Prep has been around for 140 years, beginning as an all-boys school and growing into the diverse community it is today. A lot has changed since the doors were first opened, but the one thing that hasn’t is the Prep staff’s passion for teaching.
Ms. Ritchie, a health teacher at Prep, has been teaching for 38 years as a panther. When asked why she stayed at Prep for so long, she replied “I never thought of teaching as a job. I thought of teaching as a vocation and it was something I loved. Each year at Prep brought new joys and challenges…and I always looked forward to both. My students enriched my life!” The diversity and community built at prep drew Ms. Ritchie to stay and continue her love of teaching.
Different experiences mean more reasons to love prep. “The people – from colleagues to assistant coaches, students to alumni, we are lucky to call Prep home. It became very clear to me early on that I was part of something amazing & larger than myself. The Prep community cares deeply for people & I wanted to be a part of this forever.” Says Mr. Meza, long time science teacher at prep, on why he has stayed.
Working at Prep for a while means making memories with students and fellow teachers. “Unfortunately, we lost two students in a car accident one year. That was so sad and shocking. I still think about Amy and Alex.” Says Ritchie, “A happy memory is when I was coaching the girls’ basketball team and we qualified for the state tournament for the first time with a shot at the buzzer.”
In Prep’s many traditions is where Mr. Meza found a core memory, “Watching our school cheer on freshman dancing awkwardly on the gym floor at Back to School assemblies – such a great reminder that students care for other students!”
A lot can change in 38 years, but according to Ritchie, the campus changed the most. “The most obvious change is the physical campus. Our current plaza and Ignatius used to be our parking lot. The block schedule is another welcome addition. We had a crazy schedule before that. The quality and diversity of our faculty and staff continues to inspire!” She says, upon reflection of her time as a panther.
Being a Prep Panther means a lot, but for the teachers and staff, it only means more. The family at school makes Prep difficult to leave behind.