HSC grad (and current HSC school counselor) Diana featured in New Haven Independent

Excerpted from the New Haven Independent:

Diana Hernandez DeGroat came back too [in addition to two other teachers featured in the article], not just to New Haven’s schools, but to the high school she attended as a student: High School in the Community. She loved going there.

The trio visited the WNHH radio studio after work one day this week to discuss their full-circle school journeys on the “Dateline New Haven” program.

Guiding Transitions

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Hernandez DeGroat remembers different trips from her days as a student in the HSC class of 1997— to college campuses in Washington and Massachusetts. This week she’s planning a similar trip she will now take HSC juniors on as their guidance counselor. With a smaller budget than in her student days, the trips will have to remain in Connecticut. But they will still expose students to settings a world away from New Haven, she noted.

“It’s always great to have them see what’s out there. Even to go to a school like Western [Connecticut State University] or UConn. It’s so far from what New Haven is like,” she said.

Hernandez DeGroat hoped to teach Spanish at HSC right after finishing college. She loved the freedom and responsibility afforded to the students there. She started out as an aide; the Spanish teaching slot was taken. An opening emerged in Milford, so she went there. But she returned to HSC years later as soon as the Spanish slot was available. She has stayed ever since.

Hernandez DeGroat noticed that the students often came to her for advice. Eventually she became the school’s guidance counselor. That has meant much more than college advice. The formerly teacher-run school also underwent a few tough years of transition; Hernandez helped guide the students through it. Hernandez said she’s in the profession for the long haul, and that she intends to stay in New Haven.

After the WNHH show, Palmieri discovered that her younger sister is currently a student in Miller’s class [Palmieri and Miller are the other teachers featured]. Miller discovered that her sister attended Educational Center for the Arts with Hernandez DeGroat back in the day. Palmieri is sitting with some of her old teachers at district English meetings.

They already knew that New Haven is a small city where you discover those connections all the time. And where they will continue to make them.

Full article available here: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/they_came_back/