Hello & Goodbye – Eaton sends several away, bids some hello

By Sydney Booth

Principal Tapia takes the helm

EHS students, meet your new principal, Jay Tapia. Cur- rently in his ninth year as principal at Severance Middle School, Tapia was hired by the board of education to ll Mr. Naill’s position after the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Prior to becoming an edu- cator, Tapia attended UNC to get a degree in nance. He decided to make the switch
from finance to education to pursue something “more fulfilling that made a difference.” His degree is in elementary education. Tapia taught third, fourth, and fifth grade for a total span of three years before returning to get his principal license. He was principal for two years at John Evans’ Middle School in Greeley before becoming principal at Severance Middle School, where he has been ever since.

Tapia said he made the switch to high school to see the “natural progression” of education. Tapia said, “I want to see the end result. I want to see kids get to the nal level. I saw kids mature from elementary to middle school, so I want to see the nal result at the high school level.”

According to Tapia, the feel- ing and reputation of Eaton was what sold him on taking the position. He said, “When I went into the interview, what sold me on Eaton was that I actually walked into the wrong door and got to talk to some students, and the feeling I got at Eaton was what I got in Severance. I told my wife, ‘If I get offered the job, I’m going to take it.’” Tapia said his biggest accomplishments at Severance were maintaining a “good cli- mate and building feel,” which is something he said he plans to do during his time at Eaton. Tapia said, “I want to make sure the kids are in the driver’s seat, and make sure they get to where they want to go. I want to meet with every kid to set goals that they want to achieve before they leave high school. Whether it be going into the service, to college, or getting a job, I want kids to feel like they have options.”

Tapia said his favorite memory in education arose out of a miscommunication in a phone call with a parent who was concerned with her daughter participating in the Wait Training program. Tapia said. “So I preceded to tell her that the teacher does controlled lifting, that we use dumbbells, not a lot of free weights, do not use heavy weights and really focus on high reps and form when lifting weights. On the other end of the phone was a long pause, so I asked if there was a question, and the parent started laughing, and said she was asking about the Wait Program, which is an abstinence program that we used in our health curriculum at that time.”

New itinerary says Columbia

Three teachers will also be leaving Eaton this year, includ- ing Merri Jankewicz, Alexa Gar nkel, and Robert Thorgesen. Interviews are underway

to ll their positions.
Merri Jankiewicz’s journey

at EHS began at the CSU job fair in 2007, the end of her se- nior year as a Ram. Although she was o ered another job, she took the position at EHS and is currently in her ninth year of teaching. Unfortunately for EHS students, she will be leav- ing for Columbia where she will be teaching ninth grade English on a two-year con- tract. She secured the job at the International Teaching Fair in Iowa this February, where she received what she calls the “most welcoming” feeling from Columbia. Jankewicz will de- part on July 26, where she will y to Miami, then to Cali, Co- lumbia.

Jankewicz said the move to Columbia is about immersing herself in both the culture and the language. Jankewicz said, “I have always wanted to learn Spanish but I knew I would never learn it by myself unless I put myself in a place where I would de nitely need to use it.” Upon the advice of Señora Gri n, Jankiewicz has been brushing up on her Spanish for about 20 minutes per night us- ing an app called Duolingo.

Of all of the things she will be leaving behind, Jankiewicz said she will miss the students the most. Additionally, she will miss the snowball ghts she had with her creative writing class and her group of fresh- man advisees. “I have such an amazing, smart, quirky, vibrant group of freshmen,” Jankie- wicz said. “I feel so lucky to have spent my last year at Ea- ton with them, and I can’t wait to see what bright, beautiful

things their futures hold.” e yearbook program is also close to Jankiewicz’s heart, as she has spent countless hours building the program so students can receive award-winning publica- tions at the end of every year. However, Jankiewicz said she’s con dent that the yearbook program is in good hands with Hannah Cooper who she said is “pure gold.”

Jankewicz said one of her best memories happened dur- ing state testing. “One time, Preston burned popcorn so bad during testing that we had to point fans at it out the window so the alarms wouldn’t go o ,” Jankiewicz said. Jancewicz also treasures the time she shared an o ce with Mr. Trotter and got students to sign his yearbook as a goodbye gift when he retired.