More Than Family

More than a dozen NASH students this year have parents who are full-time teachers in the building.


Kat Klinefelter

NASH senior Leigh Failla makes herself at home in her mother’s AP Psychology classroom.

Kate Gilliland, Opinion's Editor

School is where we first learn to not rely on our parents at every turn. By the time students reach high school, they likely no longer wish to live in the shadow of their mom or dad.

But for 13 NASH students, that experience is very much a part of their daily life, as they have parents who also happen to be teachers in the school.

“I think it’s helpful to have my mom in the building because she can help me with anything that comes up. Whether it’s stress or I’m just hungry, I always have someone to go to,” said junior Mackenzie Volpe, whose mom, Sharon Volpe, teaches AP Calculus BC. 

For some students, having a parent in the building at all times is helpful, as it gives them someone to go to if they need an adult. 

“It is helpful having a parent as a teacher because if I ever have a problem, I can just go downstairs and ask my dad,” said senior Claire Clemmer, whose father, Jonathan Clemmer, teaches photography, jewelry, and sculpting. 

D. Crickets

Having a parent as a teacher can also be helpful outside of school, even for students who do not take their parent’s class. 

“My mom’s class has a reputation of being a tough class, but it is very helpful to have a personal tutor at home,” said junior Megan Manesiotis, whose mom, Joy Manesiotis, teaches Honors Pre-Calculus. 

For Nate Spak, whose mother, Jill Spak, teaches AP Biology, it simply was not in the cards that the two would meet up in class.

 “I would like to have my mom as a teacher, but I would not want to take her class,” Spak said. 

The interaction between student and teacher differs from a child-to-parent relationship, and having to manage a pre-established relationship can be difficult. 

“It is definitely an interesting challenge to balance the relationship between us as student and teacher [compared to] daughter-mom, but we have made it work and have been pretty successful,” said Mackenzie Volpe. 

But Megan Manesiotis is happy to have some distance from her home life when at school. 

“I feel like it would ruin our relationship,” said Megan Manesiotis when asked if she would like to have her mom as a teacher.  

The biggest benefit of having a parent at NASH is how it affects a student’s work ethic. 

“Most of my teachers have known me for a long time, so I feel like I need to give my best effort at all times,” Spak said. 

Mackenzie Volpe has a similar view. 

“Honestly, it does make me work harder because I know that if I miss an assignment or do poorly on a test, it is much more likely to reach my mom before I have a chance to make up for the mistake,” she said. 

Odd as it may seem to have a parent as a teacher, for these 13 students, NASH feels a lot like home this year.

“It isn’t as weird as people might think to have my mom in the building,” Mackenzie Volpe added. “I’ve always made close relationships with my teachers, so my mom is just like another one of those teachers.”