Saying Goodbye to Greeley’s Latest Retirees
By Lindsay Hand
During high school, you often wonder about the need for so much work. Will the endless hours of studying actually pay off? As a rising college sophomore, I’m surprised to be able to say yes, it does pay off. I was worried as I began my freshman year that I would be overwhelmed by the workload, but I soon found myself more than able to handle not only the work but extracurricular activities as well. And I realized that, despite the stress and pressure, Greeley really did prepare me for college. I learned how to study well, I learned how to manage my time, and most importantly, I learned how to write strong papers, arguably one of the most important skills one could have, no matter what their vocation.
All of this would not be possible without some incredible teachers, and Greeley is fortunate to be home to many. And so I salute a great number of them –11 teachers, one secretary, and one administrator, to be exact—who retired at the end of this past school year. These faculty members–Beth Aviv, Liz Rath, Sally Cochran, Jerry Furey, Elise Chadwick, Louise Hazebrouck, Davis Knobloch, Chris Louth, Vita Materasso, Chuck Sehulster, Sue Pojer, Jane Perito, and Michele Glenn–have all had an incredible impact in their combined 294 years at Greeley.
Former Greeley English teacher and assistant principal and new Seven Bridges Middle School principal Andrew Corsilia feels that this is an incredible loss for the district. These retirements hit him hard, since four of the retirees – Furey, Hazebrouck, Aviv, and Chadwick – were English teachers with whom he worked for many years. He recalls Furey’s “incredibly warm, welcoming spirit” upon their first meeting back in 1997 and Chadwick’s constant support of him throughout their years working together.
More than anything, these teachers are taking with them “decades of teaching experience and an incredible wealth of content knowledge,” says Corsilia. “They defined the [English] department when I started teaching. Personally and professionally, it’s a big loss for me.”
He also elaborates on the many contributions the retiring teachers have made to the Greeley community beyond the classroom, highlighting Mrs. Materasso’s Sunshine Club, which celebrates and supports teachers, and Mr. Sehulster’s Project Challenge, which helps form a community with some of the freshmen. “It’s sad,” Corsilia adds. “It feels like a loss.”
Though I am no longer a Greeley student, I personally feel that loss. I was fortunate to work individually with Mr. Furey as one of his Independent Literary Analysis students, where we shared our love of books and the deeper meanings within them. He has since become a friend and mentor, always excited to see me and hear about my college experiences (and give me new books to read!), an example of how many teachers in this district care so deeply about their current and former students.
In his 40 years of teaching, Mr. Furey has touched the lives of thousands of students and has enjoyed working with his wonderful colleagues. He says one of his favorite things about the English department at Greeley was that “the teachers all teach differently, but in the end it all comes together,” creating students with varied and exceptional writing skills. Furey and the other retirees have shaped Greeley over the past few decades and their impacts will continue long after their retirements.
I, like many other Greeley graduates, was fortunate to have some truly phenomenal teachers during high school, who instilled in me important lessons and skills that eased my transition to college. While the retirees have all been so important to Greeley, Greeley and the Chappaqua community have also been important to them.
“It’s more than leaving a job,” explains Corsilia about the feeling at the June retirement dinner, which celebrated the retiring teachers. “You understood the impact that they have had on the school and how Greeley has become a home for them.”
Lindsay Hand has been writing and editing for Inside Chappaqua since eighth grade. She is now a sophomore Communication major at Cornell University.
Editor’s Note: A list of retirees from all the schools in the district will be posted soon too!