Two of Wethersfield’s Unsung Heroes
Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Liam Stec
In the Wethersfield community, there are many roles that people take on and manage. They vary in responsibilities, roles, and their effect, but nonetheless they are very important.
While these may be behind the scenes, or out in the open, these roles should be acknowledged and praised, especially the ones that Wethersfield High School’s English and math teachers Kristen Mucinskas and Shannon Belanger have taken on.
Mrs. Mucinskas began her teaching career at Wethersfield High School 25 years ago, saying “I feel like I was always called to teaching, I knew in high school I wanted to be a teacher.”
While being a teacher hasn’t always been the easiest, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s something she’s put countless hours into, on top of all the other things she does for the school, such as overseeing everything ECE (UCONN’s Early College Experience program) and her work with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Mrs. Belanger, on the other hand, began her teaching career at Wethersfield High School 11 years ago, saying “I think in fourth grade I wanted to become a teacher, I really enjoyed my teacher, but I didn’t know what I wanted to teach.” It was not until college that she decided what she wanted to teach, saying “It was in college I realized that I missed math, so I decided to become a math teacher.”
While she originally became a teacher to work with others and help teach concepts and help others gain a greater understanding, Mrs. Belanger has actually been doing this much longer than 10 years, helping her friends with their math homework when she was younger. Mrs. Belanger is also involved extracurricular activities, coaching the math team, being the sophomore class advisor her work with NEASC, and even working security at the hockey games.
Among the hours invested by both teachers, one very important role that both teachers have invested time is being the Chairpeople of NEASC accreditation for Wethersfield High School. This is an organization that promotes and helps improve the quality and methods of learning, allowing for students K-12 to receive the best education possible.
This is a heavily intensive role for both Mrs. Mucinskas and Mrs. Belanger, spending hours alone organizing meetings, going to other schools and accrediting other schools (going to, approving, and sharing the schools methods of education), and meeting with each other to brainstorm possible ideas to make our school and community better.
When asked of why they do it, Mrs. Belanger responded that both as a teacher and a member of NEASC, “I really enjoy making and impact as well as helping kids,” which is exactly what NEASC is about, helping kids and giving them the best education possible.
However, both Mrs. Mucinskas and Mrs. Belanger both acknowledge that this wouldn’t be possible without the support Wethersfield High School has provided. “Our staff has been amazing, and we’ve asked a lot from our staff, and people [the staff] have been really supportive,” said Mrs. Mucinskas.
Mrs. Mucinskas and Mrs. Belanger have done a great service to not only our community and school, but Connecticut as a whole with what they’ve accomplished with NEASC. Wethersfield is very lucky to have two teachers like them who are not only great teachers, but role models for future teachers as well.
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