“It all started with a joke back in ’88.” That’s Jesuit College Preparatory admissions director Tim Host explaining how the Pez candy dispenser collection in his office came to be. “I was traveling with a friend, and we were bickering. We each bought a Pez dispenser to reflect how the other was acting: I got a donkey, and she got a witch.” That dispenser would be the first of hundreds he’d accumulate over the next two decades. “I actually have 483 on display in my office — I know because I made a student count them all as punishment once.” But that’s not counting the duplicates he has at home. “Total, I’ve got about 800 to 900.” And each of those has a story, like the Mr. Ugly Pez dispenser he bought in New Orleans. “It was during Mardi Gras, and Mr. Ugly pretty much summed up how I felt on that trip.” But it’s not the candy that drives his collection. “It’s funny, I actually don’t like Pez candy at all. I give it away to my students. I like them because they’re icebreakers. I will get toddlers to grandparents who come in here to see my collection or share a story about Pez. I love that these are conversation pieces everyone can relate to — they’re just fun.”

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