Staff members squash rumors


Ellie Perkins

Top left to bottom right: A collage of counselor Bryan Everett, history teacher Erika Connolly, english teacher Sarah Burford and science teacher Santo Ripa, was created on June 6, 2023.

Rumor has it that some of the most beloved teachers and staff have debated whether or not they will continue to teach at Ocean Lakes in the upcoming school year. In order to prevent ambiguity, let’s take a look at who is actually staying and going. 

Word has spread that science teacher Santo Ripa may not be sticking around for another year.

“I will be departing Ocean Lakes for Cox High School in the fall to teach science,” said Ripa, who currently teaches AP Environmental Science and Oceanography. “I am going to deeply miss Ocean Lakes High School. In fact, if I had to tell you all of the things I will miss, it would take all day.” 

Ripa humorously adds that the one thing he will not be missing is the smell.

“It’s going to have an echoing impact on my career, and I will forever be thankful for my time here, so thank you,” said Ripa.

Some students have speculated that AP Lang teacher and English department head, Sarah Burford, would be departing at the conclusion of this school year. 

“I don’t really know for sure where the rumor came from,” said Burford. “I had a conversation with a group of students where I was saying I will not be a 30-year career teacher.” 

While Burford loves teaching and finds it difficult to leave her students, she knows she has goals and aspirations for her life outside of the classroom. 

“There’s always a possibility that I may figure out what the future holds for me, but right now, here I am again saying ‘one more year’ and I do intend to be back for the 2023-24 school year.”

A number of teachers, including history teacher Erika Connolly, have gratefully acknowledged the school board’s decision to implement a pay raise for educators. Connolly pointedly asserts that she loves her job, but that the pay raise has been a convincing factor in pushing back her retirement. Despite proudly announcing her retirement at the very beginning of this school year, Connolly has officially decided to stay for another year.

Guidance counselor Bryan Everett, however, has decided to move on.

“I’m moving on to Plaza Middle School,” said Everett. “I actually started there, so it’s like ‘full circle.”

Everett has found that middle school students often come into high school unprepared, and he feels called to help the students of Plaza Middle become fully prepared for the next chapter of their lives.

“What I established here at Ocean Lakes is like family,” said Everett. “I’ve been here so many years, and with the people I’ve come to know, and the students I’ve come to love, I know it’s not going to be the same. But, I’m going to have to make it happen elsewhere. I will never forget y’all.”