The thriving electronic dance music movement has been on the rise with young adults, college students, and finally high school student. The genre is mainly popular in Europe but slowly started to enter mainstream American culture. What many people don’t know is that Mills is home to a pioneer in the dance music scene: Mr. Phillips. Although Mr. Phillips may not seem like a huge fan of dance music, he’s actually been a part of the scene since its inception. Back in the 70’s when dance music was first created, Mr. Phillips constantly attended underground warehouse parties, where he made a name for himself as the “Big P.” After watching a Ke$ha music video, shown to him by a student, Mr. Phillips was inspired to share his passion for dance music with his students.
On Thursday March 17, Mr Phillips took his International Relations class to a dance concert. Instead of taking his class to the usual expensive restaurants in downtown San Francisco, he brought his students to the rundown Fox Theater in Oakland to his students surprise. Phillips has been known to take his students to after school excursions like conferences and fancy dinners, but this is the first time he has taken his students to a concert. He took 8 seniors to the Electric Armadillo Jam, which is hosted by the local radio station 96.5 KOIT. Although the event was completely sold out, Mr. Phillips was able to secure nine tickets off of StubHub for only an entire month’s paycheck. The headliners included Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki, who are some of Phillips’ favorite contemporary artists.
When asked about the unorthodox field trip, Mr. Phillips commented “I think the concert is a very enriching experience for the students in my International Relations class, since dance music is such a big part of European culture. A large portion of my class revolves around teaching students how to understand and interact with cultures and taking them to a concert where people get strung out does just that! Just like how I bring my students to exotic restaurants, I wanted my students to get a small taste of a different music scene to culture them.”
Mr Phillips and his students fist-pumped and shuffled until the break of dawn.
There is an important meta-lesson that takes place. Inclusion. In today’s political atmosphere, Mr. Phillips understands that it is crucial to cherish inclusion, peace, and love. It’s essential in international relations as well, to keep a peace between countries through the power of music. He believes teaching the future about this concept of preserving harmony will definitely help America revive some of its relations with the European Union and Great Britain.
Senior Jared Rivor remarked “I had so much fun getting caked by Steve Aoki, but it was kind odd wearing a full suit and fuzzy boots to a concert. On another note, my suit is completely ruined now.”
Senior Clement Ng remarked “Bruh! I saw Big P breakin’ it down on the dance floor. Man, Mr. Phillips is wild.”
At the end of day, Mr.Philips still holds a firm place at Mills High School as a truly inspiring teacher. He teaches the kids the fundamentals of International Relations not only with endless articles and stressful essays, but he touches the hearts of students through remarkable hands-on experiences. Whether it be a Michelin-Star restaurant or a rambunctious dance concert, the Big P knows how to get students engaged. There is no doubt that Mr. Phillips will continue to be one of the most committed and “lit” teacher in the San Mateo Union High School District and he will always be a legend both in the teaching and dance music community.