The Parent Trap

For several NASH students, school feels a lot like home this year.

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The Parent Trap

Ashley Solenday meets with her dad, also her first period AP Calculus teacher.

Ashley Solenday meets with her dad, also her first period AP Calculus teacher.

photo by Abby Pingpank

Ashley Solenday meets with her dad, also her first period AP Calculus teacher.

photo by Abby Pingpank

photo by Abby Pingpank

Ashley Solenday meets with her dad, also her first period AP Calculus teacher.

By Abby Pingpank, North Allegheny Senior High School

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School entails enough stress as it is, and the last thing students often want is to have their parents get too involved. For some students at NASH, though, that is not an option, as their parents are here daily to witness it all. Such is the life of the juniors and seniors here whose parents are NASH teachers.

Junior Kayla Tozier enjoys having her dad in school with her — well, at least most of the time.

“It is a lot of fun,” the young Tozier said. “It is also very helpful because I can store things in his office. A lot of people say it is torture to have a parent in the building in this aspect, but I disagree.”

For all of the benefits, however, Tozier is regularly the subject of her dad’s jokes.

“Many of his jokes are directed at me,” she said. “Whether I am around or not, many get directed towards me.”

The elder Tozier, it turns out, delights in the antics.

“My favorite way to embarrass Kayla I found out by accident,” he said. “Her friends once walked into my office and said ‘Awe, it’s a baby Kayla shrine’ because there is an abundance of pictures of her of all ages all over my office, so now I invite all her friends down into my office whenever I can.”

For the first time in my career, I do not have to drive myself to work.  Kayla drives me.”

— Mr. Tozier, Music Teacher

Kayla is Mr. Tozier’s oldest child, but for Josh Truesdell, son of English teacher Mr. Truesdell, the experience of having a parent in the school is bit easier.

“I try not to embarrass him too much,” the elder Truesdell said, “because I want him to find his own way. He is not my oldest child, so this is not my first time going through this.”

For junior Ashley Solenday, the beginning of each school day is rather interesting. Solenday is in her dad’s AP Calculus class first period.

“I like having my daughter in my class,” Mr. Solenday said. “I try not to torture her too much because I want her to have positive high school experience.”

On the other hand, Solenday’s departmental colleague Mrs. Manesiotis does not to have her son in class for Honors Pre-Calculus.

“Even though I do not have Joe in class, I like getting to have some of his friends though because it is cool getting to see them grow up and now they are sitting in my class,” Manesiotis said. “It is cool to see when he stops in, and I like knowing that he has people watching over him.”

Several other members of the faculty, including Mr. Venezia, Mr. Lyons, Mr. Walker, Mrs. Roman, and Mrs. Fenton, have children in the building this year.  But for one particular parent-child combo, the situation is significantly different. Mrs. Schmiech and her son Mr. Schmiech are both teachers here at NASH, the former in science and the latter in music.

“It’s so great to get first-hand knowledge of his teaching style and seeing his passion for his subject,” Mrs. Schmiech said. “When I can, I love walking past the Choir Room and hearing the beautiful music during the day. It’s always a pick-me-up.”

Unusual as it is, the Schmiech-Schmiech duo has a unique benefit.

“We can always relate to each other’s stories about school,” Mrs. Schmiech said. “He focuses on ultimately getting a large group to work together to create beautiful live music. In Physics and Meteorology, we help each other learn through class discussions, labs, and interactions. It reminds me of the variety of structure students experience throughout the school day.”

By all accounts, the parent-child combos at NASH appear to be working out just fine.

“I’ve gotten to see Kayla grow up since she was an infant, and now she’s here,” Mr. Tozier said. “Plus, for the first time in my career, I do not have to drive myself to work.  Kayla drives me.”

This story was originally published on The Uproar on October 21, 2019.