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Padilla returns back to her roots at Rose

SAT. | 10-30-21 | FEATURES

     As Rose students return to school and walk down the halls to their various classes throughout the day, they may notice a new staff member in the 300 hall. After social studies teacher Kenny Kirkland retired in January of last school year, Rose found itself with a vacancy. Fortunately, someone came to the rescue; Diane Padilla.

     Padilla is a Greenville native and Rose alumna returning to her roots to begin her first year teaching. Padilla graduated from Rose in 2014 and attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for all four years of college as a Peace, War, and Defense major with a minor in German and Art. 

     Padilla saw an opening to teach at Rose last year and knew she should apply for several reasons. Her experience at Rose and former teachers were her biggest influences in applying for and accepting the teaching position offered.

     She knew she did not want to teach elementary school, but she loves history and recognized that teaching high school would allow her to specialize in history and help students fall in love with the subject and learning in general.

     “I did a couple of different jobs [after graduating] and they were good, but I’d always been interested in working with kids and with the slight change of plans with Corona, I was moving back to Greenville and was thinking ‘what can I do?’,” Padilla said.


Photo by Brena Gauland

     “I really wanted to give back to my community and was still friends with some of my teachers, so what better place to start teaching and doing something new than where I went, where I know the people, and know the school?”

     During her time at Rose, she had a close relationship with her teachers and participated in clubs such as Science Olympiad and her favorite, Mock Trial. She now recognizes a transition in the relationships she has with her former teachers as she is now their colleague rather than one of their students.

     “It’s interesting because now I am an adult,” said Padilla. “So my teachers are my colleagues and tell me that I can call them by their first names and I was like ‘that sounds so weird’.”

     She explained how it is a slow, but great process in which her colleagues have been very supportive and helpful throughout the new adventure.

     Even within the first few weeks of school, Padilla is enjoying being a teacher, especially because of the ability to share her love of history with her students and seeing them grow in their knowledge of the subject. She explains how making history fun and interesting for her students and seeing them experience those “clicks” of understanding is an extremely rewarding part of her job.

     Padilla is not advising any clubs or sports this year as experienced teachers advised her to take the first year teaching to figure out the realm of things as a new teacher. 

     “The advice I got from most other teachers was to take the first year to focus on getting settled into the lifestyle of teaching,” Padilla explained.

     Padilla is looking forward to this year and to continue this new passion of teaching.

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