MSD teachers form special bonds over teaching and inspiring future generations


Glory Lee

DECA teachers Mrs. Cutler and Mrs. Webster pose eagerly for their picture. The two DECA teachers wore matching shirts in preparation for their photo.

Working with the same educators for many years may help build a relationship that’s stronger than being just two people who work together. Some have worked hard to build their teacher- teacher relationships and over many years have become not only coworkers, but best friends.

All throughout Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, best friends are not only limited to student-student relationships. Teachers also develop relationships with their fellow teachers in the workplace over many years to make teaching more fun, manageable and stress-free.

Six teachers stuck out as best friends in particular: Lisa Webster and Sharon Cutler, Adeena Teres and Tammy Orillio, along with Donna Amelkin and Laurie Edgar. These teachers have been great friends, collaborators and co-workers for years.

Some of these teachers share joint classrooms, making teaching and communicating with each other much easier. These classrooms have helped them build their relationship not only as coworkers, but as best friends.

Amelkin and Edgar, both Advanced Placement English Language and Composition teachers at MSD, met in 2008 and developed a strong bond. They started off working in separate rooms, but moved next to each other in a joint classroom to collaborate better and facilitate teaching. They keep a foldable wall separating the two classrooms, but they have the ability to open it whenever needed.

“It’s tremendous [having neighboring classrooms] because I used to be in a different room and I moved into this classroom purposefully because there is a wall that we can open to cover for each other when one of us is absent,” Amelkin said.

The connection of their classrooms helps build their bond and helps them work harder together to teach their AP students the curriculum they need to succeed. Both Amelkin and Edgar have a passion for teaching English and changing lives, which helps them work well as a pair.

Both love to make a change in students’ lives. They love knowing that they are teaching the future of our world and making a change one student at a time, regardless of their personal differences.

“[Amelkin and I] get to see how [students] start versus how they end the year, and how something they couldn’t do and watching that kind of growth,” Edgar said.

Another teacher best friend duo at MSD is Webster and Cutler, who are both Academy of Finance NAF teachers and DECA advisors. They met through an online networking platform, LinkedIn, as both worked in finance programs. LinkedIn allowed Cutler to meet Webster, which prompted Webster to transfer to MSD to teach in the AOF program.

“For us, it’s all about collaboration and bouncing off ideas, like how do you do this or what worked for you,” Cutler said. “So, having someone that you can have those conversations with that actually understands the students you have too.”

Cutler and Webster make a dynamic duo by instilling skills and lessons to last their students a lifetime. Both teachers are a part of the DECA program and having a close friendship builds their compatibility and makes it easy to work together.

“She’s my friend first, and my coworker second, and we talk to each other all the time,” Webster said. “It might be mornings drinking coffee or after school driving home.”

Another pair of best friends are none other than Adeena Teres and Tammy Orilio. They met years back at Florida Atlantic University; when they noticed that they both taught environmental science at MSD, they immediately became friends. They are both strong environmentalists and have similar interests, like Disney.

“We get along well and have similar interests, and we make each other laugh,” Teres said. “ We are both Disney fanatics; if I am at Disney, Orilio is probably there with me.”

Having a conjoined classroom has helped them build their relationship over the years. They help each other not only in the classroom but also out of school.

“We have a closet that adjoins our two rooms, so we just walk through to talk, take things, make stupid jokes, participate in each other’s class, etc.,” Orillio said. “ Since we teach the same subject, it’s easy to move materials from one room to another.”

Teachers at MSD, just like students, can create special bonds at school while still focusing on academics. For teachers, their friendships are not defined by their similarities or interests, but the respect and passion they have for their profession and the lives they are touching through teaching.