One in an occasional series of snapshots spotlighting the people of the St. John’s Prep campus
HOMETOWN: Danvers, Mass.
EDUCATION: B.A. Spanish, College of Holy Cross (1980); Diploma, Bishop Fenwick (1976)
YEARS AT ST. JOHN’S: 32—Bishop Fenwick (1982-86); Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc., social services translator, fuel assistance program (1981-82)
FUN FACT: “Coming out of college, I interviewed with the CIA. They were looking for translators to listen in on broadcasts and probably conversations. I realized after one interview that it wasn’t for me. I remember a retired agent met me in a hotel and was looking at my resume and was intrigued about my acting background in college. He was excited about that. I was actually offered a job in the NSA at one point. I went down and took the test in cryptography and took a lie-detector test, and interviewed at Fort Meade in Maryland for a weekend. I didn’t accept the job because I had just signed a teaching contract with Fenwick.
DESCRIBE A TEACHER WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP: “Sister Mary Shawn at St. Mary’s in Danvers. She was my second grade teacher. She had a joy for life and a love of learning that I think I picked up from her all those years ago. She loved everyone and accepted her students for who they were and she loved teaching—and all of that came through in her teaching. Some of the nuns where really strict, and she wasn’t. I liked that.”
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TEACH FOR A LIVING?: “I love Spanish. I love all of the cultures that make up the Spanish-speaking world. I love the music, the art, the language, and I want to share that with my students.”
WHAT EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE OF ST. JOHN’S INFORMS YOUR WORK WITH STUDENTS AT THE PREP?: “I think parenthood, more than anything. I never struggled in school as a student. I had two girls, and watching them go through school, it gave me a different perspective. To see what it’s like when your child comes home with all this homework or big projects. It made me much more aware of my own students’ lives.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY DAY?: “I love that they’re open. They haven’t, for the most part, formed an opinion on the world that has blinders all around it. They’re open to everything. They’re little sponges.”