Farewell Letter to Orchard | Bethanne Collins - 19 Years

The Support that Seventh- and Eighth-grade Learning Support Teacher Bethanne Collins Gave is Even Better Than She Got for Nearly Two Decades

Bethanne Collins: 19 years

When I reflect upon my years at The Orchard School, lifelong learning and lifelong friendships spring to mind. Learning Support Teacher Julie Richter phoned one evening and asked if I would jump ship (I was working at Park Tudor) and come to Orchard to meet with Middle School Director  Bonnie Smith. Those two women changed the course of my life. I would forever be an Orchard Owl! 

Working alongside these brilliant women and the lessons learned from them have stayed with me throughout my years. Phrases such as “putting the child at the center” or “what really matters?” still ring true today! These women supported my extraordinary opportunities, such as developing assessment tools and remediation programs with the Director of the Center for Dyslexia and Social Justice at UCLA Maryanne Wolf!

I spent my summers working outside with Outdoor Education Coordinator Diana Shellhaus, learning many things — using tools and chainsaws and the skid steer, who knew I could! Rebuilding courtyards and gardens and ropes course areas! Abating endless honeysuckle; oh, the honeysuckle!

As I bid farewell to Orchard with thanks and appreciation, I greet my new beginning with a welcome heart. I will take memories of my students, many of whom still update me with their pursuits and cherished friendships.

Happy 100th anniversary to The Orchard School! Here’s to 100 more!

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