Farewell Mrs. Schwartz!
By Natalia Potrapeluk
Mrs. Schwartz came into Wheatley with a love of history and a hope of making it contagious. Her classroom techniques and loving character left a mark on her students and Wheatley’s faculty. Mrs.Schwartz’s unique and engaging teaching skills left students that graduated still remembering her as a great teacher. The news of her retirement surprised and definitely upset many. All of Wheatley could not believe one of their favorite teachers was leaving! But despite their sadness, her students and the Wheatley faculty support her and are happy to know she is pursuing her dream in this amazing new job opportunity. I had the opportunity to interview Mrs.Schwartz through email and here are her responses!
- How long have you been teaching here at Wheatley?
- I have been teaching in Wheatley for 23 years.
- Over the years have you tested out any styles of teaching? What are some that worked better than others?
- In my style of teaching I made an effort to make history come “alive”! Debates, trials, projects and lessons inspired by art and music have always been important in my classroom so that students feel engaged and invested in the class work. I love history and have always hoped to make it contagious!
- Have you ever taught at other schools besides Wheatley?
- I first began teaching at Locust Valley High School right after college, but because that was a part-time job, I left after one year for a full-time leave replacement at Carle Place High School. When that teacher returned after one year, the principal of Carle Place, at the time, contacted his friend, Michael Glennon, the principal at Wheatley (at that time) and I was hired at Wheatley. After one year at Wheatley, Carle Place contacted me again and offered me a position teaching AP American History and I couldn’t pass it up as I was a very young teacher and felt honored to be offered that position! I taught at Carle Place for three years, became tenured, and then had my first child. I decided not to return to teaching so that I could raise my first son and then have a second son! After 9 years and raising my kids, I returned to teaching at Wheatley in 1995.
- What makes teaching at Wheatley unique?
- I have adored every moment of my career at Wheatley. There a number of reasons why I believe that Wheatley is a unique place-Wheatley’s faculty is second to none – each and every teacher is exceptionally qualified and passionate about their work – I am in awe of the talents of our faculty and their daily dedication to the task of educating our students. Wheatley is also a unique place because of its exceptionally dedicated and hard-working students! I am consistently moved by the level of interest and effort that students bring to their classes – my students have always shown great respect for the process of learning and have enjoyed many of the classroom activities.
- What will your official title be at this new job?
- I will be hosting a radio show on a local station.
- When was the first time you realized you loved rock and roll?
- I am a lover of classic rock of the 1960’s and 1970’s simply because that is the music that I grew up on. My dad was a composer so the love and appreciation of music is simply in the blood!
- Do you have a particular favorite artist or band?
- So much of this music was political and I was, since my days in middle school (or as we called it, “junior high”) dedicated to some of the great issues of social and political reform of that time – civil rights, women’s rights, and the anti-war movement. Some of my favorite artists of the time are of course, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Simon and Garfunkel and so many, many others!!!
- What will your daily responsibilities include?
- My new career is really an extension of teaching in that I will be hosting a radio show, on a local station, that will link the music of the 1960’s and 1970’s with the political, economic and social events of the time. Students could even use the shows to help them delve deeper and more creatively into this time period!
- Do you plan on mentioning Wheatley on your talk show?
- I will certainly find a way to mention Wheatley in at least one of the shows, if not more!
The MOST Important Question: “How Are You?”
By Jacob Ribotsky
It isn’t the strenuous work, the identity issues, or the social problems that make being a teenager hard, but rather, it is the resulting stress, fear, and anxiety that truly makes the life of a teenager difficult. We go to school everyday, take nine exams, we play our sports, we participate in our clubs, we maintain the social status quo, all while the rest of life doesn’t stop. A teenager wouldn’t expect his/her “place of solace” to be school, but with a teacher like Mrs. Schwartz, it’s easy to see how one may come to such a conclusion.
There were times we felt lonely, times we felt sad or down, and times we just wanted to drop everything and cease to care, but we didn’t. We knew there were people who cared about us caring, and you were one of them. Now, of course everyone has their family and friends who should promote positive regard and be caring, however, this is expected. That said, when someone who one might not expect to truly care about your well-being asks you every single day, “how are you?”, telling you it’s the most important question of the day, one feels content, knowing that in the midst of life’s stresses, people do care, and not just the ones who are obligated to.
Mrs. Schwartz, you may have taught us both World History and U.S. history, but more than that, you taught us the history of morality. You taught us that caring about your fellow man or woman, making sure they are okay, is of the utmost importance. You taught us to have compassion, even when we don’t want to give it. You taught us to be understanding, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and analyze their experiences. You taught us that one person can have a profound impact on those around them. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for teaching us about the Roman Empire, for we learned not to indulge in materialistic happiness; thank you for teaching us about slavery, for we learned that all humans are bound by emotion; thank you for teaching us about the Greeks, for we learned how we love philosophy; and most of all, thank you for teaching us about life. Everyday you came school with a smile on your face; you asked us “How are you?,” you laughed with us, and you debated morality with us. If we were to choose the top 5 people who have sculpted us into the students we are today, Cynthia Schwartz would be on that list. Every student who has had you, including me, is so proud and honored to have had you as our teacher, and although that experience is coming to an end, your lessons will live on.
So, Mrs. Schwartz, don’t be shy, reach out every once in awhile, and answer the most important question of them all: “How are you?”