The North Star

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Saying Farewell to 2019 Retirees

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Saying Farewell to 2019 Retirees

Robin Amberger
Social Worker
Former volleyball coach and sponsor for Star Raters

How long have you worked at NNHS?
I’ve been at North for 13 years. I’ve [worked] 35 years in the district. I was at Naperville Central for 22 years before I came here.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
I find North to be a place [with] really bright staff and really bright kids who are really. . . innovative people. I’m continuously impressed with the quality of the [teachers’] instruction and . . . continuously impressed by just the quality of . . . kids that I work with.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
When I retire, the things I will think about [the most] are all the laughs that I’ve had with my colleagues as we worked as a team to support students.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
I’m pretty exhausted, this is tough work. I have this theory [that] you go as far as your headlights shine and then from that space your headlights shine farther. So my headlights shine as far as I need to kind of revitalize myself. My initial plans are to work out [and] spend time doing things that I haven’t had time to do. I love to cook [and] journal. I’m taking a vacation in the fall because I’m always in school. [I’ll] just do things that kind of knock the dust off my soul a little bit.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
To work hard and to just trust that through hard work, you’ll get where you need to be. Everything’s going to be okay.

Lee Applegate
Learning Commons Director

How long have you worked at NNHS?
This is my 14th year.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
I love working with the kids: helping them with research, listening to what puzzles they’re trying to solve with their research, and just spending time with them.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
The lip dub was my favorite time here because the entire school was involved. There was a spirit in this school that was unbelievable. It was so cohesive and it was such a happy time.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
Travel. I have wanted to go to Alaska to see the whales. I want to go to Maine to eat the lobster there. I want to go on a river cruise in Europe. I want to see the mountains in Denver, CO. I’ve been on a couple of cruises, which I’ve enjoyed, and I’d like to go to Greece on a cruise. [I want to] travel, relax and visit with family and friends across the United States.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
The advice that I would give to my high school self would be to slow down [and] enjoy some of the activities that are being offered after school and spend more time with friends. I was so focused on academics I feel like I missed out.

Carliss Harris
Teacher
Classes taught: Marketing, Consumer Economics, Applied Math, Keyboarding, Computer Applications, Tech Edge, Intro to Business, International Business, Advanced Marketing, Business Management, Entrepreneurship
Sponsor for Business Professionals of America (BPA) and DECA.

How long have you worked at NNHS?
I started my teaching career at North in 2002 as a part-time teacher.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
I have always been a fan of the students. I entered into the profession as a second career, and what drew me to it was being able to make an impact in the lives of students.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
I just experienced something so special to me that it will forever remind me of why I became a teacher. One of my students who is a current senior at Northwestern University nominated me as the Secondary Teacher that made the most impact in her life. I was moved to tears because I had no idea that her experience at North was somehow positively impacted by something that I may have done or said. I was deeply honored.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
I am looking forward to leaving the cold behind…relocating to a warmer climate. I am also looking to continue working, but maybe as an entrepreneur, or with my kids, who are entrepreneurs.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
I would tell my high school self to not stress because at the end of the day it all works out.

Yvonne John
Teacher
Classes taught: Astronomy, Weather and Environment, Biology, Conceptual Physics, Earth Science, Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, Food Science
Former JV Cheerleading Coach

How long have you worked at NNHS?
This is either my 19th or 20th year, I’ve lost track!

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
The students and staff. Everybody is so engaged in the learning experience. Students want to learn, teachers want to teach, [and] support staff want to support us so we can be the best we can be within the classroom.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
[My best memory was] spring break 2016 when I took a group of students to Iceland. It was my first time traveling with students out of the country and the first time that a trip to Iceland was undertaken by a Naperville North teacher. I had customized the trip so that we could cover science, especially environmental science concepts. [I remember] walking across a glacier, discovering an ice cave, snorkeling in 34-degree water above where the North American and Eurasian continental plates are diverging, riding Icelandic horses in a spring snowstorm, and being mesmerized by the dramatic display of the dancing green Northern Lights. This was truly a magical experience that I still feel honored to have shared with students.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
[I am most looking forward to] cleaning my house. When I teach, that becomes the bottom of my list of priorities. I’m certified in both equine massage and acupressure so I will continue to kind of build my business in that realm.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
I don’t know, because I studied and I worked hard but I was also involved in the school. I didn’t get involved in drama and I was not a party person. There was not a lot of the peer pressure back at that time that there is in Naperville to 1) succeed and 2) to try to “survive” in this atmosphere of affluence. If I had to go back now, I would say take physics in high school. [I wouldn’t] wait until college to take [my] first physics class.

Chuck Koch
Counselor
Event Planner for Annual St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser

How long have you worked at NNHS?
This is my 12th year, but I had interned beforehand.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
The kids. They always bring something new and exciting. [They have] a lot of positive energy.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
[My best memory was] being on the sidelines with the soccer team when they won the state title. I’ve photographed [the games] the last few years, so that’s always really cool. I haven’t been there the last couple of times they’ve won but I’ve been down to [Peoria] with the girls cross country team when they’ve won. Just being around that kind of energy is always fun. [Another favorite memory is] the St. Baldrick’s event of 2015, when the mother of a child who is alive today because of a treatment developed through funding provided by St. Baldrick’s spoke at our Spring Assembly. When she spoke, you could hear a pin drop in the fieldhouse. We also raised over $100,000 that year. That moment in time showed how much [NNHS] cares and made me very proud to be a Huskie.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
[I am most looking forward to] projects. We are building a cabin. The cabin is on three acres of land and it’s about 10 minutes away from my 40-acre farm, so we have some cleaning up to do to get all of the weeds out to allow the trees the space to grow. Building a pizza oven is something I’m looking forward to. [I’m excited to] be able to go south when I want to instead of waiting until spring break when everybody’s going. For my wife, that’ll be one of the biggest thingsー to be able to travel when we want to.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
That’s hard because I was pretty independent in high school. I think I would have maybe done better in my classes because I did what it took to get by and didn’t worry about getting grades. Where I grew up, if you went to college it was a big deal. [In] 1972, [about] 20% of my graduating class went to college. In Naperville, where 96% of the graduating class [attends college], it’s a whole different world. I think if I looked back I would have saved more money.

Chris Seger
Teacher
Classes taught: Digital Art 1,2,3,4, Photography 1, Drawing 1.

How long have you worked at NNHS?
27 years.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
[My favorite part is] fostering creativity in my students and seeing their confidence in themselves grow.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
I have too many, but the Adapted Art & Design Show at the Alive Center was wonderful. I was so proud of my students and their peers.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
[I am most looking forward to] enjoying the ocean at Cocoa Beach.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
[I would tell myself] to not be afraid to approach teachers for help in understanding coursework.

Diane Sherry
Teacher
Classes taught: Biology/Honors Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Conceptual Physics, Earth Science, DES, Chemistry, Biotechnology
Instructional coach for three years
Sponsor for USA bio-olympiad prep group, former sponsor for Prospective Healthcare Professionals (PHP)

How long have you worked at NNHS?
[I have worked at NNHS] since 2003.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
[My favorite part is] working with the students. Students are receptive to learning and I think that you can build relationships with them. I like the energy that comes from students.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
[I think] laughing with students about body parts is pretty entertaining. One of my favorite stories is when one of my senior students took a skull home from anatomy to study over the weekend. He put it on top of his car, drove out to Ogden and it fell off of his car and got run over— it was real bone! We had to call the police and say there were human bones on Ogden. My best memories are watching students during dissection, or as they learn to use a new piece of tech equipment in biotechnology.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
[I most look forward to] whatever my next career is, and waking up later in the morning. I’m not sure whether [my next job] will still be working with students or working with teachers. I was an instructional coach for three years which is teachers helping teachers, and I went back to the classroom my last two years. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to work with adult learners or with high school aged learners but I’ll probably do something that’s still education related.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
My high school years were different because it was just post Vietnam and I was in the Washington [D.C.] area and so life was so intense; I would say be more in the moment. Enjoy the opportunities that are in front of you in high school. Don’t make it about the grades, don’t make it about what you’re going to do in college, make it about finding the good things in the moment. And I do think a lot of [students] are doing things for your future, but you got to step back a little bit and enjoy the moment.

Tim Rinker
Teacher
Classes taught: Algebra 1, AP Calculus AB
Sponsor for Freshmen Board and Cricket, announcer for Boys and Girls home soccer games

How long have you worked at NNHS?
20 years.

What is your favorite part of working at NNHS?
The kids, hands down. The excitement, the activity, the sense of humor, and how nice they are.

What is your best memory from your time at NNHS?
It’s kind of hard to nail down one thing. I’ve been involved with football and basketball and soccer. [I enjoy] any time [talking to] kids who are involved in those sorts of things, like state championships, football, soccer, [and] cross country state championships. And [the] dance [team] here just recently— all those things kind of stand out in my mind. I think the dance team giving me a state medal this year was kind of cool.

What are you most looking forward to during retirement?
I think the chance to travel out west more when it’s not high season for tourists. We like to take the Jeep off-roading in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, those areas.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your high school self?
I would tell myself to get more involved with activities at high school; have a little bit more fun and not sweat the small stuff.

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About the Writer
Lauren Guidish, Staff Writer

Lauren Guidish is a senior at Naperville North and is excited for her first (and last) semester working as a staff member for The North Star! She is looking...

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Saying Farewell to 2019 Retirees