Yvette Marquez’s classroom is one of stories. Nine years of students learning Spanish by being immersed in the language, creating stories as they learn more about each other, their families, and Spanish-speaking countries, have gone by way too rápido. With the use of Spanish in class to express thoughts and emotions, the end of each school year allows her students to become a classroom community. Marquez will say hasta pronto at the end of this year, and she will cherish those students and their stories during her retirement. But before she leaves in June, la Señora has her own story to tell.
Favorite place on campus…The Arts Center theater. It is the safe space where we recognize the amazing talents of our students--where we laugh, and sometimes cry together. We have not been there over as a full Upper School the past two years, and I miss it tremendously. Something that will live on at GA…I was honored to continue the work that Peter McVeigh had started, with the goal of preserving his legacy. I believe we have. The Upper School community service organization has grown tremendously over the past years, and we currently have more than 200 members. In addition to the service activities initiated under Peter’s guidance, we have expanded to include delivering pre-packed lunches to Face to Face during the winter months, donating and maintaining a community fridge that serves the Ambler area, donating three “Little Libraries” to local townships, and organizing numerous fundraisers to help communities near and far affected by natural or war disasters. I am most proud of our blood drive which directly saves lives. We were the first school in the area to organize a drive in 2021 after the pandemic and this year we had our most successful drive to date. The greatest thing about Upper School Spanish classes are…As I tell my students, in five years (or way sooner than that) they are not going to remember the difference between preterit and imperfect, or the uses of the subjunctive, but they may try a delicious gazpacho in Sevilla or an arepa in Colombia because they remember talking about it in Spanish class. When everything is said and done, that’s what language classes accomplish. They broaden horizons by connecting us to other cultures not only through the language itself, but also through discussions about food, music, and traditions. Most memorable teacher/student moments…When a student spontaneously celebrates a light bulb moment, when a student helps a peer by explaining a concept, when we share a joke, and when they catch my mistakes! My “In closing” speech would contain…I came to GA as a parent, but I had no idea that GA would become my treasured professional and personal community. This community has been a source of joy, love, support, and growth and I will be forever grateful to Rich Schellhas for the opportunity to work with such an amazing, committed group of teachers, staff, and students. Rich not only provided me an opportunity, but he also modeled selfless leadership by always putting his colleagues, his staff, and the students and their family’s first. Rich has helped me to always assume good intentions and to find joy in the little wins that come our way each day. I leave with gratitude and look forward to staying involved with this remarkable community. I will most miss…The students and what they teach me every day; our department and our amazing Carol Ayers who has been a supportive and an inspirational colleague; Carlos who came all the way from Spain so that I could have a buddy to share chocolatinas and to help invigorate Upper School CSO operations. I will miss the energy of morning drop off, morning meetings, witnessing Deb Kennedy’s masterful work, and each and every CSO event. I will miss the magic!