halls, recognizable voices say recognizable phrases.


Ayden Brown

History teacher Trace Petersen sits at his desk during class. On a survey sent out to all students, Petersen had the most-known sayings.

Ayden Brown, Staff Writer

“Lock it up,” “Scoob,” and “I live in a box” are just a few common sayings used by the teachers at Atlantic High School. 

A survey showed teachers have a lot of different catchphrases. There were 54 responses to the poll, which featured all of the teachers at the high school and an empty slot in which to place their iconic sayings.

The teacher with the most-known catchphrases is history teacher Trace Petersen. Around the classroom and in the halls, Petersen commonly uses the phrases “lock it up,” “that’s garbage,” “don’t be shady,” “computer be gone,” and “know your role, ladies.” 

Petersen said he came up with the catchphrases throughout his years of teaching and coaching. Debatably, Petersen’s most iconic saying is “that’s garbage.” Ironically enough, he didn’t come up with the phrase. At a baseball game in 2009, the opposing team’s coach yelled “that’s garbage” at his base runner for doing a terrible job. Since then, Petersen has interjected with those words whenever possible.

Petersen has gotten some phrases from teaching, too. He got the catchphrase “Bolshevik” from the Bolshevik revolution, which occurred in the early 20th century. Petersen said he thinks using catchphrases helps his students learn, or he would not use them.  

English teacher Randall Simpson began saying “Come on guys, this isn’t the first day of school,” this year. The phrase means the class is doing something they shouldn’t and it needs to be stopped. As the students know how Simpson’s classroom operates, he is reminding to get back on task. Simpson said he heard a student say this during class and has used it ever sense. 

Ayden Brown
English teacher Randall Simpson poses for a photo. He likes to reference current books his English 2 students are reading.

Simpson said his students ignore his catchphrases and don’t get upset when he says them. He said he thinks the students are more relaxed when he uses familiar phrases because it lightens the mood of the classroom. 

English teacher Emma Bireline uses the word “Scoob” in everyday conversation. She began calling students “Scoob” after she heard a few kids–juniors Nellie Grooms, Tessa Grooms, Genevieve Martinez, and Olivia Engler, as well as senior Hana Holtz–referring to each other as such. Bireline is also known for saying “I love that” in the classroom.

Spanish teacher Dan Vargason likes to reference scenes and jokes from the shows “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.” He likes to tell students “drop and give me burpies” and “go out for cross country.” 

Principal Heather McKay is known for saying “Have a good weekend, be careful, and come back in one piece,” every Friday students are let out of school for the weekend.

Pupils know these quotes well, which brings a sense of familiarity to the high school.