My life began in Reading, PA on July 31, 1991. I was the first-born child to two wonderful parents. I was later joined by a brother and sister. After living in Exeter, PA for the first five years of my life, my family relocated to Blandon, PA due to my father's new job at DEKA Manufacturing.
Blandon would be my home for the next thirteen years. If you asked my teachers what I was like during elementary, middle, and high school, they would instantly say, "bright and motivated, but does not know how to stop talking!" Karma has seemed to catch up with me, but I feel I can identify with students better because of this. My elementary years were a great time. It was in my second grade year that I had Mrs. Ghessi, who serves as my inspiration for teaching. My interests in elementary school included reading and various sports.
Middle and high school were turbulent times in my life. I often felt like I did not fit in, and became withdrawn because of this. However, by the junior year of my high school career, I had turned a fresh corner. I rediscovered my love for reading and joined the cross country and track teams. While I had to bench myself due to injuries during my senior year, I credit my cross country coach and experiences with helping me turn my life into a positive manner.
It was during high school that I first contemplated education as a career. Initially, I wanted to become a chef. However, after analyzing the costs involved and the hours they worked, I decided against this. Cooking is still one of my greatest hobbies. Through the gifted program, I was allowed to participate in the Junior Achievement program. I loved teaching third graders and received good feedback from my teachers. I decided to apply to colleges to pursue elementary education.
I applied to one school: Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA. I was accepted and enrolled before October of my senior year of high school. I viewed college as a way to get a fresh start on life and begin anew. I began in the Fall of 2009. After one semester, I was miserable. I decided to apply to West Chester University. After being accepted, I reconsidered after a successful and fun spring semester at Shipp. I would remain there until graduation, returning in summers to Blandon to work for the YMCA at a playground camp.
I count the following three and a half years of college in Shippensburg as among the greatest of my life. Not only did I grow educationally and professionally, I grew and matured as a person. I became very self sufficient, confident, and independent. Many friendships were formed, I adopted my cat, Conner, and I became the person I am today. After graduation in May 2013, I remained in Shipp as a substitute teacher for an additional three weeks. Although I did love the town, I realized it was the experiences in Shipp that made it a memorable place. I returned home and began looking for jobs.
I had decided midway through college that I wanted to spread my wings and fly to a different state while I was young and did not have any ties to different areas. I settled on Virginia, Maryland, or Delaware as my three choices. I began applying to various schools in these states, as well as some schools in PA. Through a college friend, I heard of an open position at Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School in Front Royal, VA. I was offered an interview, and less than 24 hours later, I was hired. Less than a month after graduation, I had secured full time employment as a fourth grade teacher.
I immediately began moving preparations. I took residence of a rented house in August 2013 and began my teaching career shortly thereafter. Virginia is a fantastic fit for me. I truly feel that this is my home, even more so than Shipp. I love Civil War history and am enthused to be in an area surrounded by this. I found out that I have an ancestor who was captured in Chancellorsville by Stonewall Jackson. Moving to Virginia was a major life change for me, and I have never looked back.
I would later move to the Fredericksburg area with my then-fiance in our first home. The new area allowed me to further explore Civil War historical sites and become more acquainted with different parts of my new home state.
In late 2016, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to take a medical leave of absence from work as I completed chemotherapy, but was able to maintain contact with my students through Google Classroom. By March 2017, my chemotherapy was complete and my cancer was in remission. Having those few months off from work allowed me to focus on developing relationships with my students and fine-tune my craft. I returned to the classroom, ready to finish the year strong.
My life has had many twists and turns along the way. While I am still young, I feel very fortunate to have the abilities and experiences in my life. Each new day brings a new step in a new direction, and I look forward to continually growing.