Staff soaks in summer

Jessica An, staff writer

As the school year comes to a close, teachers feel excitement for the summer but also sadness as their students move on to continue the next chapters of their lives, many South teachers said. There is one word to describe it all: bittersweet.

With the arrival of summer, many teachers look forward to traveling, catching up on books, and even welcoming home a new member of their family, South teachers explained. For Nick Morley, Social Studies Teacher, summer provides a moment of satisfaction and relief after a long year of hard work.

“A bit of a weight [lifts] once you put in that last grade and clean out that last bit out of the classroom,” Morley said. “But [teachers experience] a certain melancholy as [they] send another batch of students out into the world.”

While Covid-19 halted teachers’ travel plans for the past two years, many have finally resumed travel this summer, including her own family trip to Germany, German Teacher Laurie Haugh said. She is excited to return “home” this summer and reunite with friends, as 2020 had marked the first year that she had not gone to Germany since 2001.

“The last time I was in Germany was [in] 2019, so it’s going to be good for my soul to see [my German] friends again,” Haugh said. “They’re the type of friends that feed your soul and I miss them dearly.”

For others, it is the simple things that are the most exciting during the summer time, English Teacher Alex McKenzie explained. Reading books, walking her dog, and gardening are her big plans for the summer.

“I look forward to reading more books for pleasure, seeing friends [and] family, [and] of course, sleeping in,” McKenzie said.

For some, the summer includes welcoming home new family members, including a new baby for Morley.

“My wife and I are expecting our first baby,” Morley said. “My [summer] plans are mostly diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.”

Summer does not mean the end to all school activities, as the Engineering Club will start working on a project for a competition in October called the Pack Challenge, Justin Zummo, Technology Education Teacher, said. Over the summer, students will split into teams and begin to design an apparatus that can fill bottles using a conveyor belt, Zummo explained. 

“The machine will be [arriving] in the next couple of weeks so [Engineering Club] will be working [on it] over the summer,” Zummo said.

In the summer, teachers are also able to spend more time with their families, sophomore Dana Ralston said. During the school year, she does not see her father, English Teacher Phil Ralston, very often, but in the summer, she spends a lot of quality time with him during road trips for basketball tournaments.

“I don’t see him a whole lot during school and winter because he’s really busy, [so] it’s nice to spend time with him in the summer,” Ralston said.

As the school year draws to a close, teachers look forward to soon being able to relax and look back on the year, Spanish Teacher Rachael Rothrauff said.

“Summer is much more relaxed in terms of schedule and the responsibilities I have each day, so I really enjoy the summer,” Rothrauff said. “The beginning of the summer is a time to reflect and consider what you’re going to change or [improve] the following [school] year.”