Celebrating Kristen Emerson–30th Birthday Edition

Scituation Midyear Project: Celebrating a Beloved SHS Teacher


Kristen Emerson through the years collage

1992 was a year filled with accomplishment: Thelma and Louise would take home the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The country’s largest shopping mall, The Mall of America, would open to the public. Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Cats would be among the year’s top-grossing Broadway plays. President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin would bring the Cold War to its official end. And Celine Dion would win her first of many Grammy Awards for Beauty and the Beast. It was a decade-defining year, and one whose tone was set with a January surprise: Kristen Emerson–also known as “Kemerson”–was born…

SHS history teacher Kristen Emerson was born on January 26th, 1992, arriving six weeks early in Florida at exactly 4:12 p.m. As the middle child to her 17-month-older sister, Maggie, and younger brother, Conor, Ms. Emerson has always been the “peacemaker” of her family, according to her mother, Kathleen Emerson. In fact, Ms. Emerson’s mother, who has been a history teacher at Medfield High School for 21 years, recalled how Ms. Emerson “always loved history and loved listening to her stories.” In addition, since her grandfather was a history buff, it seems “Kemerson” was destined to pursue a profession in history starting from her youth.

Coming from a family where education has always been a priority, Ms. Emerson’s passion for teaching came with little surprise. In fact, her Westwood High School AP Psychology teacher, Jonas Sherr, recounted, “I think it’s possible that literally the first time I met Ms. Emerson she made it clear she wanted to be a high school social studies teacher.” According to Sherr, Emerson carried herself with an outgoing, cheerful, and thoughtful personality. Sherr said she was “the kind of student you look forward to seeing in class every day.” Emerson brought dynamic energy to her courses and a powerful influence on her peers.

Emerson’s AP US History teacher, Corey Rocha, is among the many who are thrilled with Emerson’s decision to pursue teaching: “She is exactly what this profession should represent–dedicated, empathetic individuals who have a curiosity for the past and a passion for working with young people.” Remembering Emerson as an “all-time favorite student,” Rocha said it’s evident Emerson’s spirited and contagious energy has sparked joy in the lives of those around her.

With a far-reaching influence on those who’ve been lucky enough to know her, Ms. Emerson’s intricate personality is impossible to describe with just one word; however, when asked to do so, here’s what some people said:

“Her personality in one word? SPIRITED!” ~ Mr. Rocha (WHS teacher)

“Passionate” ~ Cleo Belber (SHS Class of 2021)

“Vivacious…or just KEMERSON!” ~ Ms. Griffin (SHS teacher)

“Effusive!” ~ Mr. Kermond (SHS teacher)

 “BornToTeach” ~ Maggie Emerson (sister)

“Effusive” ~ Mrs. Blake (SHS teacher)

“One word??? Hmmm… Melodious” ~ Ms. O’Driscoll (SHS teacher)

“Magnetic” ~ Ms. McGloin (SHS teacher)

“Considerate” ~ Joe Emerson (father)

“Tall” ~ Mr. Blake (SHS teacher)

“Pa-zazz” ~ Mr. Swett (SHS department chair)

“Caring, passionate, loving” ~ Kathleen Emerson (mother)

“Exuberant” ~ Patrick Sullivan (SHS Class of 2022)

“Well-rounded” ~ Mr. Kovach (SHS teacher)

Although Ms. Emerson has a wide range of passions, it is her love of music that resonates with many people in her life. Her father, Joe Emerson, shared his perspective as he fondly remembered his daughter’s constant singing: “When she was young, she lived life as a musical.” Most notably, anyone who knows Ms. Emerson can recall her love for one artist in particular: Celine Dion. According to her mother, when Ms. Emerson was first introduced to Celine Dion’s music, she was caught singing “My Heart Will Go On” in the family’s backyard. Years later, Ms. Emerson’s SHS classroom now displays a life-sized cardboard cutout of Celine Dion–gifted by her homeroom graduating class of 2021.

With such a powerful devotion to music, it’s only fitting that Ms. Emerson’s 30th birthday is honored with a celebratory playlist…

Ms. Emerson’s Official Playlist

Run The World (Girls) – Beyoncé

Celine Dion Discography 

Dancing Queen – ABBA

The Great British Bake Off – Tom Howe

Mr. Boombastic – Shaggy

Singin’ In The Rain – Gene Kelly 

For Good – Wicked (the musical)

The Best – Tina Turner 

You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore (if she is teaching about feminism)

When asked to reminisce on their favorite memory of the birthday girl, SHS coworkers, past teachers, family, and friends shared their vibrant and heart-warming stories only a person as rare as Ms. Emerson could have created. SHS special education teacher Roxanne Griffin shared memories from Ms. Emerson’s impromptu performance at a freshman assembly when she kept the students engaged with her Celine Dion karaoke and history trivia.

Referring to Ms. Emerson as his “best work buddy,” SHS mathematics teacher Phil Blake shared stories of the pair’s classroom rivalries, including her bursting into geometry and “destroying the vibe” by inserting commentary “about the queen of England, musicals, and comments about her height” among others. Another one of Blake’s cherished memories is when he was “helping Ms. Emerson through the trauma of striking a deer with her car. Also, reading the police report.”

From leading a teacher-dominated dance party at the 2016 prom, seeing Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again three times in the theatre in one summer with her sister, or chaperoning the SHS foreign exchange trip with French teacher Jake Kovach, Emerson has left a clear impact on the SHS community and her beloved family.

Today, in her eclectic classroom filled with plastic deer heads and homages to Nadiya Hussain of The Great British Bake Off, Emerson continues to create unforgettable memories for her students and fellow staff members. Whether it’s through impromptu debates on the validity of British royalty, or guessing which celebrities fought in wars, it’s clear Emerson promotes positive and unique energy at Scituate High School.

The entire Scituation staff feels lucky to have Ms. Emerson brightening the hallways of Scituate High School as a fiery teacher, dependable friend, and uplifting role model, and we wish her a very happy birthday!

Special Messages for Ms. Emerson…

“I hope she knows how awesome she is and how much I look up to her.” ~ Cleo Belber

“I hope that Kristen is always my classroom neighbor because I love that.” ~ Mr. Kermond

“Happy Birthday, Ms. Emerson! Your students are so lucky to have an incredible teacher like you. Also, thank you for being such an amazing friend. May your 30s be as wonderful as you are! Happy Birthday!” ~ Ms. Griffin

“Celine has an average singing voice. The People’s Liberation of the Deer Movement lives on. VIVA LA DEER!” ~ Patrick Sullivan

“Thanks for being my friend through the past 7 years and growing up with me as a teacher.” ~ Ms. O’Driscoll

“Stand tall, seek advice from your elders, and never stop glowing.” ~ Mr. Blake

“So glad you have been here for more than three years — hope you are here for more than three more.” ~ Mr. Swett

“One of my all-time favorite students…I’d like to wish her the happiest of birthdays and continued happiness and success!” ~ Mr. Rocha

“Ms. Emerson–please know that I, and my colleagues at Westwood who were lucky enough to have you–are really proud of you…even Mr. Rocha. I’m sure you’ve been lucky enough at this point to have students who go on to do great things, but becoming a high school social studies teacher is about as special as it gets! I’m so happy your students are giving you this recognition. Happy birthday!” ~ Mr. Sherr

“I love you, and I am so happy you were born 30 years ago. May 2022 be the year I finally watch Mamma Mia.” ~ Mrs. Blake

“I am extraordinarily proud of the person she has become in all aspects of her life.” ~ Joe Emerson

“30 is just the beginning!” ~ Maggie Emerson