From StudentCats to TeacherCats

Ann Wright G., Staff Writer

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Did you know almost 13 percent of the middle school faculty walked in your shoes? Out of the current 86 teachers in the middle school, 11 have returned to work at the place that educated them. These teachers, along with recent retiree Scoot Dimon, were all once Wildcat students.

Five of the eleven are in the English Department, including Chuck Breithaupt, Carter Thomas, Tyree Simon, Peyten Williams, and Colin Mackey. Three are language teachers: Cynthia Swanson, Hartley Glass, and Carolina Mares. The remaining three are Lydia Hansen, Chad Laney, and Walter DuPriest.

It seems the student life has been an influence upon why the alums have returned to teach. “I feel like Westminster helped to mold me into the person I am, and I wanted to come back and work at the place that was so much a part of my life,” said Lydia Hansen, a Bible teacher.

Some of these teachers worked at different schools before finding their way to Westminster. “Having taught at another school, it really helped me appreciate the excellence of Westminster, and I maybe wanted to come back home,” said Colin Mackey, an English teacher who taught previously at Holy Innocents’.

Certain skills and passions developed at Westminster helped fuel the careers of some alums and led them eventually back here. “I would not have stuck with French if not for the teachers here, like Madame Orsini. And the fact that Westminster supports study abroad and has global programs. If not for those opportunities, I’m not really sure I would’ve found my passion in French and language,” said Carolina Mares, a French and Spanish teacher.

Photo courtesy of Madame Mares. Madame Mares with her host family during her year abroad with Westminster.

But as far as how they ended up here the first time (as a student), the alums all have different stories. “One of my grandparents went here, and my dad and my aunt went here, but this was where I ultimately wanted to go to school because it was part of our family’s tradition,” said Mrs. Hansen.

But for others, making the choice of Westminster proved to be difficult at times. “I was very torn at the time, because I had lots of good friends at Evansdale (Elementary), and they all lived in my neighborhood. But I also wanted a school that was more challenging,” said Mme. Mares.

This school may continue to influence its students as it has in the past, and even more teacher alums may join the group! You too could go from a StudentCat to a TeacherCat!