As each class of graduating seniors prepares themselves to move on to their next phase of life, retiring teachers do the same with them. This year, Shorewood will have to say goodbye to the class of 2021 along with these beloved teachers.
The Shorewood community has been home to science teacher and hip-hop advisor Alisan Giesy for the past 20 years. Looking back on her favorite part about Shorewood, Giesy said it’s the friendliness.
“People smile at you in the hallway. That’s not true of everywhere… They smile, if you say hello, generally they say hello back. It doesn’t matter if it’s a student you know or a student you don’t know or a colleague you haven’t seen in a while. People make eye contact and are interested in what you’re doing,” Giesy said.
Frank Fisher, math teacher, said that his favorite part of teaching at Shorewood also has been the people. “What makes a course a lot of fun or less fun are the people. I remember one year my favorite class was pre algebra. It was full of wonderful people,” he said. “I’ve been here for 42 years, so there’s just been a lot of smiles along the way and it’s all related to people.”
Looking back on her first year as the counseling secretary, Sharon Roma said, “I can remember going home after work each day and saying I didn’t think I would be able to keep up the pace of this position,” she said. “But time worked its magic. I work in a very caring, supportive environment and have made lifetime friends.” Roma has worked a total of 16 years at Shorewood.
Through all the years working on the Shorewood staff, relationships and connections have been made between the staff and their co-workers and students. “[I’ve loved] working with the really amazing staff. Shorewood has got some rockstar teachers that it has been a privilege to work with over the decades,” said Brenda Gilman, who has worked as Shorewood’s librarian since 2002.
Debbie Marsh has also been involved at Shorewood’s library as the library media technician for the past 22 years. To her, Shorewood has acted as a second home. “The staff and students have always been a second family and I care so much about all of them. Each class of kids that graduate and move on is always kind of a bittersweet thing, but there’s the excitement of the new freshmen coming in. Spending eight hours a day here for that many years, the staff around you, as well as the students, it’s like a second family,” she said.
Shorewood has created a home for teachers, staff and students that have grown over the years. The same people have graduated, grown up, had families and stay in Shoreline. “I’ve watched parents have kids and their kids grow up and they stick around… It’s a lot of really really good people,” said Fisher. “I really think the neighborhoods and the people, that’s what makes the school community what it is.”
The Shorewood community has been through thick and thin. Victories and losses have been celebrated and mourned together as a community. “[I’ve loved] getting to celebrate with people as things happen. Conversely, being allowed to mourn with people as things happen. We’ve had some hard times in those 25 years as well. The community has come together really strongly,” said Giesy.
Along with a supportive atmosphere, Shorewood has also fostered a community out of the staff and students that get involved in their passions. “Students really step up and take active involvement in things that are important to them and it’s always been an admirable thing for me to sit back and watch. And it’s frankly what gives older people, like me, thinking about retirement… hope that the future is going to be okay,” said Marsh.
“[I have] the feeling of connection and being a part of something. This is a wonderful community of people and I get to meet them every day at my job,” said Roma.
As their time at Shorewood comes to an end, the school will always remember these teachers and they will remember Shorewood. “I will miss the kids and books. I’ll always have books around me… but I will miss getting up every day, coming in, and seeing the smiling faces of the students and the staff that I’ve come to know. That will always have a soft spot in my heart,” said Marsh.
“I love the variety that every day brings here at Shorewood. I never know who or what is
going to show up or happen each day I come into work… There is always something to make each day different and unique. I hope that I can bring that variety and uniqueness into my retirement life also,” said Roma.
Saying goodbye is always hard, especially when so much time has been put into work and relationships. “It has been a privilege and it will continue to be a privilege to see people that I have worked with and find out how they’re doing, and what exciting things they are accomplishing,” added Giesy.
“I hope students will love libraries so much that they will continue to seek them out after they graduate… It’s been my home away from home. I have really loved being a part of Shorewood,” Gilman said.
As a final word to Shorewood, Fisher said, “Thank you to all the people along the way. My time at Shorewood is all about relationships… and thank you to all the people who were part of that.”