Tag Archives: Heather Colletti-Houde

How To Get Into College: Westport Edition

Last year, as part of Heather Colletti-Houde’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition class, Nick Ribolla and friends created a clever, devastatingly on-target video takedown of their hometown.

Westport’s Got It All” featured teens-eye views of conformity, diversity and hypocrisy. Most of “06880”‘s nearly 100 commenters loved it. Some hated it. That’s exactly what Nick and his classmates wanted.

This year, Colletti-Houde gave her class a similar assignment: satirize something prevalent in students’ lives.

Director/editor/actor Ziggy Hallgarten — along with fellow juniors Sydney Malkin, Nick Roehm and Izzy Ullmann — chose something they’re intimately familiar with: the college process.

They nailed it. Essays, tutors, community service — it’s all there. (Great production values too!)

“It’s a Juvenalian form of satire,” Ziggy says.

With that depth of knowledge — and the hints he and Sydney, Nick and Izzy provide in the video — he’s sure to get into the college of his choice!

Meghan Scheck’s Story

When cancer strikes, some people take time off from work. The struggle is tough. A job can wait.

Meghan Scheck was diagnosed with breast cancer in early January. But instead of requesting a medical leave, she headed straight back to Staples High School.

Scheck is a beloved English instructor. She teaches Advanced Placement Language, English 3A, and 2 sophomore classes.

That’s tough, on the best days. But Scheck never thought twice about where she should be.

“Teaching is my happy place,” she  says. “It’s so nice to be there, in a place where I’m not a ‘cancer patient.’ When I’m at school, I forget about that part of my life.”

That part of her life included 6 weeks of chemotherapy. She’s got 2 sessions to go. She undergoes surgery at the end of the school year — “great timing!” she laughs — followed by more chemo.

Meghan Scheck, with her husband and son.

Meghan Scheck, with her husband and son.

She’s facing the ordeal with an upbeat attitude, enthusiasm, and a strong desire to deliver a rich and rigorous education to her students, no matter how tired or sick she feels.

The Staples community has responded to Scheck’s unflagging optimism.

“The kids have been great,” she says. “They’re so understanding and supportive. I’ve gotten so many sweet emails.”

The staff has been “like family,” Scheck adds. Her colleagues throughout the school — particularly those in her English department — have gone “dramatically out of their way” to help.

In ways large and small, they make her life a little easier. She was particularly touched when — at crunch time, just before grades were due — they volunteered to grade papers for her.

“It’s been humbling,” Scheck says of the outpouring of support.

Office-mate Heather Colletti-Houde has gone one step further. She set up a GoFundMe page.

GoFundMe logoScheck — who is married, with a 4-year-old son — will probably run out of sick days this fall. The fund will also provide a cushion for health care costs, when the school system’s very good insurance policy (with a high deductible) rolls over.

There are many unforeseen costs too, for any cancer patient.

In the first days since the GoFundMe site went live, Scheck’s friends — many of them Staples staff and parents — donated $8,000.

Meghan Scheck has touched hundreds of students — and plenty of colleagues — in her 7 years at Staples. Now it’s time for all of us to provide our own lesson in the importance of community.

(Click here to contribute through Meghan Scheck’s GoFundMe page.)