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#PREPpeople: Kate Tremarche
Posted 05/17/2018 10:58AM

One in an occasional series of snapshots spotlighting St. John’s Prep faculty and staff

Kate Tremarche, Math TeacherHOMETOWN: Waltham, Mass.

EDUCATION: M.A., Providence College, secondary education (2015); B.S., College of the Holy Cross (2013), math and psychology; Diploma, Trinity Catholic High School (2009—school merged with St. Joseph Prep in 2012)

SUBJECT: High School Math

YEARS AT ST. JOHN’S: 3

FUN FACT: “My senior year of high school, I memorized 205 digits of pie in three days just so I could win a t-shirt.”

DESCRIBE A TEACHER WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP: “I basically spent my entire career modeling myself after one of my high school math teachers, Mr. Turick. He’s now the department chair at BC High. I had him three times in four years, and I was so inspired by all of his classes. I’m still very blessed to know him and have him as a mentor. It’s nice to be able to talk to him about strategies and even to reflect on when I was a student. He’s full of wisdom. I also draw a lot of information from a former coach and math teacher, Emily Samek. I remember watching her teach and thinking she was so good at what she did. She was smart, funny, talented and serious. I took a service-immersion trip with her as junior and I’ve remained attached to that experience. It's helped me model how we stay connected to people who are different from us and how we can use what we’ve been given to serve others.”*

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TEACH FOR A LIVING?: “My senior year of high school, the big theme was paying it forward. We watched the movie (of the same name) in theology class and really dove into the idea of working for and with others. By the end of high school, I felt like I’d spent four years in a place filled with dedicated educators. It was very clear to me I wouldn’t have been who I was without those people. I reflected on what I’ve been given that’s shaped who I’ve become. I decided if I could be just half as good as those who guided me, that would be an amazing ability to impact others’ lives. I’m working on it every day.”

WHAT PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ST. JOHN’S INFORMS YOUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AT THE PREP?: “I struggled with math as a student. The math life definitely didn’t choose me; I chose it. I figured if there was one answer, I could aim to get it. If I just got good at finding the answer, like a scavenger hunt, I could succeed. I’ve sat in more classrooms where I’ve known that struggle of working really hard and not seeing results and looking around at fellow students and wondering why they’re doing better. I’ve often been in a math class wondering if this subject was the wrong choice. Wondering: Will I ever get the right answer? That experience helps me relate to my students. Some tell me they’re ‘not a math person,’ but by that standard, I myself am not a math person. I’m a person who worked really hard and who now does math well. I try to show them it’s possible to do that in math, and in other things in their lives.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY DAY?: “Every day is new. I never know what I’m getting when I walk into a classroom. That’s slightly terrifying, but also so, so exciting. That makes it almost impossible to be stressed or overwhelmed. Even if it’s a class that didn’t go ideally the day before, it’s a new day and the students are completely different. They have so much potential, and to be able to tap into that is contagious. It’s so inspiring to see what excites these people that have their whole lives in front of them. Even if it’s not a good day, there’s good in every day, and I see that in my students.”

*In July, Ms. Tremarche will begin a leave of absence from St. John’s to join Rostro de Cristo in Guayaquil, Ecuador, as a volunteer for the 2018-19 year. Founded in 1988 by Rev. James J. Ronan, a 1962 Prep graduate. Rostro de Cristo is a retreat center where high school and college students from the United States live in community with the people of Ecuador. Prep students make annual service mission trips to the center. “This is something I have spent a lot of time reflecting and praying about, and it is something I truly feel God is calling me to,” says Tremarche.
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