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Faculty, staff leave legacies at high school

Smiles+for+the+secretary--+Counseling+secretary+Diane+Gooding+smiles+next+to+school+counselor+Rebecca+Gorman.+Gooding%0Abegan+working+at+the+high+school+as+the+secretary+in+the+library+in+1989.+She+then+moved+into+the+position+as+counseling+secretary+in+1992.
Smiles for the secretary-- Counseling secretary Diane Gooding smiles next to school counselor Rebecca Gorman. Gooding
began working at the high school as the secretary in the library in 1989. She then moved into the position as counseling secretary in 1992.

Smiles for the secretary-- Counseling secretary Diane Gooding smiles next to school counselor Rebecca Gorman. Gooding began working at the high school as the secretary in the library in 1989. She then moved into the position as counseling secretary in 1992.

Ursula Fraley

Ursula Fraley

Smiles for the secretary-- Counseling secretary Diane Gooding smiles next to school counselor Rebecca Gorman. Gooding began working at the high school as the secretary in the library in 1989. She then moved into the position as counseling secretary in 1992.

Bella Podgorski, Managing Editor

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As the school year comes to an end, dedicated faculty members say goodbye to the high school as they move on to retirement.

Attendance secretaries Jody Gottier and Dori-Ann Platosh leave the attendance office after 16 years of working together at the high school. Counseling secretary Diane Gooding retired  mid-year after she started working in the library in 1989 then later moved to the position of counseling secretary in 1992.

In addition to these secretaries, school counselor Mary Sobin leaves the Counseling Department after working for 21 ½ years to assist students of all grade levels through the college process and supporting them throughout their high school career. Lastly, literacy specialist Jill Pilon, who has worked at the high school for the past four years, leaves the high school and Farmington School System. Many will miss Pilon as she has worked in every school in the town except West District Elementary School.

Attendance secretary Jody Gottier:

Bella Podgorski
Ready to answer– Attendance secretary Jodi Gottier answers the phone while on the job. Gottier has worked at the high school for 16 years.

Gottier has worked at the high school for 16 years in the attendance office and has found it to have been an enjoyable experience where everyone is open and friendly.

“In the 16 years I have been working here at FHS, I have grown very close to many of my co-workers and many students.  I will truly miss our daily interaction,” Gottier said.

Some students have had the opportunity to see Gottier each day as they enter and exit school. Senior Ashish John is one who has expressed how he will miss seeing Gottier in the office.

“I came into school late a lot, and I wasn’t sure how understanding the attendance ladies would be, but Mrs. Gottier was always really understanding and had a bright smile on her face. I’m going to miss seeing a friendly face every morning. Even during a lot of bad days, she always managed to brighten my day a bit, which always helped,” John said.

Gottier plans to reconnect with various friends and family throughout the country that she only has been able to talk to on Facebook. She also looks forward to sight-seeing as part of her retirement.

“It’s going to be weird coming into the school and seeing a new set of faces at the attendance office next year. Although I wasn’t there very often, Mrs. Gottier was still a familiar face I saw every morning,” junior Pat Arnold said.

She will miss the daily interaction with many of her co-workers and students here as she has grown close to many of them.

Literacy specialist Jill Pilon:

Chris DiLullo
Looking at literature– Literacy Specialist Jill Pilon assists in a Freshman English class. Pilon has served as a Literacy Specialist for four years here at the high school.

Over the past 41 years, Pilon has served as a special education teacher for grades Pre-K – 12, an elementary classroom teacher, a reading recovery teacher, and a literacy specialist for grades K-6. She has had the opportunity to work in every Farmington school except for West District.

Pilon has worked at the high school for the past four years. Formally retiring in 2013, this is considered a “re-retirement.”

“I am so thankful to the Farmington Public School for the unexpected opportunity to continue in a part-time position as a literacy consultant at FHS for these past 4 years. I was able to share what I know about elementary and middle school literacy learning to help high school teachers shift some curriculum and instructional practices in an effort to better meet the needs of adolescent learners,” Pilon said.

Pilon will miss watching students change from young learners who rely heavily on teachers to determine their learning needs to young adults who take increased responsibility for their own academic, social and emotional success.

“Mrs. Pilon is an excellent portrayal of a life-long learner, and we are all going to miss her next year. Not only was she my colleague, but she also served the role of mentor, coach and friend. We are so grateful for all she has done to move teaching and learning forward at FHS,” English teacher Jessica Tolles said.

Pilon plans to spend more time with her granddaughters and her husband as part of her retirement. She looks forward to embracing her love for sports by walking daily, taking long bike rides and developing some skill as a golfer.

She also plans to volunteer for a medical organization, support an emerging family business, complete some home improvement projects and possibly work as a literacy consultant.

“I will miss watching students change from young learners who rely heavily on teachers to determine their learning needs to young adults who take increased responsibility for their own academic, social and emotional success. I will also miss working with teachers as they continue to explore best teaching practices at the secondary level,” Pilon said.

School counselor Mary Sobin:

Sobin has worked at the high school for 21 ½ years as a school counselor assisting her students from freshman to senior year. Sobin attended West Hempstead High School in West Hempstead, New York. Following high school, she attended Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and received her masters degree from Central Connecticut State University. Sobin’s first career was within the field of medical technology and working in hospital labs for about five years. Sobin was recognized as Connecticut’s School Counselor of the Year for 2017.

“I was in a career that I was ill-suited for before, and it made me appreciate school counseling more. The students and faculty at Farmington High School have treated me extraordinarily. I’ve loved working here,” Sobin said.

Sobin will miss her students greatly. She added that no matter how or when she left, she would always be leaving her students, specifically a group of juniors who would be in the midst of the college process. Sobin loved working with high school students and will miss them the most.

“Ms. Sobin has been such a great asset to the counseling department, and for me personally. Over the past three years I’ve had her, she has helped me with absolutely anything and everything. She has been such a great counselor and will be greatly missed in the FHS community,” junior Olivia Bottalico said.

2014 Alumnus Cal Green attributed his success to Sobin as his counselor at the high school.

“No one cared like Ms. Sobin did. Going to Ohio State was by far the best decision of my high school career, and I wouldn’t have even considered it if she hadn’t spent the time to look at good fits herself and convince me to take a look too. But that was just the start: Ms. Sobin helped with day to day issues, brought together her students as friends and was always an adult in the building I could confide in,” Green said.

In addition to students, colleagues of Sobin added how she will be missed in the counseling department.

They went on to describe Sobin as “dedicated,” “devoted,” “empathetic,” “indefatigable,” “sincere,” “genuine” and “trustworthy.”

“Mary has been a joy to work with.  Though I am not saying good-bye, at work I will miss her laugh, her friendship, her wisdom and her knowledge of the the field of school counseling. She leaves a legacy of  ‘relationships matter,’ whether they are with students, parents, faculty or college representatives.  Mary prides herself on her connections with others and these relationships have benefitted Farmington High for two decades,” Counseling Department Chair Brooke Stanziale said.

Attendance secretary Dori-Ann Platosh:

Bella Podgorski
Focused and organized–Attendance secretary Dori-Ann Platosh focuses on her work. Platosh has worked at the high school for 16 years in the attendance office.

Prior to working at the high school, Platosh spent time working at Irving A. Robbins Middle School. Platosh has worked in the Attendance Office for 16 years at the high school. She added that, after so many years, the students become similar to her own children.

“The part that I will miss the most are ‘my kids;’ after so many years the students are like my own children.  Many have given me reasons to smile. I will miss the staff that I have been friends with for so many years.  I will also miss the parents that I have become close with. It will certainly be a change in my life,” Platosh said.

In addition, she has had the opportunity to make connections with parents and faces she would see each day.

“What more can be said about Mrs. Platosh besides that she is the sunshine in our day, the gem in our lives and what makes us smile every day,” junior Teddy Colavecchio said.

Platosh plans to start her daily routine later unless it’s to go to the gym and to spend more time with her four dogs.

“I would a like to thank all the administrators, staff and students who helped me get through a very difficult time with their kindness, smiles and gentle words.  It will never be forgotten,” Platosh said.

Counseling secretary Diane Gooding:

Ursula Fraley
Smiles for the secretary– Counseling secretary Diane Gooding smiles next to school counselor Rebecca Gorman. Gooding began working at the high school as the secretary in the library in 1989. She then moved into the position as counseling secretary in 1992.

Prior to working at the high school in the Counseling Office, Gooding taught Kindergarten at Plantsville School. She then stayed home for several years with her four children. This later led to Gooding to return to work as the secretary in the library in 1989. She then moved into the position as counseling secretary in 1992 and stayed there until she retired halfway through this year.

Gooding will miss the kids and faculty most. She added how it really is a fun and exciting place to work with so many different things going on with student activities, sports and fundraisers. Those who she was able to work with will also miss her.

“Working with Mrs. Gooding for almost 10 years was a wonderful experience.  From the first day I started working with her in the Counseling Office, she was always willing to help and share her wealth of knowledge,” counseling secretary Joanne Pandolfi said.

From processing college applications to a variety of other jobs, Gooding contributed to the Counseling Department as the school counseling office secretary. She leaves the high school with plans to make the most out of every day.

Now retired, Gooding may pursue painting (pictures, not houses), making porcelain dolls and reading. She will also keep herself busy by sewing clothes for kids in Haiti and dog beds for shelters. She looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren, catching up with friends, hiking with her dog, Honey and doing volunteer work. She may even take some college courses, for fun.

“I enjoyed many wonderful years at Farmington High School and made a lot of dear friends that I am still in contact with. I have looked forward to retirement and not working, but retirement is just another season of life and we all need to find joy in the season we are in, each and every day,” Gooding said.

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Faculty, staff leave legacies at high school