By ANDREA GALABINSKI
Four teachers will be retiring this year from Cape Coral High School - two that have been there since the school opened in 1979. The four are Marcia and Bob Fain, Ingela Conley and Carol Shaw. Marcia Fain and Conley were the teachers that helped open the school.
Marcia Fain and Ingela Conley have been at Cape Coral High since it opened in 1979. Fain has even been teaching in the same classroom.
"The retirement of Marcia and Bob Fain, Ingela Conley and Carol Shaw is a big loss for Cape High and our community," said Cape High Principal Matthew Mederios. "These individuals have been dedicated, committed, passionate professionals for over 30 years and have provided excellence in education to thousands of students.
"These four teachers have over 150 years' experience combined and have taught over 20,000 students. We will miss their positive energy and enthusiasm!"
He talked about each teacher.
"Marcia is a tremendous math teacher who never has a bad day," he said. "She is caring in her approach with students and extremely knowledgeable about her content area.
"Bob utilizes a hands-on approach with students in science and breeds critical thinking and inquiry skills in his classroom," he continued. "His science classroom is a true learning lab.
"Ingela is just as enthusiastic and passionate about teaching as she was when she began, and learning is contagious in her classroom," he said. "Her French and Spanish classes come to life with her singing, dancing, and interaction.
"Carol is one of the most sincere, kind and courteous people you will ever meet," he added. "Carol is always willing to assist her colleagues and goes above and beyond her duties to ensure student and school success."
Each teacher described what they have taught, what they liked best about teaching and some of their fondest memories. They were also asked what advice they would give to graduating seniors.
Fain is a mathematics teacher and the National Honor Society Advisor at Cape Coral High School.
'I have taught at CCHS for 33 years, which is since the school opened," she said. "I have taught for 41 years total. I am currently teaching precalculus and math for college readiness but I have taught almost all levels of high school math."
She said she 'loves math and how everything fits together."
"I see the beauty in how each part relates to the other parts," she said. "Most students see math as a foreign language so I see my role as being the translator. I like to take difficult concepts and break them down to understandable components."
Each year brings special moments, she said.
"Some of the top ones were receiving the Golden Apple, designing and executing the Survivor Math Day with my seniors for 10 years, teaching both of my children (Kali and Kory) and working with the best department in the best school in the county."
Any advice she would give to graduating seniors?
"I would advise seniors to find a career that makes them love to get up each day. A career where you can make a difference and one that never gets old. I found that in teaching."
Conley teaches International Baccalaureate French and pre-diploma French and Spanish. She has taught at the school since it opened.
"The research that goes into the higher level language teaching and seeing my students acquire good communicative skills in a learned language," she said of the favorite thing about her work.
Her special moments at school include the acting and pantomimes that come with minimizing English use.
"Also, being caught by cell phone cameras 'falling into the washtub,' dressed as Quasimodo, dressed as Joan of Arc or Vincent van Gogh. Bringing guest speakers into the classroom and French immersion and starting the Tour de Cape Coral."
Visits to plays, operas and ECHO were also some of her favorite moments.
"Place your hand on your heart and realize that you have only yourself as home," is what she wishes to depart to seniors. "Take care of your body, your mind and your spirit. There is nowhere else to go."
Robert L. Fain
Fain is the marine science/zoology teacher at the high school.
"I have taught here for 1 1/2 years, but I am completing my 40th year of teaching," he said. "I taught at Caloosa Middle School when it first opened, then at Suncoast Middle School. I dropped out of teaching for a year, then taught at Fort Myers High School for 21 years."
He was assistant principal at Mariner High School for five years, and assistant director at High Tech North for seven years.
"I teach marine science and zoology, and like best the fact that I want kids to be able to walk outside and know the names and characteristics of the plants and animals that surround them," he said. "This area is so rich in really cool plants and animals, and it is fun to bring this information to kids."
One of his favorite other things is, 'When kids come back to school and tell me that they were teaching their friends or parents about something we did in class."
There are many special moments in his career, he said, including winning the Golden Apple in 1990, being selected as the Lee County Teacher of the Year in 1991 and participating in Project S.E.A.S.
"That's where I got to go to sea on a working scientific research vessel seven different times, being responsible for bringing the Practical Nursing program to High Tech North and the daily interaction with kids and seeing them grow and learn," he said.
For graduating seniors, he has several bits of advice.
"Travel a little bit so you will have a better appreciation for the wonderful life you have here in the United States of America. Develop a strong work ethic and choose your friends carefully. Be responsible for yourself. Show sincere compassion and love for others. Grow your spiritual self, because it will help you through the tough times that are sure to come.
"Start at the bottom and work your way up and be patient, it all works out eventually," he continued. "Finally, don't forget where you came from."
Shaw is the test coordinator for Cape Coral High School.
"I have been at Cape High for 17 years. I am a business education teacher and have taught Microsoft Office classes; currently, I am the test coordinator in charge of all testing that happens in the building," she said.
"I liked teaching software to students (the best thing) because there are many applications that they need to know to achieve the 'expert' level of competency so that they are using the programs to the best of their ability. The students were also able to show the class many things so that everyone could share their knowledge."
Her favorite moments at school include talking to employers of her now graduated students.
"As a vocational educator, I was particularly proud of my students when their employers would come back to tell me what a pleasure it was to get students who could do the required work with little to no additional instruction," she said.
"It also made me happy when the students would come back to visit and tell me how grateful they were to have had the classes that I taught since they were expected to be proficient in the software when they arrived at college. Often they would mention how nice it was to be able to assist their fellow students who were struggling with the computer applications."
What advice would she give graduating seniors?
"Make learning a life-long process," she said.
For students, Mederios noted that the school graduation is this Sunday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at Harborside Event Center.