For many people, school is a chance to enter a completely different word than the one that they associate with at home; however, this is not the case for certain individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Some students and staff have relatives that also attend or work at MSD. This is an unusual dynamic that is accompanied by pros and cons.
The general consensus among students and staff at MSD was that the positives of having loved ones nearby far outweigh the negatives. Many mentioned that it was beneficial having individuals that they are close with nearby for support and assistance.
One family that has many connections at MSD is that consisting of English teacher, Donna Amelkin, sociology teacher, Raymond Posada, English teacher Katherine Posada, senior student Stacy Posada and English teacher Ariel Hertz. Amelkin is Hertz’s and Raymond’s aunt and Raymond is married to Katherine. Stacy is Raymond’s younger sister. They are all in agreement that working together is beneficial for many reasons.
“It’s nice to see my nephew; every time I see him he gives me a kiss and says ‘Hi aunt Donna.’ He’s always asking me if I need anything,” Amelkin said.
Amelkin is not alone in thinking that working with relatives nearby has its advantages; The Posadas also agree that there are many benefits associated with this situation.
“It’s great working with family because you know what they’re about outside of school and you can build on that inside of school. My wife and I plan a lot together which helps us understand our strengths and our weaknesses and we can help each other see some things that we might overlook normally,” Raymond said.
Raymond’s wife also emphasized the benefits of this close family connection.
“I wouldn’t really say there are any cons; Pros are just that there’s an added level of support in school and it’s nice that you get to see familiar faces of people that you care about even on a different level than coworkers,” Katherine said.
Amelkin’s niece on the other side of her family is Hertz, who recognized the advantages and disadvantages of the multi-level connection.
“I feel like I have a support system at work that I’m comfortable with confiding in, but sometimes outside of school work can become a topic of conversation when I want to separate my personal life from my work life,” Hertz said.
Another family that has multiple connections at MSD is the Kenny family that consists of yoga teacher, Amy Kenny, substitute teacher, Matthew Kenny, and senior student, Brook Kenny. Amy is Matthew and Brook’s mother. All of the Kennys also agreed that having each other close by was beneficial for everyone.
“I love working where my kids are because I get to see them every day and we get to see each other in a different light, not just mom and child but more like colleagues with my son and having my daughter here is great because we can help her out and she visits my classes an sometimes they come to my yoga class and it’s really fun,” Amy said.
She did, however, mention a downside to the situation.
“If we’re not getting along sometimes there’s a downside, but if we don’t want to see each other the campus is big enough that we don’t have to,” Amy said.
Matthew sees the situation as very beneficial for multiple reasons.
“It’s awesome being around my mom because she’s really able to be a positive influence and I can go to her for advice and I get to eat lunch with her every now and then and if I ever have anything going on I can go and talk to her,” Matthew said. “It’s also nice to drop into her yoga class and sometimes she drops into my classes and with my sister. It’s cool seeing her around school and being in the same environment. If she ever has anything going on she can text me and I’ll be right here and able to connect with her.