Fresh Faces in the Aragon staffulty: Part III

Interviews by Caroline Huang, Victoria Fong and Audrey Kim
Photos by Dhruv Singhania


Angela Castillo — Sophomore Adviser


Dhruv Singhania / Aragon Outlook

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I love to travel. I love to shop, and I love to go out to eat, and wine and dine. And of course, hang out with my kids. But actually, my favorite favorite is photography.

Why do you think it’s important to “capture the moment”?
Because one I think it’s different than a video. You can see that moment in time. It’s almost like time stops. Because eventually everybody ages, and when you look at pictures–at least when I look at pictures– it takes you back to that time, and you remember it. Where you were at that time, at that day, and just think of what you looked like, because people are forever changing and you want to remember that moment.

You said you liked to travel. What has been your favorite place to travel to?
My favorite favorite place to travel is Bora Bora. Absolutely my favorite. We stayed in a hut, over the ocean, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. But other than that I love…Hawaii, Jamaica, and I love Paris…New York…Actually I have to add I have a new place on my list: Cape Cod. There’s nothing like it. I think it’s just being on the East Coast…It’s just so different from here: different weather, different type of food, different things to do, it’s just a different way of life, but Cape Cod is just a place you have to visit if you haven’t.


Melissa Mark — Speech Therapist


Why did you want to be a speech therapist?
I was thinking about getting into education and being a teacher, but I wasn’t really comfortable with getting in front of a large group of students and speaking to them. I liked the idea of getting to work with a small number of students at a time.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
I really like helping kids find a voice … In lots of different ways, [whether] it’s speaking up more [or] being able to speak more clearly.

Do you have a favorite TV show?
Right now my husband and I are into “Game of Thrones.” We’ve watched all the episodes, so we are anxiously awaiting the final season. [My favorite character] is definitely Khaleesi. She’s very strong, very independent and she’s a woman in a man’s role. She’s a very good role model in that, but she’s got a lot of morality.


Johanna Kelly — Resource Specialist


What is the your favorite part of teaching?
I love the kids, I love figuring out ways to help kids who are struggling. I feel like I’m creative, and I feel like I have good strategies to help them figure out how best to learn something … It’s exciting to see when they’re successful, rising above their struggles. It’s rewarding when I see my kids really growing and trying something that maybe they’ve never tried before. We work really hard, and there’s a reason we work really hard. I’m really proud of them, and it’s satisfying to see it’s working. They’re more confident, happier, attitude changes about school, and they think, “Oh I can do this.” They can take ownership about being successful.

How does it feel to be back [at Aragon?]
It’s really nice, I feel like I’m home, it’s nice to be around teachers who I really admire … There’s a lot of smart and dedicated teachers here … I just feel like these are my people and I feel like I’m really comfortable here. It definitely feels like a really tight community.

What are some of your hobbies?
I like going to the beach with my dog and kids, collecting sea glass, collecting driftwood, playing in the ocean, being outdoor, doing yoga. It’s relaxing. If we go with family, it changes the energy, and the fresh air and water feels good …  I like to run and jump in without a wetsuit, it makes me feel invigorated … I enjoy making things with driftwood. I’m happiest when I’m making things. I collect the sea glass in jars, the act of collecting sea glass is very meditative to me.  When I have it in the jars, it’s a nice reminder of where I’ve just been.


Andrea Winter — Counselor


How did you start counseling?
I had to have a career change. I was in advertising and I didn’t like it. I felt like it didn’t fill my soul with good things. So, I was actually working at Old Navy at the time. I was managing a store. I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, and I ended up working with a lot of teens and high-school-aged kids. I started noticing that I like to talk to them and hear them out. I was like “Oh, maybe I want to be in education or counseling” and I found a good program and that’s how I ended up here.

What are some of the hardest moments or aspects of working a high school?
I think the hardest thing is when you don’t have control of the situation and acknowledging that and being OK with that. I feel like counselors, we have the type of personality that always wants to help and just always wants what’s best for someone else. Just not being able to do that or to make that change is very frustrating, but it’s part of the job. We can’t change things that are out of our control or change people who don’t want to change. Just learning to be okay with that is the most challenging part of being a counselor.

Is there a goal that you have that you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
I think a goal in my personal life is to meet up with my brother at least once a year. We live on different coasts, so I don’t get to see him as much as I would want to. Making one of those trips, like a trip where I go to see my brother or we meet up somewhere. At least we have that for next year, so I want to make sure that we have that every year. Just plan something so we can spend some time together.


Jennifer Beasley — School Psychologist


Can you tell me a little about how you grew up?
I did a lot of outdoor activities with my family … No [I don’t have any traditions with my family anymore], my family doesn’t live up here, they live in Southern California, but I am still passionate about skiing, hiking. I get energy from being outdoors. It makes me happy.

What do you enjoy reading?
I like nonfiction better than fiction because I like to learn things. Right now, I’m reading [a book] about the whaling industry that went on in Nantucket and survival, so it’s very interesting.

Why do you prefer going out over staying in and watching a movie?
Connecting with other adults. Where I’m sitting and watching a movie I’m not having an interaction. I’m more drawn to the social parts.

Check out Part I the new staffulty profiles here! And Part II  here!

Posted by Caroline Huang

Caroline is a junior who still thinks she's a freshman and probably still gets mistaken as one on a daily basis. On the rare chance she has free time, Caroline is probably bench pressing her large stack of homework or petting random dogs, whom she calls her "friends". This is her second year as a Features writer and she is looking forward to all the new articles she can write.

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