Looking back at ASL’s history: Journey from student to teacher is strange but rewarding

Dr. Helen Jackson (photo by Anya Tchelikidi).

Students may forget that all the faculty and staff at ASL were once students too, and many may not know that, in fact, a few faculty members attended ASL as students. Dr. Helen Jackson, the school psychologist, Ms. Solange Kidd, a French teacher, and Mr. John Farmer, the athletics director are three former students who currently work at ASL.

Dr. Jackson went to ASL from seventh grade until her graduation in 1979, and she said, “It was an incredibly exciting and nurturing place to be a student, and it opened up new opportunities for me that I hadn’t anticipated and my family certainly hadn’t anticipated.” In 1994, Dr. Jackson returned to ASL after doing some work on the physiology of learning and the diagnostics of differences. 

Ms. Solange Kidd (photo by Anya Tchelikidi).

Ms. Kidd arrived at ASL in the eighth grade and also continued until her graduation which was in 1985. She returned in 1996 after having numerous other teaching experiences. 

Finally, Mr. Farmer attended ASL from fourth grade until his graduation in 1997, and he said, “I look back on those years as definitely some of the absolute best of my life…” Later on, Mr. Farmer came back to ASL in 2012 after working at a number of different schools. 

Mr. John Farmer (photo by Anya Tchelikidi).

All three agreed that returning to ASL was both amazing, but equally strange. Many of their former teachers still worked at ASL, and this caused some uncertainty about how to address them and how to act around them. In one incident, a teacher stopped Ms. Kidd from entering a faculty bathroom as she had mistaken her for a student! 

Furthermore, Dr. Jackson said, “It took me a long time to feel like, okay, I’m a grown-up and a professional here.”

The school has changed in so many ways since Dr. Jackson, Ms. Kidd, and Mr. Farmer were students here, and Ms. Kidd said, “It’s become the place where I teach rather than a place where I went to school, and not in a bad way necessarily, just because it’s been so long now.” 

ASL has been part of their lives for many years now, and Mr. Farmer said, “I’m such a believer in this school and I think it’s such an amazing place; it was as a student and it is now working here.” 

About Liz Merryweather ('21)

Features Editor (2016-2017)

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