After graduating from The University of Pittsburgh with a level in theater arts, Rachel Volpe Wagner determined she wished to go a unique route.
“Being involved in theater, acting, singing and directing had always been my passion, but after graduating, I realized that, while it was a passion, I didn’t necessarily want it to be my career,” Wagner stated.
After graduating from Pitt in 2006, Wagner moved again to Altoona and took a job at Blair Family Solutions, the place she labored with a younger little one, accompanying him to highschool and providing assist and conduct interventions.
“This little boy I was placed with … I was really blessed that I started with him during his last year of preschool, and I was with him kindergarten through second grade at Frankstown Elementary,” Wagner stated. “The job gave me a lot of experience in being that support with management for children, but it also immersed me in the primary workings of the classroom. It showed me that what I really wanted to do was be one of those educators.”
Wagner determined to ditch theater and begin over as a non-traditional pupil at Mount Aloysius College, the place, at 30, she went to review education.
“The opportunity to go to college as an adult was so special and life changing because I had such clarity in the pursuit of this degree,” Wagner stated.
Going again to highschool was a simple adjustment, Wagner stated, because of being in the suitable setting.
“I felt so seen and appreciated; I felt truly just a part of the community and had amazing professors who were my mentors, and I still think of them each and every day,” Wagner stated.
Sara Rutledge, one in every of Wagner’s former professors at Mount Aloysius, stated she remembers Wagner for her profound presence in the classroom.
“She was a leader in class; that was evident, and she was able to lead groups more effectively than other students,” Rutledge stated. “She has hustle and grit and is very disciplined. I always appreciated her stick-with-it-ness and how empathetic she was.”
By the time commencement was approaching in 2014, Wagner was anticipating her first little one.
Her son was born shortly after commencement.
“Being in the middle of something so important when it happened was special because my professors and fellow students were so supportive and excited and it’s kind of like (the baby) got to finish that journey with me,” she stated.
After a quick maternity go away, Wagner started her instructing profession in the Altoona Area School District, the place she taught second and fourth grades at Penn Lincoln Elementary School.
While there, she integrated her love for theater and began a drama membership, writing and directing a Christmas play with 70 college students.
“I was able to take my first passion and first degree, and, even though I had gone in a completely different direction, I was able to bring that to my current career,” Wagner stated.
Unfortunately, after Wagner left, Penn Lincoln discontinued its drama membership, stated Kristi Phillips, one in every of Wagner’s former colleagues.
Phillips hopes the varsity can carry this system again finally.
“I hope we can build off what she started … We haven’t had any steady rhythm to get it back in place, but we can certainly look at it,” she stated.
Phillips stated she misses Wagner and what she delivered to the elementary college.
“She was a delight to have on our team,” Phillips stated. “Her enthusiastic joy for children and teaching is infectious. I was very impressed, as a seasoned teacher, with her rapport that she built with students and her strong work ethic. It was really exciting for me to have someone with such a fresh perspective and enthusiasm about working with children.”
After 5 years at Penn Lincoln, Wagner stated she was prepared for a change.
“I just felt like seeking new opportunities and a better fit for our family,” she stated.
Wagner took a place in the Spring Cove School District.
“My time in Altoona was very valuable, but with deciding where we wanted to lay our roots, I wanted to explore different experiences. … Spring Cove had openings and I thought I’d see what could happen here,” she stated.
Wagner stated she rapidly realized that Spring Cove was a superb match.
“I immediately knew it was the right decision,” Wagner stated. “The culture in the district is just so supportive and it fosters such academic excellence, and it makes everyone feel respected and appreciated.”
Now working at what might be referred to as her dream job, Wagner stated she needs to encourage different nontraditional college students, to allow them to know that it’s by no means too late.
“Choose what is right for you and what works for your life,” Wagner stated.
Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.
The Wagner File
Name: Rachel Volpe Wagner
Education: University of Pittsburgh, bachelor’s diploma in theater arts; Mount Aloysius College, bachelor’s diploma in education
Family: Husband, Sam; kids, Richie and Betty