Alumni teachers add to the school community

Ethan Gainsboro, Staff writer

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  • Alumna Associate Dean Lisa Redding '89 at the high school's Prom in 1989 (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Lisa Redding

  • Alumnus social worker Paul Epstein '91 running track for the high school as a student (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Paul Epstein

  • Alumna English teacher Sarah Kornell '02 as a student at the high school (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Sarah Kornell

  • Alumna English teacher Sophie Gorlin '02 as a student at the high school (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Sophie Gorlin

  • Alumnus science teacher Steve Lantos '80 as a student at the high school (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Steve Lantos

  • Alumna Associate Dean Melanee Alexander '89 at her high school graduation (left) and today (right).

    Photos provided by Melanee Alexander

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Doesn’t it feel weird to think that your teachers were once in high school? Now, try imagining your teachers actually being students at this high school back in the day.

Alumni teachers are just that: teachers who graduated from the high school as students. According to some of the alumni teachers, although the high school has changed in minor ways, it has generally remained the same.

Alumna and Associate Dean Lisa Redding ’89 said that although the physical aspect of the high school has changed, some of the high school’s main features remain intact.

“Aside from the physical part, there was no Atrium back in the ’80s, I don’t think the high school has changed much,” Redding said. “I love the open campus, the selection of courses that BHS offers, the diversity of the student body and the teachers and support staff that care a ton about kids.”

Alumnus social worker Paul Epstein ’91 said that because of renovations, the school has a much better physical feel.

“When I went here, it was very dark and gloomy. Post renovation, it was a lot cleaner,” Epstein said. “The school had definitely become a little bit run-down by the time I was a senior, and renovations were probably needed and the facilities weren’t as nice.”

Alumna and English teacher Sarah Kornell ’02 said that after going to the high school, she realized just how unique it was.

“I’ve taught at other schools and I don’t think people realize how different Brookline High is as a public school,” Kornell said. “Other public schools are a lot more rigid and more of what you see on TV with the bells and hall passes.”

There are over 15 alumni teachers at the high school. Above is a complete list of alumni staff at the high school, broken down by department.

Infographic by Haley Bayne
There are over 15 alumni teachers at the high school. Above is a complete list of alumni staff at the high school, broken down by department.

Epstein said that little reminders of alumni’s time at the high school helps their students see them in a different way and connect with them more.

“The throwback Thursdays and the Twitter stuff that Kyle Williams does is really great,” Epstein said. “I was one of the Throwback Thursdays and the ones of Mr. Cawthorne, another alumni teacher, and Ms. Redding are cool for kids to see and really humanizes them. It shows that these teachers were in the same shoes as the current students.”

Sophomore Sammy Guttell, who has alumnus Steve Lantos ’80 as his chemistry teacher, said that Lantos being an alumnus has helped the two of them bond.

“You feel like they’re a lot more connected to the school and it’s fun and interesting to hear Steve talk about his own experiences as a student and how the school has changed over the years,” Guttell said.

Redding said that alumni teachers, because of their close connection, work as hard as they can to sustain and improve the high school community.

“We know what it’s like to be a student here,” Redding said. “For me, personally, I’m really invested in making Brookline the best it can be because this is my school.”

 

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