There’s no greater reward for educators than hearing how their teaching has impacted former students decades after they’ve gone out into the world.
CEA has heard from many individuals who’ve shared the big impact teachers have had on their lives. In the videos below, Connecticut public school graduates talk with their former teachers about how those teachers have shaped them into the people they are today.
English teacher and 2020 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Meghan Hatch-Geary taught Nikki Cina at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls and opened Cina’s eyes to social justice issues she hadn’t previously known about. Cina learned about efforts to stop human trafficking through a school club that Hatch-Geary ran, which has inspired her to go onto a career in child protective investigation work.
Allison Hughes was a nervous ninth grader in Lisa Abel’s band room at Simsbury High School 15 years ago, and she still remembers today how Abel made her classroom feel like a safe space. Over the four years of high school, Hughes decided to follow in her mentor’s footsteps and become a musician and music teacher. She now works as a professional musician, performing in several ensembles, and as a flute instructor, at times coming in to assist Abel’s students.
Kyle Brennan initially pursued a career in sports journalism after college, but when he was ready for a career change he thought back to the impact of his teachers at Woodland Regional High School, especially English teacher Paul Geary, who first introduced him to the world of journalism. Thanks to Geary’s example and inspiration, Brennan is now a history teacher at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury.