Mrs. Michele Downey, who teacher Algebra 2, retires after 25 years of teaching students at Edison High.
Mrs. Michele Downey, who teacher Algebra 2, retires after 25 years of teaching students at Edison High.
YUVANSH BAHRI ’27

Etched into History

Edison High’s 2024 Retirees
Michelle Downey

Mrs. Michelle Downey has educated her students during her time at EHS, helping them achieve greater heights as a hard-working math teacher. Mrs. Downey has taught for numerous decades at Edison High, while also serving as the coach of the Math Team. 

Over the years of her career, technology has become a staple in education. Downey has reached a time where even a subject like math has become increasingly reliant on technology. She has adapted to these technological changes. However, Downey has still retained a lot of her traditional approaches, something she believes is necessary for her math classes. Downey believes this because it is important to do math step by step on paper in order to reduce mistakes and increase clarity. 

As coach of the Math Team, Downey has continuously coached the monthly math meets for the Central Jersey Math League (CJML) and the prestigious, annual, American Regional Math League. She believes her time as a Math Team Coach has been some of the best experiences she has had throughout her teaching career.

“I will miss teaching the kids. I still will continue to tutor as I like to tutor. I can do that whenever I want,” said Downey.

Downey emphasizes the importance of being passionate about which career one chooses, especially in teaching. 

“Don’t sweat the small stuff and just make sure you still love what to do. If you do not love what you do, it is not worth it,” said Downey.

Kimberly Mitchell

A lifelong teacher, Ms. Kimberly Mitchell has always strived to help her students during her time at EHS. Since she was seven years old, she has always dreamed about pursuing teaching as her career. Although she has many favorite memories from her time at the nest, Mitchell savors the memories she has created with her students the most.

“When you see that moment where the kid gets it, that’s always your favorite. And now that I am getting close to leaving here, the little notes and messages I am getting from my past students are my favorite,” said Mitchell.

For her first three years, Mithcell would work as a long-term substitute but grow to become an English teacher who would teach freshmen, juniors, seniors, and college-level students. 

“I had my 9th and 10th grade English teacher, and he had this talent of taking something I read that meant nothing to me and like a magician made me more interested. And I was like ‘Wow! That is a magic trick. I want to learn how to do that trick,’” she said. 

She knew from then on that she wanted to be an English teacher, and more importantly a magician for her students. Her main piece of advice for students is to stop worrying about what other people are thinking.

“The person you are worried about now and what they’re thinking aren’t going to be important 40 years from now,” said Mitchell. 

Reminiscing on an old class tradition, Mitchell would hold Funky Fridays where she would give her students different topics to dress up as. For instance, she would tell them to wear different shoes or a tie or to paint their nails, as a way to get her students to have fun and to be more comfortable in her classroom. 

Reaching the end of her career, Mitchell is proud that she was able to leave a lasting impression on the Edison High community, inspiring new generations just as her English teacher had done. 

Ms. Robin Connell teaches a Physics lesson in one of the last weeks of her career.
Robin Connell

Mrs. Robin Connell, a physics teacher, has observed EHS grow into a hardworking and tight-knit community. By staying after class, providing extra help, and closely working with her students, she has helped create a positive environment. Additionally, Connell loves being a part of people’s growing lives. 

“I think, being the underdog, we had this battle cry of ‘We’re going to prove ourselves,’ and most of my career we were pulling ourselves up and working hard,” said Connell.  

Despite beginning her education at Rutgers for engineering, Connell realized her love for teaching early on through the National Honor Society (NHS) in high school. She discovered her knack for explaining topics once she understood them and turned this capacity into an education degree that she takes pride in. 

“I don’t think I’m going to stop teaching physics. I think there is always room for tutoring, and I’ve always done tutoring during my career. There’s always somewhere somebody’s child… I think I won’t want to give that up,” she said. 

When looking beyond retirement, Connell envisions staying connected with education through tutoring and local mentoring. She hopes to help enlighten more students, especially those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Connell believes that when she teaches, it goes beyond the subject at hand. She envisions her role as a teacher to nurture and help students grow, enabling them to reach their goals through hard work and grit. 

“I think life lessons that a teacher gives, it might be about studying, it might be about being a good person, it might be about remembering to ask questions, but those life lessons are more important than just physics,” said Connell.

Ms. Robin Connell teaches a Physics lesson in one of the last weeks of her career. (YUVANSH BAHRI ’27)
Ms.+Shelly+Colletto+works+with+a+student+in+the+art+room.
Ms. Shelly Colletto works with a student in the art room. (YUVANSH BAHRI ’27)
Shelly Colletto

Spanning over twenty-seven years, Ms. Shelly Colletto is a respected visual arts teacher at EHS. She has taught a wide range of subjects throughout her time at the nest, including AP Visual Arts 1, Visual Arts 2, Visual Arts 3, Art 1, 3D Design, Printmaking, and Ceramics. 

“I was always so impressed with how she devoted so much energy and time to helping make her kids experience a great one,” said Ms. Anne Fernandez, visual arts teacher. 

Beyond teaching art, Colletto loves traveling and exploring the world, often finding inspiration from unique cuisines, landscapes, and cultures. Combined with her roots in art education, Colletto has developed her work with new perspectives, allowing her to bond deeply with her students. 

“One of the wonderful things I have seen is the dedication to collaborate and join in with anyone who needs help. Her generosity has spanned well beyond her knowledge and skills,” said Ms. Kelley Gavor, visual arts teacher. 

Colletto has served as a mentor for her students, creating an inclusive environment that supports her classroom. Her passion for learning is infectious, inspiring both her colleagues and her students to push the boundaries of their creativity. 

 

Kim Schoemer

Ms. Kim Schoemer has taught physical education at EHS for the past thirty-one years. She has continuously pushed her students to participate in physical education, helping students reach their full potential. Additionally, Schoemer’s love for sports went past her role as a P.E. teacher, by coaching the girls’ Softball team as well. Even though her time here at EHS has ended, she hopes that the school will continue to expand the physical education program by upgrading gymnasiums and providing students with more opportunities to grow athletically.

Her never-ending enthusiasm for her role as a physical education teacher stems from her childhood. At a young age, she experimented with and found joy in many sports. Inspired by her coaches and others around her, she decided that she wanted to major in a field that in some capacity involved sports. Considering teaching and coaching went hand in hand, she found it to be a perfect opportunity for her to work. 

Now that she is a senior teacher, she has come to appreciate many things throughout her journey at EHS. One aspect that she will miss is the interactions with students and her co-workers. Schoemer particularly notes that some of her past students still regularly stay in touch with her.

“Some jobs can be a little boring doing the same thing over and over again and here I get to see different things each day,” said Schoemer.

These dedicated teachers have left a lasting impression on Edison High’s community and shaped countless student lives with their passion and commitment. Their stories and advice will continue to inspire current and future generations of students and teachers. As they move on to new chapters in their lives, their legacy of dedication and excellence will remain a cherished part of Edison High’s history.

 

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