Beloved English Teacher to Retire

Seven thousand and twenty days. That is the number of days that English teacher Frances Young will have taught at Verona High School as of the end of this school year. This school year marks her thirty-ninth year of teaching at VHS. Having been at the school for this long, it is obvious that she has seen many changes along the way.

Over the course of those 39 years, there have been eight principals, nine if you include Mr. Cesa leaving and coming back to VHS. One thing hasn’t changed though – her enjoyment of being the adviser of extracurricular activities. She was the adviser of the literary magazine for thirty years and is currently in charge of Verona High School’s plays.

“I think I’ve enjoyed being an adviser to extracurricular activities because you get to know students in a different light.”

Out of all the classes she has taught, she says that she most enjoys teaching her freshman English I Honors class and Public Speaking, which is no longer offered at VHS She has also taught Creative Writing, Drama, AP English Literature and Composition, and other English courses/electives.

Ms. Young says that the biggest changes that have occurred over her time here have occurred in the past few years, with “the advent of the UBD [Understanding By Design] lesson plans” and what she believes to be an “over-reliance on technology.” She wishes traditional  scheduling, with its three lunch  periods, had stayed because it makes her job less hectic overall – there are  fewer students in each lunch for cafeteria duty and there are always a set of specific classes each and every day.

Teaching somewhere for 39 years guarantees that there will be some overlap between families and generations of families. On a personal note, mine is one of many Verona families for which this holds true. My dad graduated VHS in 1984 and remembers seeing Ms. Young in the hallway, although he did not have her as a teacher. Ms. Young says it’s always strange when she sees people in high school and then later in life goes on to see their kids. She specifically remembers this one couple who dated in high school…and then seeing them again at Back to School night several years later!

And what she’ll miss the most? The students. She’ll miss talking one-on-one with students, and helping them become better students, writers, actors, whatever it may be. She says that she loves working with someone who really likes to improve himself or herself, and that working with them in that way is very rewarding.

Although she’s keeping her options open, this will most likely be her last year. She’ll be missed by generations of students, staff, and members of the Verona community.

P.S. Ms. Young says “Come and see the play!”  It’s on Nov. 12, 13, and 14.