Life Lessons: The Student Becomes The Teacher

Six former students from all walks of life talk about what drew them to careers in education.

FATY DIALLO | Senegalese-American, Academy Of World Languages Graduate, Wright State University Student

“When I moved to Cincinnati, I didn’t speak a lick of English. By fifth grade I was completely fluent. Now I know five languages: my two native tongues, Wolof and Pulaar, and English, French, and Arabic. My education at the Academy of World Languages really made all the difference. That’s why I’m studying to become a teacher. I feel like I can be more empathetic to students who don’t speak a certain language. It is really hard, but I’ve been through the struggle.”

Anthony Jaccaci | New Head Of School At Cincinnati Country Day School

“My parents were both teachers, so I’ve had teaching in my blood from the beginning. I recently helped start the YK Pao School in Shanghai. The students in Shanghai and the students in Cincinnati come from very different cultures, but at the end of the day, it’s still about getting to know the kids and learning how to deliver information. Although I must say, it will be a lot easier not having to conduct half of my day’s work in Chinese.”

Jim Hansel | Professor Of Horticulture At The University Of Cincinnati, Head Of The Careerx Program At Diamond Oaks

“My wife and I moved to Hamilton County when we found out our son was autistic. There is tremendous support in this area, but the schools don’t always focus on employability skills. That’s why I joined a special education program at Great Oaks. We designed the CareerX program to help students with disabilities identify a career area and match that with their skill set. Almost all of our students end up in a more meaningful position.”

Sam Schottenstein | Founder and Chairman of Scholar Compass

“I’ve been helping people from Cincinnati get accepted into Ivy League schools and other universities for 10 years now. Focusing on writing is the most important aspect of the application process. I’ve helped students get accepted everywhere from Harvard to the University of Cincinnati. When they want to go to schools outside of the area, they tend to see better results [than expected]—they don’t realize they have a competitive edge.”

Mary Wineberg | Olympic Gold Medalist, Second Grade Teacher at Rees E. Price Academy

“I always wanted to be a teacher. I still use what I learned as an athlete in the classroom. I put in a lot of hard work and dedication, so I always encourage my students to do the same. I work at an urban school, and I think it’s uplifting for students to know there is someone in their building who did something extraordinary, to show that they really can be something.”

David Campbell | Engineering Design Teacher at Colerain High School, Cochair of the Queen City First Robotics Competition

“About 17 years ago, an assistant principal suggested I get involved with robotics competitions. I now have 60 students on my robotics team at Colerain High School. It’s definitely not your traditional high school class. Students are learning countless hands-on skills—everything from design software to power tool use to 3D printing. But it’s more than that. These kids are coming out into the real world with the skills and abilities that make them incredibly appealing to countless companies.”

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