Arctic to activism: the diverse summer plans of Wilson teachers


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Sam Marks

As the year comes to a close, many faculty and students have already planned their summer holiday. While we’re counting the days until school lets out, many Wilson teachers have made their summer with some unique arrangements, ranging from vacations to attending courses for the next year’s curriculum.

Spending his summer in Wyoming, history teacher Jonathan Shea is admiring the great outdoors. “We’re up in the mountains, I go horseback riding, I go hiking,” said Shea. The mostly outdoorsy summer takes Shea to many national parks, “I do go up to Yellowstone and there are some smaller ones we go to.” Along with a strong fondness for the outdoors, Shea also plans to “sleep until lunch whenever possible and read good books.”

Chemistry teacher Daniel Barringer will be taking a vacation to his family’s summer home in Michigan—a tradition he has kept up since he was six months old. “The house has been in my family since 1902,” said Barringer. The over-a-century year-old house has been an integral part of his family’s summer experience. While out of school in the summer, Barringer is a waterski and wakeboard instructor, a summer job he’s had since he was 13 years old.

From the day school ends to the day it returns, English teacher Natalie Zuravleff is spending her time working in policy. “I’m doing a paid internship called the Urban Leader Scholarship. It’s for teachers who are interested in policy.” said Zuravleff. The organization Zuravleff will be working with provides opportunities to work with politicians and legislative issues affecting America. Getting involved in politics has always been important for Zuravleff, especially with the upcoming 2020 election.

Belle Belew, an English teacher, plans to take training for AP Seminar, a new AP course at Wilson next year. After a week of training, Belew will travel to the Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Along her travels, she hopes to stop in Greece and try some authentic cuisine. “I can order Greek from a restaurant and it’s my favorite food but I’ve never been,” said Belew.

The cold climates of the Arctic will be home to chemistry teacher Laura Chase this summer. “I’m gonna be travelling to Iceland, Greenland, and Svalbard with National Geographic and Lindblad expedition ships to learn about climate change in the Arctic region,” said Chase. The three week journey takes Chase on board an ice cutting ship with National Geographic. “They’re really invested in helping people learn in a hands on kind of way.”

Grover Massenburg, a digital media teacher, is building his summer around graphic design workshops. “A week after school I’m going to a workshop called Out of Chicago. It’s a workshop on street photography and architecture photography.” Apart from being a digital media teacher, Massenburg is also a photographer. “It’s really helped my work out a lot and I really enjoy teaching the students photography.”

The tiring toll of the school year leave many teachers excited for the summer and as an opportunity to relax and have fun. A break from work life gives chances to discover new interests or just relax after a long year of in school work.