Tassels & tears: RA teachers watch their children graduate
Published 11:02 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023
RESERVE—The life of a parent is far from easy, but when you are a teacher and a parent and your kid goes to the school where you teach, it’s even harder. Then when it’s time for your kid to graduate, it’s a whole different ball game.
For Riverside Academy teachers Tara Loving, Sonya Mazzella, Erin Jung and John White, the countdown to the last days of school was bittersweet. While they are proud to see their children graduate, they are sad knowing they won’t be seeing them in the halls next year.
Loving, who teaches Introduction to Business, Personal Finance and Keyboarding, recently watched her third and last child graduate. Jordan Loving has returned as a teacher and coach. Logan Loving graduated in 2021. This year’s senior, Camryn Loving, was a multi-sport athlete and honor student. All three were members of Riverside’s K Club — students who attended the school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“Since all of my children have grown up at Riverside, I’ve been so blessed to share each day with them, but it also makes it harder when one of them graduates.” Loving said. “Now with my baby girl leaving, it is bittersweet. I will miss her company and the busy schedule we have had since forever.”
When Jeremy Jung was in kindergarten, his mother Erin Jung started as a substitute teacher on her days off from the hospital where she worked as a nurse. Eventually she switched to teaching full time. From day one of starting her job at RA, she has loved being on the same campus as her boys and she loved the special experiences that she has had with them. Jung is known for her “Breakfast Club,” a random collection of students who enjoy eating breakfast in her classroom before school. Her son Andrew, who graduated last year, and Jeremy have been regulars. Both sons were in the band. (Jung’s youngest son, Ethan, transferred to Archbishop Rummel a few years ago.)
“With Jeremy’s graduation drawing near, it’s quite emotional,” Jung said. “I’m so used to seeing him every day and having my ‘Breakfast Club’ seniors every morning. It’s definitely going to be different.”
With the 2023 school year coming to a close, Mazzella has been reflecting on what an emotional rollercoaster it has been to have her son, Thomas Mazzella IV, leave the school she’s taught at since he was in Pre-K3. Thomas is the senior class president, played football and baseball and was a member of the drama club with featured parts in the last two productions.
“This has allowed me the opportunity to watch him grow, get to know his teachers, and get to know him as a high school teen and not just my son,” Mazzella said. “Becoming a mother was the greatest moment in my life; being allowed to share his journey in life so closely has been a wonderful opportunity. Now I enthusiastically look forward to seeing his chosen path and where it takes him. As he and all the other seniors graduate this year, I would like to remind them of what Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,’ so go out into the world and never fear the unknown’.”
White is a former Riverside teacher and coach who returned this year, bringing along his son, Scott. The two shared time in the halls as well as on the football field, basketball court and track.
“My son, Scott, watching him grow up has been many things… Joyful, impactful, and even stressful,” White said. “But it has also been the most meaningful part of my life.”