Melanie Laquerre-img1

Melanie Laquerre (middle left) with some of her Green Team students. The Green Team is a student-run organization that focuses on reducing our environmental footprint individually as well as within our school and local communities. They work hard to find creative and practical ways to reduce, reuse and recycle!

When did you realize you wanted to teach?

I realized I wanted to be a teacher when I was applying for colleges as a high school senior. I was having a conversation with my mother trying to declare my college major. I was interested in exercise, wellness, and personal health and teaching seemed a perfect fit for me. I was excited to learn and talk about personal health and to teach young adults.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you do instead?

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would have been a nurse or physical therapist.

What’s your favorite aspect of teaching?

I am fortunate enough to teach most of the CHS students at least once during their high school experience. Almost every day there is a student who is kind, says something hilarious, has an “ah-ha” moment, or is a positive influence for a peer. What could be better than that?!

If you could change something about the education system, what would it be?

To have more time for teachers, staff, administrators and students to be part of committees and clubs throughout the year. This creates and builds a strong sense of school pride and community. I remember as a high school student that I often stayed after school planning a school event or activity such as wellness day or the talent show, volunteering and participating in sports and engaging in the arts. Now, more students live a greater distance away, play several sports, have outside of school interests, other activities or after school meetings and getting transportation home can be a challenge. If I could, I would have systems in place to support more student and teacher engagement opportunities to build a greater sense of pride and community at CHS.

What is your favorite book?

“The Notebook,” by Nicholas Sparks

What would your students be surprised to learn about you? (i.e. hidden talents, hobbies, etc…)

I have several actually! 1) I was once a physical education teacher and coach. My favorite grade to teach physical education was third grade. They are always excited and ready to listen, have fun and be active. I also danced throughout high school and college, leading me to choreograph two CHS musicals and continue dancing with a dance troupe that would occasionally perform in Burlington, 2) I always read the last chapter of a book before I read it, 3) Lastly, the ocean is my happy place.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure meal or dessert?

A mint chocolate chip brownie ice cream sundae.

Describe a moment when you really connected with a student.

In my first few years teaching the “Food: From Soil to Stomach” class, I had three students who became motivated to start a Green Team club at CHS. That first year we had a trash audit, found a CHS student to build the first CHS sort station, and educated CHS about sorting, reusing and recycling. We then wrote a grant to purchase water bottles for CHS students. We created and implemented a system with others to provide free uneaten fruit to CHS staff, teachers and students, and also for young students at other schools. After these students graduated, we have continued this club with over twenty students each year. As the advisor, what makes this so special is that the students are self-motivated to create and implement “green” ideas in their school community. These students are giving back to their community and increasing awareness of the environment in subtle ways. I enjoy facilitating this group to see their ideas come to life.

What is a difficult aspect of teaching?

It’s difficult not having enough time to work with students while also trying to find my own personal work/life balance.

What song do you know all of the lyrics to?

“Mama Mia,” by Abba

What current trends among your students are baffling to you and why?

What currently baffles me about my students is their lack of opportunity to be bored. When students are bored they often go right to technology whether it is a video game, movie or social media instead of taking more opportunities to get together with friends to talk, go outside to be active or be creative through the arts, music, drawing or writing.

What makes you proud to work in the Colchester School District?

I was fortunate enough to have gone through the CHS school system several years ago. When I started teaching at CHS, I was proud to co-teach and collaborate with my high school teachers. I am proud to have a special connection with many of them as they are part of my educational success, past and present. I am also proud of the continued support I receive from administrators when I happen to think outside of the box and want to try something new with my students.