Staff bids farewell; Retirees reflect on past, look toward future

As the senior class graduates this June, four staff members also depart from the high school, preparing to start their retirements. As they leave, they share their memories, reflections and future plans.

First Impressions
Just as seniors look back on their first impressions of the high school, this year’s departing faculty members remember their initial reactions.
“It was 1973,” said Spanish teacher Diana Marcantonio. “I was only 22. I didn’t seem older than the students—they were 17. I was scared, but I never let it show.”  She remembers that the position was difficult to get because of the high school’s reputation for high performance.
Social studies teacher Steven Levinson recalls  feeling both “excited and nervous” about the challenges ahead of him 20 years ago.
Lorraine Sleeper has spent 20 of her 28 years in the district in the high school’s media center. She began working there the same year her daughter became a freshman. Sleeper called the experience “an exciting time for both of us.”
Media center specialist Eunice Akerblom has worked at the high school for 14 years, helping to maintain the library’s collection and motivating students to read. She was initially “impressed with the student body and their work ethic. The faculty was very welcoming and friendly.”
Last Impressions
Much has changed about the school over the years. “When I started, there were five computers and now there are 18,” said Akerblom of the media center, whose 2010 renovation she helped plan. “Also, there are databases for every subject that students can access 24/7.”
Sleeper, who has also worked in the attendance office and advised the Model U.N. club, said her favorite memories include helping juniors with research projects and chaperoning field trips.
Levinson taught You and the Law,  and U.S. History I and II. In the mid 1990’s he also advised Model U.N. Like the other retirees, he admitted to having bittersweet feelings about leaving. “After 20 years, the sadness in unavoidable, but I am looking forward to new challenges.”
Marcantonio, who also advised Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society and the Interact Club during her tenure, agreed.  “It was a hard decision [to retire],” she said. “I’m really going to miss it. I love my students.”
Future Plans
Akerblom will return to her native Massachusetts, where “being a New England Patriots fan and having a [Boston] accent will be accepted.” Spending time with family living in the area will be a favorite pastime.  “And, obviously, I’m going to keep reading,” she said.
Sleeper plans to travel and visit with her grandchildren more often, as will Marcantonio, whose son is expecting a daughter. “I’m going to spoil her rotten,” she said.
Levinson will be entering into a business venture with his son, but looks forward to leisure time. “I plan on traveling and sleeping late into the morning.”
Marcantonio anticipates lots of time for her favorite hobbies—reading, gardening and knitting—and will also volunteer and substitute teach.