Many alumni only return to their high school alma mater for a milestone reunion, or maybe an occasional homecoming football game. Far fewer have the opportunity to return as a faculty member and walk the same halls that they did as 16-year-olds. For several Valor staff members, homecoming is an event on the school calendar that perfectly describes their post-graduation career path.
Nate Stein (Valor Class of 2014), Maya Goodyear (2015) Natalie Jackson (2013), Amy Russo (formerly Pomeroy – 2011), Zach Hickman (2013), Paige Stingley (2012), Marlena Perry (formerly Ernst – 2012), Brennan Allen (2011) and Evan Troka (2011) each fill a unique role of current staff member and alumnus, giving them a rare perspective on what it means to be a Valor Eagle.
Mr. Stein was the man behind the mask of Swoop during his high school years, providing spirit and energy at home sporting events. Now, he uses his experience in broadcasting to teach VSN students how to put together a game day production from start to finish, providing live broadcasts of many Valor home games. When asked about his journey back to Valor, he said, “Valor has always felt like home, so it just felt right to start my career here. Only now, I actually appreciate how much work and planning go into each year for each faculty member.”
Ms. Jackson may have been less set on returning to teach at her alma mater, but the experience so far has been both eye-opening and rewarding. “Coming back to Valor was actually a surprise for me, but I love what this community stands for, especially the strong and intentional Christian atmosphere. Being an alumnus opens special opportunities to connect with and mentor our students.”
Specifically, she gets to mentor students as the Yearbook teacher and JV Poms coach, both activities that she participated in as a student herself. Despite coming back to a much bigger student body, she says the excitement around homecoming week hasn’t changed since her days at Valor.
Mrs. Russo fondly remembers going to school dances like Homecoming with friends as a part of her busy experience. She fit as many activities into her schedule as possible when she was a student, including volleyball, Discovery trips to India, and multiple theatre productions. Some of her favorite things, like the iconic mountain view from the library, are still the same years later. Most importantly, she notes that the school’s foundation has not changed.
“While the level of excellence that Valor produces is off the charts, there is something deeper. It is the way God is absolutely the foundation of this school. I saw it in my teachers when I was a student and I see it in my colleagues now that I am a teacher. I love that the Lord is present and I love that the people I work with are sold out for Christ!”
Even though many of these employees attended a school of students more similar in size to one of today’s graduating classes, their most cherished memories are of aspects of the school that students today still experience. Whether or not they return as teachers, alumni who step foot on campus again can expect many new faces, some familiar, and an immediate welcome back to the Valor Eagle Family.