How many teachers do you know that like to play with Play-Doh in their free time? When she’s not helping freshmen adjust to the high school through the language program, Ms. Testa Checola is often playing with the modeling clay alongside her two kids.
While this is her first year as a full-time staff member, Checola is certainly not new to the high school. She was a student at the high school before going off to college and later becoming a teaching assistant at the high school.
Checola is adjusting to her new position, which carries much different responsibilities than her previous position as a TA.
“The toughest part is keeping track of all the paperwork,” said Checola. “When I was a TA I just gave the paperwork to the teacher for them to do. I also spend much more time writing than I did before,” she added.
Mr. Collin Shattuck had high praise for Ms. Checola about her time as his TA. “What I’ve most admired about Mrs. Checola is her ability to create a calming environment while addressing the academic needs of her students,” said Shattuck.
“She instinctively separates the pressures and anxieties that come with achieving high academic standards and helps the students work through their challenges with content in a masterful way,” he added.
Checola’s new position at the high school might come as a surprise to those who knew her at Clark University, where she studied government. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do coming out of college. I worked in real estate and really didn’t like it, so I decided to go back to school and study education,” she said.
While her new position does come with more responsibility, Checola considers the rewards to be much greater. “My favorite part of my job is really getting to know the students. I enjoy getting to know them on a personal level as well as academically. I want them to know they can always talk to me,” said Checola.
(Peter Santo ’16, Sports Editor)