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So Long, Farewell

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Six staff members are prepared to retire at the end of this school year, and two others are set to say goodbye for new adventures.

The end of the year is coming and it is not only time to watch our seniors move on to the next chapter of their lives, but our influential faculty members as well. It’s a bittersweet goodbye to Wilbur Borrero, Phyllis Fay, Mary Kelly, Toni Leprich, Bruce Peterson and Eric Schevikhoven; all of whom we are thankful to have learned from, taught beside and created memories with throughout their many years at ACHS.

WILBUR BORRERO

Wilbur Borrero came to Antioch with an open mind and heart in an effort to make a difference in students lives; 15 years later, this dean is ready for new adventures. Positivity is one of the many traits that stand out in Borrero. His willingness to help students throughout all aspects of life makes him an admirable person and role model to this school and community.

“I’ve been blessed in many ways to be able to come to a job that I truly love,” Borrero said.

Borrero is always tolerant and eager to help when things are bothering someone. His exceptional qualities have inspired many students in the past in so many different ways. Borrero has put in great efforts to instill tolerance, kindness and patience onto students and future generations. He has worked tirelessly and now it is time to enjoy all that he has labored for in the past years.

“Our kids here are just tremendous,” Borrero said. “They, as a whole, are very respectful—their ambitions and cheering for their sports programs—there’s so many good qualities here.”

Although he is in his last year as a dean, Borrero intends to come back during the wrestling seasons to continue coaching.

“As long as they need me, I will coach, so I will be around next year,” Borrero said. “I’ll be in and out of the building, maybe I’ll do some subbing, who knows.”

BRUCE PETERSON

Starting his teaching career in 1990, Bruce Peterson worked as a special education teacher at Allendale until moving to Antioch Community High School in 2012. Peterson felt that his strengths as a teacher would be best served by those that have a need for his specific skills. Coming to Antioch, Peterson felt that he was out of his element for a while.

“It was quite overwhelming for me, as I have been teaching in smaller size classrooms and [I] was exposed to a more narrow group of students,” Peterson said. “To come to Antioch Community High School was like going to the big leagues and experiencing the big time.”

Peterson has been a part of the Sequoit staff for five years and has made memories and learned lessons that will last him a lifetime. Beyond coming to the “big leagues,” coming to Antioch has given Peterson the ability to exercise and incorporate his personality into his role as a teacher.

“I was able to use my strengths as a teacher to reach out to those students and staff in need,” Peterson said.

Following retirement, Peterson is looking forward to doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it.

“I look forward to not getting up at 5:30 everyday,” Peterson said. “Being able to start some projects that I said I was going to do many years ago. [I want to] be able to visit people and continue to watch my daughter excel in softball.”

Among the many experiences that Peterson will take away from working at Antioch, he is most thankful for the kindness that is so prevalent around this school.

ERIC SCHEVIKHOVEN

With schools being highly technologically dependent, desktop specialist Eric Schevikhoven has come to the rescue many times for students and teachers. Schevikhoven came to Antioch just over five years ago after a friend had introduced him to this line of work. Despite having to deal with technical difficulties on a daily basis, finding his way around Antioch was the biggest challenge for Schevikhoven. Coming off of 25 years in a Fortune 500 company, the students and staff of District 117 have become more personable “clients,” which is something Schevikhoven loves about his job.

“To me, helping a teacher with an issue in their classroom, or an administrator with a hardware or software problem, or a student with their phones, meant more to me than I could ever imagine,” Schevikhoven said.

With kids still in college, Schevikhoven will not be able to fully retire for a couple more years; however, his time at Antioch will not be forgotten.

“My team has helped my knowledge grow in technology,” Schevikhoven said. “My manager has shown me how to see different perspectives. Talks with the staff and students have helped me grow as a person, team member and father. I will never forget those talks.”

MARY KELLY

Being a part of the Sequoit family since August of 1997, Mary Kelly originally applied to handle the in-school suspension room. Turning down the job, Kelly worked as a para-professional and then coordinator of the special education department. Having only four special education teachers in the past has made Kelly proud to see the program grow, develop and more than double in size.

“I enjoyed mentoring several of the teachers in our department,” Kelly said. “I appreciate the opportunities I have had to teach new instructional curriculum at ACHS: forensic science, earth and space systems and a revised business math.”

Kelly plans to continue subbing at Antioch, but she is going to miss her daily exchanges with her department colleagues and the math staff.

“When I completed my masters degree in special education, it felt like coming full circle back to education and working with students that struggle,” Kelly said. “ I have been most fortunate to work in an excellent department with some of the most supportive colleagues, and enjoyed the opportunity to co-teach with some of the best teachers at ACHS.”

While Kelly looks forward to traveling with her husband, her favorite memories will always be how magical the homecoming parades were with the bonfire and fireworks. Kelly is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Sequoit family and will never forget the memories and relationships that she has made along the way.

PHYLLIS FAY

Twenty-two years ago, Phyllis Fay was looking for a new and stable school district and found herself applying to Antioch Community High School. For 18 years prior to joining the alternative education program, Fay was an assistant principal for student services. Although working under nine principals in 22 years has been a challenge for Fay, she has had undeniable success under each new perspective. According to Fay, her defining moments have taken place outside of the classroom setting.

“Personally, I am proud of the fact that I earned my doctorate degree at a time when other administrators did not pursue such advanced degrees, all while working full-time in a very demanding position as assistant principal,” Fay said.

Achieving such high academic success is a huge accomplishment for Fay; however, she will always be inspired by how strong and willing students are to pull it together despite difficult times, such as the Columbine Tragedy, 9-11 and several deaths which have left a lasting impact on the school and community.

“I am always amazed and honored at the power of youth and the way they can pull it together, sometimes better than adults,” Fay said. “I am proud to watch former students develop as adults and pursue their dreams.”

While Fay is looking forward to continuing her quilting business, she is thankful for her 22 years and how she learned to let things roll off her back rather than put her in a tailspin.

TONI LEPRICH

Having kids graduate from Antioch, visual arts teacher Toni Leprich knew that working here would not only be convenient because of the proximity to her home, but also because of her familiarity with Antioch’s education system.

“You can pretty much have a good education just about anywhere as long as you have the right attitude,” Leprich said. “I hope that I instill that right attitude to my students.”

Besides working in the fine arts department, many of Leprich’s favorite memories took place in her stagecraft class. She loved being a part of the theater program and all the laughs that were shared throughout her time there.

“The students will always be what I will miss the most about retirement,” Leprich said. “The students are why I am here.”

According to Leprich, it is very hard for her to remember names, but she will never forget faces. She can’t wait to see her former students around Antioch in the future, but looks forward to finishing her countless art projects that she has started in the past.

“I have learned to be more organized,” Leprich said. “Also, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon or a lawyer in order to be successful. You can be successful in just about anything that you do.”

Among the many things that Leprich has learned in her 17 years at Antioch, she will always be grateful for the relationships she has made and the lessons she has learned.

KATHARINE GIERTYCH

Northwestern University and Scotland exchange student, Katharine Giertych, found herself applying for a maternity-leave position just over six years ago. Realizing her passion for teaching, Giertych stayed at Antioch in an effort to inspire students of all grade levels. This year, Giertych has found a new calling in San Diego, California where she will be a Girl Scouts of San Diego camp director as well as continuing to fulfill her duties as a teacher.

“I come to work everyday and can say that I love it,” Giertych said. “Not a lot of people can say that.”

Throughout her many years at Antioch, Giertych has worked tirelessly to help develop programs and events around the school. Antioch’s broadcast program, SBN, started with the help of Giertych. Although Giertych was inexperienced going into it, her open mind helped SBN grow into the success it is today.

“This year, I have my seniors graduating out of SBN,” Giertych said. “Five of them are choosing to pursue broadcast next year. That’s when I knew that I was doing something right for these kids.”

Giertych has not only inspired her broadcast students, but students throughout the whole building. After seeing Writers Week in a neighboring school, Giertych knew that she had to bring it to Antioch. To her, Writers Week is meant to show students what can happen when they follow their dreams.

“I look forward to the unknown,” Giertych said. “It’s an adventure and something new. Knowing what challenges and taking risks can do for you, you can go out and achieve your goals.”

Giertych has not only been a great teacher, but an inspiring one to students and staff around the building. According to Giertych, she will miss her students dearly and her good friends throughout the English department.

“As I hope many of you see, the English department is a family,” Giertych said. “Antioch is a family and that is hard to find.”

ARNOLD GLAPAJONE

Finishing his tenth year at Antioch, Arnold Glapajone will be saying a bittersweet goodbye as he looks forward to new opportunities in California. Although motivating students to want to learn math can be challenging, Glapajone is grateful to have had the opportunity to teach and coach basketball from the get-go of his career at Antioch. While Glapajone is going to miss many of his relationships with student and staff members, many of his memories take place on the basketball court.

“A memory that stands out to me is our boys varsity basketball team winning our first regional championship,” Glapajone said. “I was so proud of the players and happy for the rest of the coaching staff as well as the community.”

According to Glapajone, being a teacher and coach allows him to see a very wide spectrum of personalities and backgrounds.

“Working at Antioch has taught me that different people need different things,” Glapajone said.

Glapajone will be greatly missed by his math students and basketball players.

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