History professor digs deep in his past

By Kaylee Starks


Why did you choose history as your profession?

I was always interested in history growing up. Between grandfathers and family, it was always just something discussed. But, as far as profession, I was an undeclared major sophomore at Iowa State University when September 11 happened. With a liver condition, I wouldn’t be able to join the military and fight, but I wanted to get the civic education to do something good for my country. I went into secondary education, and for eight years I was a history instructor in Carthage, and that’s where I started to work as an adjunct here and then came to work full-time two years ago.


What is one of the scariest things you have ever seen or done in your life so far?

The first time I held my daughter when she was born, I didn’t know what to do. The nurse actually had to teach me how to hold the arm. I wasn’t scared in a bad way, it was more of like hitting me all at once. It’s a fond memory now.


Who is your role model and why?

Within my faith, Jesus Christ is who we try to emulate. Here on earth, probably my father and grandfather have been the best examples for me of family values and how you treat people and how you conduct yourself. There are not a lot of Zoromski’s out there, so I know I carry the family name. What I do reflects on them as well.


Do you like to travel? If so, where is your favorite place to visit?

I’ve been to 39 or 40 of the United States. My goal is to get to all 50 by the time I’m 40, so I’ve got a couple more years. I really enjoyed all of the American history in Virginia between the Civil War and the American Revolution near the nation’s capital. There’s just something in about every town out there. Otherwise my favorite trip was Charleston, South Carolina where my wife and I vacationed for our honeymoon. That’s my favorite place. If I could go back and visit with her, I would.


If you could be anyone famous, who would you be and why?

If I had to be somebody famous, I would have really liked to have worked in the White House when Ronald Raegan was president. So, I guess if it could be a creative spin, maybe an advisor or speech writer or something like that.


What was the happiest moment of your life so far?

Marrying my wife, Stephanie, along with the birth of our daughter, Hadley.


What was the best prank someone pulled on you?

I remember, when I was in high school, my brother had thought I took one of his hats so when I went to work, he decided to take every single thing out of my room down to the light switch cover. I came home and it looked like the room was robbed and he jumped down and said, “That’ll teach you for stealing my hat!” I said, “I don’t have that! Mom borrowed that for hat day!” He had to put everything back. But, to get him back later, I took the pins out of the door when he was home late for curfew so when he opened the door, it fell right over. It was funny.


What is the story behind your daughter, Hadley?

My wife and I found out that medically we could not have children, and we just decided to pray to be able to adopt. In a very short amount of time, literally days, there was someone that was doing community service hours where my mom worked and had asked if we would be interested in adopting. From October that year to May, we worked with the birth mother and it was just meant to be. So we adopted her from the moment she was born, May 2, 2012, and she had been in our lives ever since!


What is your favorite sport and why?

Ice hockey because that is what I grew up playing. Being from the northern state of Michigan, it’s just a way of life up there. Baseball is probably my second favorite sport. I am a Detroit Tigers fan.


If you had a ‘do-over’ in life, what would you do differently?

I try to live without regrets and knowing that you do things now so you don’t have to regret. So I don’t really live with a lot of things I sit and wish I would’ve done more of. I know one day I’ll wish that I got to spend more time with my daughter, but I know I have to work and provide. So I try to spend as much time with her. There are some opportunities where I wish I could’ve helped somebody more such as a student, but there’s nothing that stands out as life-regret for me.


What is your favorite type of music and why?

On Pandora, I have an Aerosmith channel. I like classic rock. I think it’s because my dad listened to it when I was growing up. Right now we listen to a lot of Disney music with a three year old in the house. I’m not saying it’s my favorite but I know more of those songs word for word than anything else. I mean, I can ‘Let It Go’ like anybody can.


If you could keep five possessions, what would you keep?

The flag from my wife’s father’s casket. He was a soldier in Vietnam. Her great-grandfather’s dog tags. I would try to save our marriage certificate. Here, I have my dad’s chess set my dad hand-made out of walnut and oak. The walnut is from a tree that my great-grandfather planted in Michigan and cut down shortly before he died. So that has a lot of sentimental value to me. I don’t, however, have any prized possessions collectible wise.


Why would you consider Crowder a great place to work?

Crowder is hands down one of the friendliest environments to work in and I worked in a terrific school district, Carthage, and I had no reason to leave. It was just a new opportunity in my personal journey. Everybody is here genuinely friendly. When they say “Crowder family”, they actually mean it. It is not just some slogan they created to make them feel good about themselves. I have never had an experience here where somebody wasn’t wanting to do the best they could.


If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?

I would pay off my house, my student loans, and my cars, put some in my daughter’s college fund, my brother’s house, his student loan debt, and my parent’s house. That way we could live debt free and live within our means. They’ve taken care of me through life, so I would want to have a chance to take care of them.


What are you most afraid of and why?

Being able to not protect my wife and daughter should something happen. I realize a lot of that is out of my control, it’s just the instinct as a husband and father knowing I have the ability to protect them, and I can but couldn’t.


If you were elected president, what is the first thing you would do?

The first thing I would do is encourage adoption reform because it is so expensive for a lot of families that want to but can’t afford to. We wouldn’t have to spend money on the foster care system should they be able to go with families. It would be a non-political issue that could make a lot of difference across the country.


If you could go back in time to witness any event in the past, what would it be?

Biblically, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ would probably be number one. As a history buff, seeing Joshua Chamberlin at Little Rock Top on the second day of Gettysburg would be historically one of the ones I would want to do.


How would your friends and family describe you?

I would hope they would describe me as honest, that I do my best to help people, history buff, a family man, that I talk a lot, value-filled life, good husband and father, sissy as my brother would call me, good grandson who calls once a week, and always positive.


What was your hometown like?

I lived in a rural area called Burton, Mich. It was a dead end dirt road kind of place, but it was at a time and a place where it was old street lights come on, you come home. Neighbors looked out for each other. If you stayed on the dirt road, you were safe. It was non-controversial and not much went on. But, it was a really good place to grow up.


If you could be a superhero, what would your powers be?

My favorite superhero is Captain America. Part of it for the patriotism and leadership. I think I would like the ability to multi-task better. I would also like the power to know what people are thinking. I think that would make me a more effective teacher and instructor.