Spalding Legends: Sheila Postlethwaite

Spalding+Legends%3A+Sheila+Postlethwaite

Eddie Hagigh, Editor-in-chief

For the second installation of my Spalding Legends series, I had the joy of interviewing Ms. Postlethwaite, an English teacher who has been teaching at Spalding since 1985, and one who has taught 51 years in total. 

 

On starting at Spalding knowing no one, except the previous principal who ended up leaving:

“I was coming to a new school with absolutely no one I knew… I started off as Department Chair at Spalding, which was a little difficult. But it was a very small department, there were only 4 of us. That gives you an idea of how small Spalding was back then and how much it’s grown.”

“I’ve been at Spalding for so many years and some people say ‘how could you stay at a school for that long?’ The thing about Spalding is … it’s never the same school.”

On the change in school culture since she began here:

“The uniforms were different. The girls wore jumpers and the guys a coat and tie… The auditorium during an assembly was not filled, we all got seats which was nice (*laughs*).”

“When I first came to Spalding, the LRC was a home economics room… If you can picture room 114 and that area, it was this massive room with stoves and refrigerators and sewing machines. You would walk down the hall and you’d smell these amazing cakes or cookies baking. The teacher would always bring the results of the kids’ cooking into the faculty room… The Engineering Wing was full of typewriters, and you learned how to type 60 or 80 words a minute without looking at your keyboard.”

“The first priest I had as a principal lived here. In what is the Religion/Athletic Wing now, used to be something called the Convent. Originally, there were all nuns at Spalding and they lived in that Convent.”

On her initial dislike for Spalding, and how our academics have improved since:

“I was a little concerned about the curriculum… Fortunately, we got a principal that felt the same way. I mean, there was no [English] AP when I came to Spalding… [Aquinas] is an amazing program under Dr. Kandrac’s direction. But that started in the English department as just one little tiny course. A lot of things have changed, but it’s all for the better.”

On the many alumni who return as teachers, including several in the English department:

“That’s a huge percentage for just one department. At graduation… when they ask all the alumni to stand, every year it just grows. There’s something about Spalding that just makes people want to come back and I think that’s just awesome.”

“[Spalding’s] more like a family. And I think during this darn virus, I think that’s what I’m missing the most, because we can’t get close together and we can’t just hang out after school. I used to have students just come in after school to chat, and that was so nice… I’m really, really missing that, and everybody is, not just me.”

On what separates Spalding from the rest academically:

“We have to submit an audit for what we teach in AP English. What the College Board requires is so much less than what we do. It’s like we’re never satisfied with the minimum; it’s always gotta go way beyond, and I so support that… The kids seem proud of the programs. [Expectations] are the difference between Spalding and an average school.”

On outcomes of Spalding students and the most interesting one of a student she’s taught:

“A published author. That was really, really cool. But I’m proud of all of them. Everyone, I think, is a big success story who has graduated from Spalding.”

 

Thank you so much to Ms. P for taking the time for this interview. I think everyone can agree she is certainly one of the most impressive “Spalding Legends”!