by Sophie Yang, ‘19
On May 3, long-time Community School English teacher Melissa Hasebrook announced to students that she would be leaving the program beginning with the next school year.
Hasebrook said she and other teachers began working on the idea of Community School around 2000. The program opened in the 2006-2007 school year. More than a decade later, Hasebrook is moving on to teaching Honors SLC, Etymology and summer capstone next year.
“I think Community school is a bigger idea than just one teacher,” Hasebrook said. “I want to see it change and see it evolve. i think [English teacher Dorothy] Sutton is the perfect teacher to take it in new directions [next year].”
Hasebrook said she was looking forward to teaching Honors SLC next year.
“I’m excited about the honors sophomores curriculum. A lot of books I love to teach. I’ve taught the books before, just not the course,” Hasebrook said. “One of the teachers teaches The Things They Carried. I know Oedipus is in there. I know Gatsby is in there. Those are all some of my favorite books to teach.”
When Hasebrook announced she would be leaving, she said Community School students had a variety of reactions.
“I think [there was] shock because i’ve always been such a fixture. And i think some sadness. Kids were crying, which it breaks my heart to break their heart, but the program has to be bigger than that,” Hasebrook said.
Junior Paige Wolf, who has been in Community School since her sophomore year, said there were a variety of reactions afterward.
“A lot of people are afraid that CS is just going to fail, and some people have a very bright outlook,” Wolf said.
Sophomore Tori Petrolio said she would miss Hasebrook.
“[I was] heartbroken. A large portion of why I took CS was because of her. She’s a teacher that truly cares about how you feel and your grades,” Petrolio said. “Before I was in CS, as a freshman, I was always in the CS room. Sitting there every single morning, just talking to her about grades, my life, how I could fix the situation. And she would always listen.”
Sophomore Lindy Blackwell agreed.
“In [Community School] Camp, I had an anxiety attack that she talked me through. She held my hair back while i puked,” Blackwell said. “She challenges us in a way I haven’t been challenged before. She’s not just my favorite teacher, she’s the best teacher I’ve had. She influenced my learning.”
Sophomore Colten Johnson, also a member of Community School, said Hasebrook often looked out for Community School students and challenged their thinking.
“She has genuinely gone out of her way when i’m treated unfairly,” Johnson said. “I feel that people who sign up for CS have such a like minded ability and it can become such an echo chamber so quickly. She’s always managed to part the seas in that everyone has such a drastically different approach to everything in a matter of 20 minutes.”
Wolf said she was optimistic for next year.
“I was obviously upset, but I feel like she’s doing what’s best for her and what’s best for the community,” Wolf said. “And she picked Ms. Sutton—Ms. Sutton is great. I’m very confident that things will be okay.”
Hasebrook said one of her favorite memories as part of Community School has been the Senior Sendoff.
“It’s the big celebration we all do at the end. I’ll really miss it. It’s a really sweet to send a kid off because we present each kid and talk about them,” Hasebrook said.
For now, Hasebrook is looking forward.
“My hope for Community School is that I’m watching it really bloom and grow and become even more what I hoped it would be,” Hasebrook said. “For my own classes, I’m really excited about engaging in some curriculum I haven’t engaged in in a while very deeply.”