It’s not all about the classroom


Orcutt had to endure the pain of these spots for a couple of weeks. It was worth it for smooth healthy skin.

Science teacher James Orcutt does more than teach students about the body parts and their functions. While educating Nebraska youth, he continues to find joy in learning. In the past years, he has done a few experiments on himself, including a battle against sun exposure and invading germs.

During August of 2015, Orcutt took a trip to see Dr. States. States said that he had the beginnings of skin cancer and that he needed to see dermatologist Dr. Bunker. Orcutt was diagnosed with actinic keratosis, a rough scaly patch on the skin caused by years of sun exposure. When Orcutt went back to see his doctor, he prescribed a fluorouracil cream. He had to apply the cream every night for 14 nights. Spots would pop on his face where the cream was fighting the damaged cells and students would point out the spots. He didn’t feel any discomfort until the last three days. That was when the cream started to burn. He asked the doctor if there was anything he could apply to help with the burning, but there wasn’t. The best thing he could do was apply a damp washcloth throughout the day to try and cool down his face. Within another week, all of the red spots were gone. Orcutt said, “My skin was as soft as a baby’s butt.” He will have to apply the cream again in five years. He most likely got most of his sun damage when he was a teenager working on the farm. “Now sunscreen is a necessity. I am a walking testament to sun damaged skin,” Orcutt said.

Orcutt is currently taking an Epicor supplement. It’s not regulated by the FDA which may raise some eyebrows, but Orcutt took the risk anyways.“I am skeptical of the FDA stamp because when they go to inspect meat, you know they didn’t inspect every piece; they just went in and did their job,” he said.

Epicor contains a compound that activates white blood cells and keeps them at a high level. It also increases antibodies and contains a probiotic. Overall, it provides a general boost for the immune system. His sister-in-law informed him of the supplement after she completed a round of chemo to treat her leg and hip bone cancer. While his sister was taking the supplement, her husband brought home a cold. After a round of chemo, his sister-in-law’s immune system was compromised. If she caught a cold, she could become extremely ill. With Epicor, she didn’t even get a sniffle. She ordered Orcutt a half-year supply of Epicor. “It’s hard to know if the supplement is working because it only prevents you from getting sick,” Orcutt said. Since taking Epicor, Orcutt has yet to get sick.

Another experiment Orcutt has orchestrated answers a common question, does the dentist know if you have been flossing? Orcutt flossed everyday and used mouthwash up until his next dentist appointment. The dentist noted that he had been doing something different. “If you floss, they notic,.” Orcutt said.

When informed about Orcutt’s “secret” experiments students had a lot of positive things to say. “It’s fascinating that he’s always trying to learn and he’s not afraid to experiment on himself, which is pretty crazy,” said senior Zak Folchert. “I think it’s good for him to learn more and test things out, and knowing the teacher he is, he’ll record the process and be able to see what works and what doesn’t,” said senior Chantel Hudson. Teaching and learning about science goes beyond the classroom. Orcutt is a perfect example of someone who learns from everyday experiences.