When Alumni Return to High School… as Faculty


Presly Edwards, Writer

When students graduate, most are thrilled that they will never have to step foot in the high school again… At least that’s the case for most people. Some people though, like the idea of returning to their alma mater. However, the second-time-around, they aren’t fearful freshmen, but faculty members.

So what is a motivating factor for returning to your high school to teach? I asked four staff members who just so happen to be Cartersville alum. 

Kyle Tucker, social studies teacher and coach, stated, “I just love Cartersville. Its where I’m from, and I had a really good experience as a student. I have a lot of pride in it academically, athletically, and just in the community. It just worked out, God opened a door for me and here I am.”

Another CHS alumni, Valerie Veiga, who teaches graphic design, explained, “Honestly, I came back to Cartersville after I graduated from Georgia Tech because I loved it. But I came to teach here because my son was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and I was at the primary school so much the principal said, ‘Why don’t you just apply and go work at the high school because this job never opens’ and he knew I was fit for it.”

When asked why she returned to CHS, guidance counselor Alexis Pritchard smiled to herself and replied, “Oh gosh… I love this stinkin’ place.” The reasons kept piling up.

Tanya Hyman, science teacher, answered, “When my son was old enough to start school, I really wanted him to be a Purple Hurricane, so we moved back to Cartersville. I was teaching in Cobb County, but I really wanted to teach at Cartersville. Finally the opportunity came up, and I was thrilled to be coming back.”

It’s no secret our world is changing at a rapid speed. So how has Cartersville High school changed since these alumni graduated?

Tucker says, “It’s a lot different. When I was a senior, to get on the internet you had to go to the library, and there were about eight or ten computers. And the internet was so slow. In an hour class you could maybe go to four websites.”

As far as the building goes, “The Humanities building did not exist,” Tucker said. “What you guys know as the library, that is where the cafeteria was.” He continued on to say the math and science hall has been renovated, but for the most part still looks the same.

Hyman discussed technology and how it is leaps and bounds different from when she graduated. “One of the best classes I ever took that helped me with technology later on was typing,” she said.

Pritchard, on the other hand, said, “It’s so much bigger and more complicated [here]. Social media has forever changed our world. Things just seem so much faster. It might be the difference of being a student and working here. I just feel like everything went at a much slower pace.”

Although there are many differences, some things at CHS will never change — like the sense of nostalgia for your school. 

High school is a place to make tons of memories. Looking back, Veiga said her favorite memory was “probably playing at the inauguration of the governor Joe Frank Harris. I was a band geek so I thought that was cool.”

Tucker said, “I set the school record for the longest field goal in football my senior year. What’s cool about that is, its was broken and then it got broken again and I got to coach both of the guys that broke it.”

Another sports related memory came from Mrs. Pritchard. When asked what her favorite high school memory was she said, “Cheering. We won state my junior year, which was amazing. But man, cheering on Friday nights, there’s nothing like it.”

Many may know that CHS has lots of clubs you can get involved in. Curious as to how clubs and extracurricular activities have changed, I asked what clubs/sports these alumni were a part of. Tucker says he played varsity football, varsity baseball and jv basketball. He was also apart of the Bible club, FCA and mu alpha theta.

Hyman says she didn’t play any sports; however, she was in the band her freshman year and was apart of beta club, mu alpha theta, and was a cahisco staff member.

Pritchard was a competition and football cheerleader, participated in teacher cadet, and was a member of the beta club, as well as the Chipper. She said, “Cheerleading took over my life” with a laugh.

Since these alumni came back to CHS they must have a favorite thing about Cartersville High school right? Absolutely.

Veiga said “We all love the kids. Were all here for the kids and we hope you learn. I think the kids are really good and I’m proud of all of them. My favorite thing now is just the people. We have a cool building and all that, but a building doesn’t make a place. We’ve got great people, great teachers, great students and a great administration. Were not perfect, but it genuinely is a place that is fun for me to come to work”.

Focusing a bit more on Cartersville as a community, Pritchard said, “I love the resources. If ever there’s a need, this community just rallies and takes it on. We have this thing called Purposity. When anybody in the system is in need of any material item we can ask our school social workers to post it in Purposity. Lots of community members have asked to be a part of this so they can donate. We’ve not had a want on there for longer than an hour. I love that about this community.”

Hyman said, “The kids here are great. Even the ones that kind of get in trouble, I love them. There’s something about them that makes them sweet. I hope that I’m able to inspire kids and I hope they feel like I love them as a teacher and I really want them to have a great life and know that they are capable of doing that no matter what their circumstances are.”

Cartersville might be a small community, but together it has a heart as big as the world. Teachers at CHS care for each and every one of their students and it shows. This school is a great place to be, then and now.