"I always wanted to become a teacher," says St. Hilary kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Archual. "In fact, one of my favorite childhood memories is when my sister and I played school - and I was always the teacher." Mrs. Archual enjoys being able to express herself creatively through her teaching. One way she does this is by incorporating hands-on activities and art-based lessons into the daily curriculum. "Children are naturally very creative and imaginative." she says. "It makes planning lessons gratifying knowing the joy it will bring to my students." Mrs. Archual especially enjoys planning lessons that connect throughout various subject areas, making the learning experience more meaningful to the students.
Watching her students as they develop friendships with one another is a special joy for Mrs. Archual. She says it is very rewarding to help foster the spirit of community that develops in the classroom as the school year progresses.
Mrs. Archual most enjoys teaching reading to her students. An avid reader herself, Mrs. Archual hopes to pass her love of reading on to her students. She says it is exciting to watch her students as they emerge as developing readers. Teaching religion and sharing the Catholic faith through daily lessosn and prayer is also important to Mrs. Archual.
The professionalism and enthusiasm of the staff members at St. Hilary make it a special place in the eyes of Mrs. Archual. She says she is honored to be working with so many dedicated professionals who love children and want to provide a well-rounded learning experience.
A product of Catholic education, Mrs. Archual holds a bachelor of science degree from Walsh University, as well as a reading endorsement for grades K-12. She has also completed coursework at Baldwin-Wallace College toward a master's degree in reading. Mrs. Archual and her husband have three sons. Her oldest son attends the University of Toledo Medical School, her middle son is a recent graduate of the University of Akron and is a registered nurse at University Hospital, and her youngest son is a recent graduate of Medina High School and attends the University of Akron, pursuing a degree in computer engineering. Three dogs are also part of Mrs. Archual's family. She enjoys reading and gardening.
Mrs. Piekarski began her St. Hilary School teaching career in 1986. Since then, she has touched the lives of hundreds of young students. She loves teaching kindergarten because of the enthusiasm of the children. “They are so positive,” she says. “They just make you feel good.” She describes her young charges as being “like sponges”, and enjoys the fact that she can help them absorb everything they need to get off to a good start not only in school, but in life. “I love my job,” she says.
Compared to other schools, St. Hilary is blessed with an abundance of kids whose parents are actively involved and truly care about instilling strong values in their children, according to Mrs. Piekarski. Teaching these students is a joy, she says. “We also have many gifted and talented kids here,” she says, which allows her to make great use of creativity in her classroom.
Many characteristics of the St. Hilary educational experience set it apart from that offered at other schools, says Mrs. Piekarski. She feels the infusion of religion and good values into everything the children do is incredibly important, as are the high expectations and dedication of both students and teachers. “The kids here are all hard workers,” she says, “and the teachers tend not to take much time off. Everyone here has a really strong work ethic.” The availability of varied activities that appeal to many talents rounds out the package.
Mrs. Piekarski loves to instill in her students a strong self-concept. “I love to help them understand that they can do anything - that they are all good at something,” she says. One exercise that reinforces this, as well as the concepts of nurturing and giving, is the growth of spider plants throughout the school year. Mrs. Piekarski’s former students who have moved on to junior high level grades bring her spiderlings from the plants they grew while in her class. She uses these to begin the process anew each year, and students have a hand in planting and nurturing the spiderlings to grow what become mature plants by the end of the school year.
Each year, kindergarten students learn their way around the school by following a gingerbread man, in an extension of the popular children’s story. As the gingerbread man sneaks off to different places in the school, the children must find him and, in so doing, meet people and learn about their surroundings. This is one of Mrs. Piekarski’s favorite parts of each school year. She adds that watching the joy her students have sharing their weekends with the class mascot, Kinderbear, is also great fun.
Growing up as one of ten children, Mrs. Piekarski says she was always “in charge” of her younger siblings, so becoming a kindergarten teacher was a natural progression for her. A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Piekarski holds a bachelor of science degree in education (K-8), a master of science degree plus 18 hours in supervision, permanent K-8 certification, computer science certification, and basic religion certification. She loves St. Hilary School and is proud that her two daughters attended the school during their elementary years. Mrs. Piekarski enjoys sewing, reading, gardening, working out, and traveling with her husband to visit their two grandchildren.
Since 1985, Mrs. Thomson has been launching the school careers of St. Hilary students. She loves working with young children, and enjoys their genuine, forgiving and loving nature. Teaching Christian values and making religion a part of her students’ daily lives is important to Mrs. Thomson as she guides her little ones through their kindergarten year. “I enjoy watching children take these values and apply them in their lives,” she says. “It’s rewarding to hear feedback from parents about how the her students are applying their values.” She also enjoys helping children develop a strong self-concept.
Creating a hands-on experience is important in Mrs. Thomson’s classroom. She incorporates visual aids and much enrichment into her teaching, to allow the children to experience lessons through sight and touch. Science and nature are woven into much of what her students learn. “I love science, because it opens up a whole new world for the children,” she says. Mrs. Thomson also particularly enjoys helping kindergartners learn to read, and delights in seeing the concept of reading “click” for a child newly able to blend sounds into a word.
In more than 32 years of teaching, 27 at St. Hilary, Mrs. Thomson has many memories. Some of her fondest are receiving hugs from former students who come back to visit her classroom and chat with her. She wants to instill in her students more than just a love of knowledge. “I love to see children take what they learn beyond the classroom and develop it further,” she says. “I want my students to leave the classroom with such an excitement for learning that they will spread their knowledge to others.”
Mrs. Thomson feels one of the many things that sets St. Hilary School apart from other schools is the dedication of its staff. She says the teachers spend many extra hours preparing the lessons they teach, to make experiences enriching for the children. For her own part, she says she wakes up every day and can’t wait to come to work. “I love my job!” she says.
Married for 37 years, Mrs. Thomson has one grown son who attended St. Hilary during his elementary school years. She is a graduate of the University of Akron and the University of Alabama, and holds a bachelor of science degree in early childhood and elementary (K-8) education, as well as a master of arts degree in early childhood education, and also a Religion certification. Mrs. Thomson has taken many courses to further her education beyond her master’s degree, and has been a kindergarten teacher for 32 years. She enjoys collecting antiques and items of historical significance, as well as visiting historical sites, museums and science exhibits.
Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Hamlin has worked as a teaching assistant at St. Hilary School since 2004, and says she loves her work. The first years of school are exciting, she says, because children at that level are learning to read. “It’s like a light goes on, and a new world is opened for them,” says Mrs. Hamlin.
Working at St. Hilary is special to her because of the family atmosphere, Mrs. Hamlin says. She comments that parents are very involved, and students are generally well prepared for school. Catholic teachings play a role in making St. Hilary stand apart from other schools, she says. “All kids make mistakes, and it’s nice to be able to deal with that in a Christian way,” says Mrs. Hamlin. She feels the presence of religion in the school helps students develop the moral foundation they need for life.
Mrs. Hamlin says she tries to focus on celebrating the accomplishments of her students. By keeping things positive, she feels she can help them be excited about school. Mrs. Hamlin enjoys the innocence of the students she works with, and says they provide a true boost to the spirits. She delights in the genuine hugs and love her students so freely give. “They are just wonderful,” says Mrs. Hamlin of her kindergarteners.
Mrs. Hamlin and her husband are the parents of two children, both of whom attended St. Hilary School and now attend a Catholic high school. She enjoys family time, knitting and cooking. A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Hamlin holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Photo and Profile Coming Soon!
Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
Photo and Profile Coming Soon!
Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
As a kindergarten teaching assistant at St. Hilary School since 1998, Mrs. Seither has enjoyed seeing the “twinkle in the eyes” of her young students each year. “They have such enthusiasm,” she says, “and a great perspective on life.”
Mrs. Seither feels many things combine to give St. Hilary students the best education possible. The religious foundation upon which the students’ learning experience is based, the use of appropriate discipline to foster good behavior, and the support of parents and staff are all key ingredients in the success of St. Hilary students, she says. Mrs. Seither notes that a group of moms meets weekly to pray for each of the students and staff by name, as well as for their intentions.
St. Hilary is a school differentiated from others by its kind and compassionate environment, according to Mrs. Seither. Students readily assist one another, and are particularly helpful to their peers with special needs. The parish and school work together and support one another, and the school continually reaches out to the community through donations of time, food and money. “There is something special here,” she says. Mrs. Seither adds that the class “buddies” program enhances the feeling of community by linking students from one class with those in another class for various activities during the year.
Mrs. Seither’s students participate in many special activities throughout the school year. At Christmas, students present a “rainbow play” that portrays the true meaning of Christmas. In May, the children present a special program to honor and celebrate their mothers for Mother's Day and create a special surprise for their dads to give them on Father's Day. Growth and changes in the students are mirrored throughout the school year as they experience the growth of spider plants, butterflies and tadpoles in their classroom. Mrs. Seither particularly enjoys seeing the excitement of the children as they spend two months watching an embryo change into a frog.
A graduate of the University of Houston, Mrs. Seither holds a bachelor of fine arts degree and has received a basic catechist certificate. She enjoys gardening, reading, exercising, listening to books on tape, and expanding her knowledge of child development. Mrs. Seither has three children who are all graduates of St. Hilary School. She feels that the strong academic and spiritual foundation they received at St. Hilary was an important factor in their successes in high school and college.