Farewell, retirees

Joelene Hefferon, Staff Writer

Five teachers are saying goodbye to DHS this year: Marlene Caravakis, Mary Veach, Pat Vilella, Robin Pietz and Rocky Wetzel are retiring. Three of them responded to a hattersherald.com‘s request to participate in our retirement roundup. Sue Gudim, a main office secretary, Florencia Carter of the attendance office, and longtime maintenance man Mike Morrison have also retired. We wish all of them the best.

Subject: Math

Years at DHS: 39 years teaching public high school; 19 years teaching at DHS.

College: Attended Western Connecticut State University, received a bachelor’s in Education/Math; a master’s degree, and 6-year degree in math.

Things I will miss:  I will first miss my students. The diverse background is why I switched to come to Danbury High because I love the different ethnicities. Since I’ve invested my whole life to teaching and given my whole life to the students, I have a lot of things that are rewards to me. One of them is watching them grow in math as teens, and then they transform. The excitement and the interest that they have in math and in me, makes me very happy. The “Ah-ha” moment when they master concepts. I’m also going to miss what makes each student so unique. I will miss the camaraderie that I have with the students. I will miss the shared experiences, the energy, and all the drama that comes along with teaching high school. I will miss the way that I have become so important in [the students’] lives in their most crucial years. As for the teaching aspect, I will miss teaching and exploring new ways to present lessons and delve into the subject area in different ways. I will miss the energy that it takes to get the students interested, and I will miss my colleagues and further experiences and their friendship.

Things I won’t miss: I won’t miss standardized testing, demands, or the time taken away from teaching. I’m not sure what else to say; I’m going to miss everything. I mean honestly it’s very bittersweet for me because it’s all I’ve done since I was 21.

Favorite memory of DHS: When I take a student that has no interest in my subject area, and I see them grow through the four years and get scholarships and succeed. By far one of them was that he actually became a math teacher because of me.

Advice to a new teacher: My advice is “Don’t listen to people complain about the job” because people complain about any job anywhere. You have to make your own way, and you have to do it for you and what’s right for your students. So I would just say, “Pave your own path, listen to good advice but don’t listen to people complain about it because you have to start somewhere and have that refreshed attitude year through year.”

Retirement plans: I’m going to watch the love-of-my-life, my grandson; I hope to still tutor and keep my finger in education, and travel with my husband.