After the final bell, a shout-out to some great Webster teachers

12 Jun

Yesterday, when the final bell rang at Webster Schroeder High School, it marked the last time a Rosenberry would walk the halls as a Webster school student.  It’s a history that has spanned three children and 14 years.

I’ve actually been looking forward to this day. There are a lot of things I’m not going to miss about being a parent of a high school student. I won’t feel the need to check the Parent Portal every day to see if my daughter is keeping up with her homework. I won’t have to navigate the convoluted student drop-off arrangement every morning at Schroeder. I won’t have to keep ponying up fund-raising money for trips we’re going to be paying for anyway.

But the great things about my kids’ Webster educational careers FAR outweigh the aggravations.  At the very top of the list are all the teachers who have taught, prodded, consoled, cajoled, and guided my children for more than a decade. A quick calculation tells me that perhaps 120 teachers have had the dubious honor of teaching a Rosenberry sometime in the last 14 years.  All of them have been good. Many of them have been great. But some of them have been downright inspiring.  Today, I’d like to give those inspirational teachers a shout-out.

I asked my kids to tell me who they considered their best teachers were, and why they thought so. Here’s what they said:

My daughter Sara (Schroeder ’04) didn’t have to think very much when I asked her the question. “The Hench,” she answered. “His class was super hard in the best way.”  Kevin Henchen taught AP Spanish at Thomas High School, for both Thomas and Schroeder students. He is now an assistant principal in the Fairport school district.

My son Sean (Schroeder ’08) chose Mary-Ellen Petz, one of his sixth grade teachers at Spry Middle School, because “She just friggin’ rocked.” (I tried to get more detail about what that meant, but he couldn’t explain how she “friggin’ rocked,” just that she did.) He also added Schroeder High School music teacher Laura D’Angelo, because “She got me passionate about music.”

Erin (Schroeder ’12) chose Marcia Napolitano, her fourth grade teacher at Plank North Elementary, because “She brought me out of my shell.”  (Napolitano, coincidentally, is one of this year’s Oak Tree Award winners, recognizing exceptional teachers.) Erin also added Schroeder English teacher Susan Woodward, saying “She was one of the toughest teachers I had my freshman year, but also one of the best,” and Schroeder Chemistry teacher Siobhan Julian. “She made chemistry one of my favorite subjects.”

And remember how I used the word “inspirational”? I didn’t use the word lightly. These teachers did more than just teach; they changed my children’s lives.  Case in point: Sara, who just received her Master’s degree, is planning to be a Spanish teacher; Sean just received his degree from Nazareth College to be a music teacher; and in September Erin will begin her studies at St. John Fisher College to become — you guessed it — a Chemistry teacher.


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