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Full circle for past Howbert student (now a teacher)

Chelsea Green (left) shares a moment with Howbert staffer Candy Lesoing, who remembers the new fifth-grade teacher from her student days at Howbert (1989-1995).
Westside Pioneer photo
       Some of the most formative years for Chelsea (Rogers) Green occurred when she was a student at Howbert Elementary, 1023 N. 31st St. She attended from 1989 till “graduation” from fifth grade in 1995.
       Twenty years later, she's back, a fifth-grade teacher herself, seeking to help the growing process for another generation.
       “I'm very excited,” she said. “I just have so many great memories of being a student there. The teachers I had at Howbert inspired me to be a teacher.”
       Even in her ensuing years at Holmes Middle and then Coronado High (Class of '02), while positioning herself for a teaching career, Chelsea kept in touch with her first school. She was a volunteer there as part of the Holmes “Heroes” program and later as an observer while taking early childhood development classes at the high school.
Howbert Elementary’s fifth-grade class of 1995 includes Chelsea Rogers (third from the right in the second row). The teachers (no longer at Howbert) are Deb Downing at left and Susie O’Dell (now Shannon) at right. The photo was taken in front of the school on 31st Street.
Courtesy of Howbert
       Her goal now is to “try to recreate those memories, and hope I can touch my students in the way I was touched and encouraged,” she said.
       Chelsea arrives after teaching elementary for eight years in the Harrison School District.
       She liked it there, but “I was looking for a change,” she said. “I wanted a teaching job that better suited my style and philosopy.”
       It dawned on her that there was really just one place that would fill that bill: her old school. “I was incredibly picky,” she said with a laugh. “I wasn't looking around all over. I decided if I was going to leave my district [Harrison], this is the place I wanted to come to.”
       So she called Howbert Principal Deb Hawes, who just happened to have an opening. If anyone can relate to Chelsea's situation, it's Deb. When she was hired in 2011 (also out of the Harrison School District), she said she'd dreamed of becoming Howbert's principal for years beforehand.
       “Howbert is an amazing school,” Chelsea summed up. “It [the Pleasant Valley neighborhood around it] is such a tight community.”
       Another plus: “It's close to home,” she pointed out. A Pleasant Valley resident herself, she can walk to school (at least if she doesn't have too many materials to carry back and forth). With kids of her own (ages 4 and 1), Chelsea's even looking forward to them attending Howbert eventually.
       Overall, her new job seemed so perfect that at one point she started second- guessing herself, wondering if she was “over-romanticizing” her early-Howbert memories. “But after talking to Deb and other teachers, I don't feel it has changed that much,” she said.
       One difficulty in coming back could have resulted if she'd had issues as a student. One of those who'd remember such things is Candy Lesoing, the only remaining administrative staffer who was at Howbert in Chelsea's child days. But Candy could offer no “dirt” on the former student, saying Chelsea always behaved herself.
       For her part, Chelsea recalls Candy as another upbeat part of her Howbert history, having helped her learn typing and computers.
       Another favorable report came from Linda Smith, a retired Howbert teacher (1969 to 1998), who had Chelsea in a class. “I do remember that she was a very good student and a lovely young lady,” Linda said. “I'm sure Chelsea will be a wonderful addition to the Howbert staff and do very well there as a teacher.”
       Note: Howbert does have one other former student starting as a teacher this school year. Rebecca Ashlock attended the school for two years.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/17/14; Schools: Howbert Elementary)

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