Each year, our ASH community says “tot ziens” to staff, students and parents as they leave our community to embark upon new life adventures. We also celebrate and honor our retirees for all they have done during their time at ASH. Karla, a 2022 retiree, reflects on her ASH experience during her 10 years as part of the high school community.
How long have you been at ASH, and at what capacity?
This is my 10th year at ASH. I came in as the High School Dean of Students under Director, Rick Spradling and High School Principal, Paul Mackaill. In 2015 the Dean of Students title was changed to a HS Assistant Principal position, which I have held since that time.
How does it feel to be in your final year at ASH?
The feeling is bittersweet to say the least. I'm beginning to realize that this major life change may be a bit stressful in the first months, especially with the move back to the US, but it certainly will have its benefits in the long run. The "Aha feeling" of not waking up to an alarm clock is such a refreshing welcoming thought. I will cherish that feeling!
What are some stand out memories or moments for you during your career?
Ton will never let me live down the time that I tried to enter the building (too late) and set the alarm off. If I remember right I think that was in my very first week of school and yes, I had a legitimate reason, too! Another stand out memory was experiencing the very first "Opening Day" Assembly for the high school. Wow, it brings back memories to the nervousness that I experienced at that time. I'm surprised I didn't fall off that stage. Many may not know that I do experience stage fright. I prefer being a "behind the scenes" kind of person but with my position it is difficult at times. Anythony C., I welcome your stage fright tips!
Are there any students or colleagues that a lasting impact on your time at ASH?
I have been very fortunate to work with outstanding colleagues at ASH through the years. So many have touched my life in many ways and they know who they are. I'll never forget the welcoming messages from so many people before school even began and when I walked in the front doors of ASH on that very first day of 2012. Vic and Eileen F., now retired, were appointed as my "social buddies" so the many times spent with them through the years and yet today have been very special and memorable to me. One just knows who those special friends are that will have an everlasting impact on your life. Both Paul and CJ were also so helpful and supportive in the transition role when I first started 10 years ago. What would we do without our friends and the memories?
What will you miss the most about ASH?
Helping and supporting students who need a "little extra care" and who struggle from time to time, be it emotionally, academically or socially. Sending birthday messages to students on their "special day", being a part of and attending the musicals, plays, HS activities and sporting events to name a few. Working with and supporting colleagues in so many facets of learning and teaching, popping into classes to see how teachers and students are doing or if they need help/support as well as enjoying and attending "community" events such as Extravaganza, International Day, beginning and end of year Bar-B-Q's, etc. Overall, here at ASH, we all have a passion for learning, teaching and working with colleagues who genuinely care about others in all domains of life. It is such a pleasant atmosphere, full of laughter and enthusiasm and of course joyous moments and times of celebration too.
What do you plan to do once you retire?
In retirement I plan to spend valuable time with my children, grandchildren and other family members with vacations and special holidays included. Spending time with close friends will be an "extra perk". I look forward to greeting my new puppy when I arrive home in June so that I can train him as a service dog, taking him to schools, nursing homes as well as socializing and spending time with disabled children and adults. Horseback riding/showing with my children/grandchildren is also at the top of the list with the hopes of finding a little acreage to enjoy the gardening, the pets and the great outdoors.
We have a diverse community of students, staff, and families from around the world. Each member of our community brings their own story that enriches the ASH experience.