Life Lessons from Our Teachers

Because of virtual learning, many students are unable to establish a personal connection to their teachers, so hearing what they have to say on issues all of us will end up experiencing is priceless. A history teacher, an English teacher, along with a digital design teacher, and a phys. ed. teacher, all are united by the difficulties that life has thrown at them. We may just see them as the adults who who evaluate us and give us grades, but behind every comment on your paper is someone who has their own unique story to tell. With all of the time we have had over the last year to appreciate what is near and dear to us, as well as refine what values that we all find so important, I thought it would be interesting to ask four select VHS teachers two important questions, including…

If you could talk to your high-school self, what piece of advice would you give? 

Dr. Tamburro: Don’t try to plan your life too far ahead. It is okay to not know in high school what you are going to do or be for the rest of your life. Enjoy the time learning and exploring different areas of interest. Your life path will likely change multiple times. Let it!

Dr. Meyer: I would tell my high school self not to be so unsure of myself (I could still take that advice).  I’d tell myself that there is a world full of wonderful things, and I should have the confidence to be a part of it.

Mrs. McKelvey: Actually it is something my husband said to me in college and it is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt,”You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” 

Mr. Demond: My biggest regret, I would say, is – well, I didn’t like people bullying other people. Believe it or not, I was pretty shy and a little bit of an introvert. I didn’t know myself, I was very insecure- how many high school kids are. I could have done a better job of defending people who were getting picked on. If I could do it again, I would step up a lot more than I did. I think I was held back a little bit because I didn’t want that to turn on me. That’s one of my biggest regrets. There were a lot of people- not that I wasn’t nice to them- but that I could have gone out of my way for to make them part of a family.

The second question I asked was…

What is the most important lesson you have learned since graduating high school, and how did you learn this?

Dr. Tamburro: Make sure to develop a balance in your life. Be serious about academics, careers, family, etc. At the same time, though, spend time relaxing, exercising, learning, enjoying hobbies, traveling, and having fun. Nobody else will do this for you!

Dr. Meyer: I’d have to say that the most important lesson I’ve learned since high school (and this was a long time after high school) is that it’s ok to ask for help, and that you don’t have to do everything perfectly to be excellent.  I learned that when I was teaching, working on my Ph.D. part time, and had my three daughters, and I realized that I wanted to pursue things I loved, and that there were people in my life willing to share my burdens.  I’ve learned the absolute importance of the people in my life, and to let them know how much they mean to me.

Mrs. McKelvey: The most important lesson that I have learned since high school…that is tough, there have been a few. I think the one that is most important is when I learned that we have to be willing to change course and be flexible in life. In high school I did pretty much everything I thought I needed to do to get into a good college and would make my parents proud. I wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong, but I did get into the college I wanted. I was so happy and relieved but when I started there I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be at the school I thought was my dream.  I was so lost and struggled with not knowing what to do now – now that there was no clear path or choices to make. My family was very supportive and by the second semester of my freshman year I was in a new school. I realized at this time that I needed to follow what I wanted to do and not what I thought I should do, or what others thought I should do. I guess before that I had always tried to do what I thought was best without enough attention to what I needed. 

Mr. Demond: I wouldn’t say it’s one lesson, it’s more like a cumulative amount. Every summer I worked for my family’s paving business and I learned more from little fifteen-minute coffee breaks with my uncles and cousins about life than I could ever have picked up in a school. I learned about living a good life and treating people the right way.  Sometimes, all the little things that should be taken care of are pushed aside so students can be high academic achievers. It’s great to be very smart, but you need to be a good person too, and I think some people drop the ball on that.