“I am currently in the woods with Freshmen fending off spiders and knocking down bears!” the text message reads. This is the latest update from Pascal Losambe, former Collegiate biology teacher. Mr. Losambe was one of several fantastic teachers who, for various reasons, decided to leave Collegiate after the 2014-2015 school year and pursue teaching jobs elsewhere. He currently teaches Advanced Biology, Non-Advanced Biology, and Microbiology at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a private day school for students from age two to 12th grade. Mr. Losambe also serves as the Diversity Coordinator, which means that he looks at hiring, curriculum, and student retention. Over the summer, Mr. Losambe moved to Indiana with his wife and his daughter in order to be closer to his wife’s family, who live nearby. Mr. Losambe writes in an email that the people at Canterbury School are very nice, which is his favorite part of his new job. He does, however, miss the strong relationships he holds with Collegiate students and faculty. “I really miss the brilliance and talents of my colleagues,” Mr. Losambe adds. “Collegiate really is a family.” Though his departure is certainly a loss for the Collegiate community, Mr. Losambe’s enthusiasm for and dedication to teaching is undoubtedly an excellent addition to the Canterbury faculty.
“I feel great,” Tim Lengel writes in an email. “Leaving Collegiate was hard for me — it is, after all, the place where I started my career, and I have so many wonderful friends in Richmond. But it’s really nice to be home.” Mr. Lengel, who taught US History at Collegiate, among other history electives, decided at the end of last year to move back to his hometown of Haverford, Pennsylvania. After a summer of traveling with friends and doing Civil War battlefield tours with his father, Mr. Lengel is currently teaching US History Survey, Modern Middle Eastern History, and Conflict in Crisis in Contemporary Africa, as well as coaching cross country at The Haverford School. Mr. Lengel is, in fact, a graduate of this all-boys private school, where his mother still works and his brother is a junior. One of the main reasons behind Mr. Lengel’s departure from Collegiate was the opportunity to see his family “on a more regular basis.” Besides the fact that coffee at Haverford is only served for free until 10:00 a.m, Mr. Lengel says that he misses the relationships he has formed with Collegiate colleagues and students the most. But there is plenty to be excited about in his new location. He is looking forward to exploring nearby Philadelphia, which he admits to not knowing very much about, despite growing up close to the city. Mr. Lengel has long-term plans to build a log cabin to live in and even took a course over the summer in Maine to learn how, but the idea remains “a twinkle in [his] eye” that has not been put into action yet.
One of the more surprising changes of last year was the departure of Kathy Vlieger, Upper School Spanish teacher. After announcing that she would be leaving once the 2014-2015 school year finished, Doctora spent her summer traveling to Chicago and visiting family in Michigan, as well as “chilling and doing lots of yoga”, before the new school year and her new job began. Now a Spanish professor at Longwood University, Doctora Vlieger travels one hour and fifteen minutes each way every single day in order to teach four sections of Spanish, help with the Spanish Club, and work to recruit new majors. She is, however, planning to start renting an apartment three nights a week nearer to campus to make the commute easier. Though she misses being known as “Doctora” to her students (she is “Profesora” now that she is teaching at a college level) as well as working with Model United Nations and chaperoning trips abroad, Doctora is enjoying working with college students and being back on a college campus (she taught at Lynchburg College, University of South Florida, and Middlebury College among other schools before working at Collegiate). She also says that her new colleagues are “welcoming and supportive” to her, which is one of her favorite things about her new job. In addition, Doctora is ecstatic that she will have five whole weeks off for Christmas break this year, the long break being “another thing [she loves] about college!” Most of all, though, Doctora says that she misses all of her students at Collegiate and promises that she “will be at graduation for sure!”
Despite their new locations, new experiences, and new jobs, some things remain the same. Mr. Losambe still provides words of wisdom from unique African sayings. Doctora Vlieger still enthusiastically offered her help with this article. And Mr. Lengel still adamantly stands by his arguably “controversial opinion” that President Teddy Roosevelt “was a nut!”
Peggy Chan, who used to teach Upper School math at Collegiate, is now living in New York City and working at Grace Church School. Ms. Chan is teaching high school PreCalculus, Intensive PreCalculus (similar to Honors PreCalculus), Statistics, and a Service Learning class where juniors design and carry out a service project during the year. So far, there are no downsides to Ms. Chan’s new job– she especially enjoys working with her new colleagues, who are “very cool”, and loves living New York. She likes being able to visit her family whenever she wants to, since they live nearby, and also loves the fact that “there is always something going on, and that [she] can walk everywhere.” In addition, Ms. Chan enjoys the “food scene” in the city. She does, however, say that there are several things she misses about Collegiate, such as the supportive and accepting faculty, the students, and the alumni that she won’t get to see return to visit. “You are good people,” Ms. Chan writes, “and I think of you all, and of my time at Collegiate, fondly.”
Cover photo: Justin Lo via Getty Images