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Future Teacher Signing Day celebrated for 28 seniors

Group photo of students

While proud of all of its graduating seniors, Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 educators took a special morning to recognize 28 students who plan to follow in their career footsteps.

Photo of superintendentA Future Teacher Signing Day was held May 3 to encourage these soon-to-be graduates, many of whom brought family members and District 200 educators who’ve inspired their path toward studying education in college.

Most of the seniors have been involved in the Educators Rising program at their respective high schools. The event was organized by College and Career Counselor Tanya Thomas and Educators Rising advisors Tami Robinette and Jennifer Rooney.

“Starting our Educators Rising Chapter three years ago has been a game changer for our students,” Robinette said. “Students have many opportunities throughout their high school career to go into classrooms and observe, assist, and even teach mini-lessons with all the amazing D 200 Educators throughout our schools.”

Woodstock High School Senior Cassidy Ryan said she’s always wanted to eventually teach, which has only been reinforced during her time as a student, especially by observing some of her favorite teachers including Mark Jones from Prairiewood and Meghan Brown at WHS.

“I’ve  just always known since I was little that I wanted to be a teacher. When I was young, I would play teacher,” Ryan said. Ryan will attend the University of South Carolina Beaufort next fall.

Superintendent Mike Moan addressed the students and shared his excitement about their chosen career path.

“One great part of every school year is having a great class of graduating seniors who it’s hard to say goodbye to, but you have a bright future and so many things to be excited about — doubly so today because you’re entering education. For everyone in this room who works for us, that’s near and dear to our heart,” Moan said.

He told them about starting his first day as a teacher eager to share his deep passion for history.

“That first day, I was drained. I was wiped out. What I realized was that eighth-graders didn’t love history as much as I did. But what I also realized right away is that it’s not about what I love and what I do, or what my passions were. All that really matters is that I love kids. I want to try to make a difference every day,” Moan said. 

“I don’t know that I have that impact on people all of the time, but that’s always the goal. That’s why you’re an educator.”

Woodstock North High School senior Casey Jo Vermett will study education at  University of Wisconsin - Parkside next year where she has also committed to play softball.

Vermett said she realized her interest in education as a high school sophomore in Rooney’s preschool education class. “The preschool class gave us a lot of hands-on work. That was significant to me to realize that I really enjoyed working in the teaching field.”

She brought her mother and teacher Mickey Olhava to Friday’s event as another career role model who has inspired her career journey.

Rooney said she was thrilled to celebrate this group of future educators. “They are all passionate about their future as teachers and have been working hard this year with our new Dual Credit Intro to Education course and in their elementary Internship placements. They are going to be excellent educators, and I would love to see them come back here to Woodstock after college and teach in this community.”

Bronte Borter, WHS chair of the world languages department, attended the event at the request of senior Antonia Osorio Reyes who will start her post-high school education at McHenry County College. Borter said Osorio Reyes only spoke Spanish just a few years ago.

“Her English is now superior. She’s got the (Illinois State) Seal of Biliteracy. She’s worked so hard. She’s just a good person with strong character, and she’s what we need in this profession,” Borter said. “She’s a future teacher I’d want to hire for my building.”

Photo of student and family

Photo of student and teacher

Photo of student and mentor