Teachers Who Started With Us: In Our Hearts 4ever

From+Left+to+right%3A+Casey+Kimball%2C+Brian+Duffey%2C+Michael+Matisoff%2C+and+Kelsey+Olander+in+front+of+SHS.+Photo+courtesy+of+Christina+Pelletier.
From Left to right: Casey Kimball, Brian Duffey, Michael Matisoff, and Kelsey Olander in front of SHS. Photo courtesy of Christina Pelletier.

From Left to right: Casey Kimball, Brian Duffey, Michael Matisoff, and Kelsey Olander in front of SHS. Photo courtesy of Christina Pelletier.

From Left to right: Casey Kimball, Brian Duffey, Michael Matisoff, and Kelsey Olander in front of SHS. Photo courtesy of Christina Pelletier.

Christina Pelletier, Features Editor

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Vice-Principal Brian Duffey Didn’t Know School Could Be So Good

Brian Duffey has been a familiar face for everyone since his first day at SHS four years ago. Growing up in Lowell and working at an urban high school before coming to Scituate, Duffey was used to the challenges that come with working in a city environment, but he says it “became my life in an unhealthy way.”

Duffey was ready for a positive change and a warm school environment, which he found at SHS from the moment he interviewed for the position of vice-principal. “When I walked in, there was a John Lennon picture, and it was really warming to me. People seemed so interested in students. I was just really excited about the possibility,” he said.

Impressed by the “collective commitment to students” at SHS, Duffey made it a priority to be connected with people who have more challenges than others. Whatever kind of struggle it is, Duffey is always working closely with the counseling staff to support the underdogs and the students who need a little more help in “creative” ways.

Duffey said he loves seeing students come back after they graduate. He notices a level of maturity and success that SHS students develop after graduating. He finds this to be the most rewarding part of his job, adding that he finds it gratifying to “just to be part of a school where that’s happening — to work in a school where the work we’re doing is creating that.”

Working at SHS has allowed Duffey’s idea of school and education to change in a positive way. “I didn’t know school could look like this until I came here — I really didn’t,” Duffey said. “My first month here I thought it was a private school,” he added. At SHS, Duffey said he learned to further his belief in the potential of students. “I didn’t believe that young people could do as much as you guys do. Young people are capable of so much when put in the right situation,” he said.

Duffey will always remember how ambitious the class of 2017 was, saying, “Knowing what you guys do, it’s a reminder that we can hold those expectations to other students.” As the time for the class of 2017 comes to an end, Duffey remembers how they restored his belief in students as they grow up and become young adults. He exclaimed, “Mr. Wargo always says if we trust young people to do the right thing and put them in a position to be successful, they’ll impress us beyond expectations, and I don’t think I believed that before. I’m just really impressed by you guys.”

Casey Kimball: SHS Role Model

SHS Science teacher Casey Kimball’s four years at Scituate High School have been met with incredible growth and happy experiences. While looking for a new job, Kimball said something about SHS really stuck out — the welcoming atmosphere. “I was lost, looking for Mr. Wargo’s office, and people wanted to help me. I could tell it was really warm,” Kimball said.

One of the many events Kimball has enjoyed at SHS is last year’s Culture Night, which was led by senior Khadijah White and SHS Class of 2016 alum Kelsey Alves. “All of these things stick out with me. The fact that it’s such an open and wonderful place really stuck out with me,” Kimball said.

Having the opportunity to watch the class of 2017 throughout the years, Kimball recognizes how they’ve changed. She explained, “Kids come back and take classes with me, and it’s amazing how you can bump heads with kids, and they can still respect you and want to to take your classes.”

As the Class of 2017 leaves to explore the world, Kimball will remain an inspiration. Kimball’s bravery and excitement to come out as transgender late this year demonstrated that SHS is a place where everyone is “free to be me.” Kimball said, “Being allowed to be me in a place like this is one of the biggest things I think any school system could do. I’ve seen the evolution in maturity of the senior class rise over the four years. I just hope good things come with them because you guys worked really hard.

SHS’ MVP:

Michael Matisoff

Walking through the history hallway, students can almost be guaranteed to receive a warm, loud greeting from history teacher Mike Matisoff. When Matisoff, who previously taught at Milton High School, saw an opening at Scituate is stuck out to him. Having family in Scituate, Matisoff spent time here throughout his life and has always loved the town, saying, “It’s almost like it was meant to be.”

In his four years, Matisoff has taken part in a lot of change. From new schedules to new trips, Matisoff has seen it all. As class of 2017 Student Government adviser and adviser for Model UN, Matisoff has also taken part in creating changes and making a lot of decisions. Something that will always stick with him about the class of 2017 is “it seems like everyone really cares about each other.”

While Matisoff has enjoyed being a leader in both the classroom and extracurriculars, his highlight of the past four years has been his home base. As his home base smiled and “awe’d” when he said this, he added, “I’m not just saying that because they’re here.” With a senior home base this year, he has been able to come into SHS with the senior class, get to know them, and watch them grow as people. Looking back on his first four years and the class of 2017, Matisoff said, “I think that it’s been a really exciting four years and I’m going to miss everybody a lot. I get sad when I think about it.”

Kelsey Olander Hits a Home Run at SHS

For Spanish teacher Kelsey Olander, her four years at Scituate High School has made her grow and change — both as a person and a teacher — while gaining great life experiences along the way. Before working in Scituate, Olander was teaching at another high school where she was not happy. She heard about the job opening from Dr. Eckstrom’s wife, who was her cooperating teacher at the time. Teaching Spanish here for the last four years, Olander has “learned to be patient and to accept setbacks and embrace them,” expressing, “It does get a little bit easier every year.”

Olander has been very involved in the trips that are available to students. She has taken part in the two Spanish Exchanges that have occurred since she’s been here. She has also helped with the South America Excursion trips, where she tries to “choose places that are completely different to try to get the kids to see the world.” The next stop on her list includes Cuba, saying, “I think it is a good time to get down there. I was just there in February, so I really want to bring that opportunity to the table.”

A highlight in her four years of working here has been “watching this specific class go through four years. I had so many of them all four years. A huge highlight is watching them grow and mature into young adults.”

Another personal highlight for Olander was meeting her future husband, SHS math teacher Craig Parkins, adding, “That was pretty cool.” When asked what she will always remember about the class of 2017, Olander responded, “Everything! This is the best group of kids. I feel very lucky that I got to start teaching this class and watch them grow. They’re my spirit animal. They’re just awesome.” For the class of 2017, Olander wanted to express, “I love you guys — you rock my world!”

 

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