I.T. Department Looking Perky with Arrival of Mr. Perkins

Perkins has a passion for scrimshawing, or carving whalebone. This lighthouse is one of the many pieces which he has created over the years.

Perkins has a passion for scrimshawing, or carving whalebone. This lighthouse is one of the many pieces which he has created over the years.

Sophie Sharp, Senior Staff Writer

Although he’s most often found working behind the scenes, our newest staff member, Andrew Perkins, plays a significant role in MacDuffie daily life.  He has been working in MacDuffie’s Information Technology department since late November, and he helps to improve the essentials, such as school printers and wifi, and to resolve students’ computer difficulties.

Technology is used to improve communication, and Perkins is qualified to secure the community’s internet access and keep out any unwanted viruses. Prior to working at MacDuffie, Perkins worked for the Gill Montague Regional School district. So far, Perkins says he has enjoyed his experience at MacDuffie. “It’s quite different from public school,” he says. “More students seem to want to be here.”

In Perkins’s free time, he enjoys spending time with his two kids, wife, and dog. Perkins’s main hobby, however, is scrimshaw, the art of engraving designs with or without color on whalebones, ivory, shells, or other materials. Perkins loves to scrimshaw nautical scenes on ivory, and then sell them online. He’s been doing it for over 30 years. Perkins is conscientious of the impact his scrimshawing may have on the environment.“When elephants became endangered, I switched over to mammoth ivory because they’re not really endangered anymore. The tooth fairy’s not very happy,” Perkins says.

Scrimshaw helps Perkins to take a break from computers and the world of technology. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s very relaxing,” he says. “Just put on the music, and as long as the dog’s not howling at me, I can usually relax. I listens to audiobooks and music and I get completely away from computers.”

Perkins is not the only one in his family who has a knack for understanding computers. His father worked for IBM, a business that works with major industries to distribute high level technology. Perkins’s brother programs in Florida, and his sister is also technologically savvy.

One of Perkins’s earliest memories of computers was in his father’s IBM office. There, Perkins was fascinated by the computer’s programing that enabled him to play tic tac toe on the screen, as computer generated violin music played in the background. Perkins soon after became interested in exploring the mechanics involved in computer making. “I really liked to get into the insides and figure out how it worked,” he says. Perkins was 20 when his family’s first computer came into his house.

Perkins has also played the keyboards for several small, local bands, one of which was called The Trolls. Perkins, however, does not miss moving equipment, and is glad he ended his musical career, although, in hindsight, he says, “I should have taken up the harmonica.”