Ms. Cokerdem-DePriest: Rock and Roll Icon

by Jiji Kim

Ms. Cokerdem-DePriest with Jon Bon Jovi. True Fact. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cokerdem-DePriest)

ASW is full of teachers who used to have careers very different from giving daily lectures to a group of teenagers; some were musicians, some were cooks. Today, we would like to unravel the backstory of one of our high school math teachers, Ms. Diane Cokerdem-DePriest (also referred to as Mrs. C). Ms. Cokerdem was a disk jockey at a radio station in New Hampshire, USA, in the 1990s.

Being a disk jockey was nothing like being a teacher. Instead of waking up at 6:30 and getting ready for school, she had to get up at 3:30 in the morning so that she could start broadcasting at 4:45. And instead of switching between planning classes, helping students with their work, and teaching, she had to “play the current popular music, talk with weather and news casters, answer listener phone calls, and run on-air contests” for about 4 hours during her broadcast, said Ms. Cokerdem.

Broadcasting live from Disney World (photo courtesy of Ms. Cokerdem-DePriest)

Her off-air duties consisted of “creating and recording advertisements, mailing prizes to contest winners, and keeping up with the day’s events to talk about the next day.”

Working in the radio station, she had some very interesting episodes. “I met John Bon Jovi, got to play basketball with Jerry from Ben & Jerry’s, and helped run a contest where we gave away a house to a listener,” she said.

Yet, she decided to become a math teacher after working as a disk jockey for a couple of years because she missed math and loved (and still loves) “being able to share the beauty and usefulness of numbers with others.”

Ms. Cokerdem at a remote broadcast (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cokerdem-DePriest)

Ms. Cokerdem stressed that she loves teaching math at ASW. “I feel like I hit the lottery being able to do a job I love, surrounded by interesting, curious and open-minded people,” she said.  “The fact that my kids get to be a part of it as well, is like winning the super-lottery.”

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