Interview: Spanish teacher Jake Snow discusses his unique challenges

by Mason Eddins, Editor

Mr. Jake Snow has been teaching at LHS for seven years. He has hypodactlia-hypoglossia, two rare conditions that have effected his body’s full development.  Despite this, he has established a successful teaching career and speaks several languages. Lancer Media asked Snow about his life.

Where did you go to college?

“I received my bachelor’s and master’s from Frostburg State University. Originally, I was on the path to becoming an interpreter, doing simultaneous interpreting. After a brief stint of interpreting for doctors in Nicaragua and having a hard time coping with the extreme poverty of the developing nation, I decided I might be better suited to make a difference as a teacher.”

What is the proper name for your condition?

“The correct name would be hypodactylia-hypoglossia. Hypodactylia translates to small arms. The hypoglossia is because I was born with my tongue fused to the roof of my mouth.”

Are the two conditions like Batman and Robin, where they’re usually paired together?

“No. Hypodactylia is far more rare than Hypoglossia.”

If given the opportunity, would you consider some sort of arm repair, like surgery or a transplant?

“I was offered prosthetics, but I declined. If I was born without hypodactylia, I think would be a different person today.”

Do you feel like your condition holds you back from experiencing life to its fullest?

“It does the opposite. I think it forces me to to experience life. Confidence is important. Growing up, I’ve had people looking at my arms. It sort of takes a toll on my confidence, but I do.”

How likely is is it for someone to be born with Hypodactylia?

“There are only around 13-25 people, in America, born with it. So I think it’s one in three million.”

Do you think you would’ve been just as successful, or more successful, if you didn’t have Hypodactylia?

“Possibly. I could’ve been as successful. Although I don’t think I would’ve been a language teacher. I probably would have gotten a job as a construction worker, maybe. No matter what job it is, you need confidence.”

How did the Hypodactylia happen?

“I was told by my parents that it wasn’t genetic. I was once told it was genetic. But from my understanding, it’s due to my oxygen supply being cut while my mom was pregnant with me.”

What kind of setbacks, if any, has your condition caused?

“It’s hard to say. As I grew up I learned to do things. When I was a young child, my parents and occupational doctors had me learn how to write. I thought they were games and I was beating them.”

What advice would you give the students here at Linganore?

“The best advice I could give would be patient, nice, and a sense of humor. You shouldn’t give up. If you’ve got a dream, or something you want to accomplish, reach for it.”