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ENGLISH TEACHER Georgette Wallace, who was hired to teach at THHS in 1990, will be retiring after twenty-five years of teaching here. In her time here, she’s taught numerous English courses, the Humanities seminar, and even Health classes.
After her battle with breast cancer this year, the birth of her grandson and changes in the education system, Ms. Wallace felt that it was time to retire. Although she will be happy to rest during her retirement and have a break from work, Ms.Wallace expressed great disappointment over leaving her students.
“I loved when [students] discovered things that even I didn’t realize. [We] created something together,” she said. “I had a hand in it because of my education.”
For many of her students, Ms. Wallace was more than a teacher, but a close friend. “When I wore the same [clothing] size as they did, I would give them clothes to wear on dates,” she said.
English teacher Raquel said, “She’s everybody’s mom. She’s been a second mom to a lot of people. What she contributes goes beyond the classroom.”
Social Studies teacher Jamie Baranoff added, “She will be missed, she’s made a tremendous contribution… she’s loved by everyone I know.”
Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowski emphasized Ms. Wallace’s dedication to her students: “She really has this relationship with students through clubs and activities, and it goes far beyond the classroom.”
Initially hesitant to become a teacher, Ms. Wallace didn’t commit to the profession until the principal of a school she was working at part-time encouraged her to obtain a degree.
After her retirement, Ms. Wallace plans on spending time with her family and friends, particularly her grandson in Albany.
She will also pursue her own interests again, such as needlework, theater and traveling.“Those important aspects in my life have been put on hold because of the demands of teaching,” she said.
Another reason that Ms.Wallace felt that it was time to retire was due to the numerous changes brought about by the city and the school that she disagrees with.
“We’re following a formula that we don’t need to follow here,
and it upsets me that everybody just has to do this for no apparent reason,” she commented on the system.”We’ve always been such a such a good school. We didn’t need to be told what standards [to uphold]; we just did them.”
Despite her issues with the system, Ms. Wallace remains enamored of the time she has been able to spend with her students.
She shared that “When any of us go shopping and the checkout person says ‘have a good day’ one of the things I always say is: ‘I already did. I spent it with my students.’”