Mya Koffie, Senior Editor-in-Chief

“I think people should go into what field they want to go into, regardless of what other people think,” retiring teacher Sra. Paula Meyer shares sagely. The incredible educator has devoted over three decades of her life teaching “everything from seventh-grade Spanish all the way to Spanish Six [an advanced, college-level Spanish course offered in some Appleton Area high schools]” at Madison Middle School, Appleton West High School, and Appleton North High School, at which she has spent the past twenty-six years. The conviction behind Meyer’s advice as she urges others to pursue their passions regardless of anyone else’s opinions arises from personal experience. After a long, successful teaching career, Meyer recounts that “I had people tell me, ‘you won’t be a good teacher! You’re too shy!’ And guess what? I’m fine. I was fine.” Today, she asserts that the most important lesson she gleaned from her time as an educator is that one’s will to achieve, or affinity for, a given occupation or calling should never go ignored for the sake of others. Outside of her role as a teacher, Meyer fulfills the roles of wife, mother, runner, and volunteer. “I have three adult children. My husband and I have a cabin up north. I like to run [marathons]. I volunteer at the Vida Pregnancy Center; I’m a Parent Mentor there. I also have a cat that I like to take for walks and spend time with; she has a stroller now.” She mentions her love for traveling and how this love bleeds into her teaching. “I incorporate travel…in my teaching. I went to Puerto Rico by myself in the summer of 2022. Oh, it was awesome!” Later, Meyer would inspire a realization of applicability in her Spanish classes by showing her students pictures she captured on her trip and emphasizing the impact of language learning on the traveling experience. To Meyer, “watching students mature and learn and become productive adults is super rewarding.” She beams as she recalls a special moment: “the first time I found out that a student of mine had become a teacher.” She said that former students regularly reach out to her about their international voyages and experiences in Spanish-speaking countries. Meyer highlights that she “just had a student do the Camino de Santiago” and sometimes reconnects with graduated former students as they study abroad when she goes on the Appleton North Spain trip. The educator foresees that retirement will bring “a little bit more travel, a little bit more volunteering…[and] some kind of a part time job” into this new chapter of her life. She “will miss students, and talking with my colleagues,” but feels excited about “not having to get up in the morning,” ensuring, “I am not a morning person.”