After eight years one of the school’s most loved teachers will be retiring on March 31st. Some may know her as Madame Ferreira, some as Señora Ferreira, but one thing is for sure: she left a lasting impression on whoever she taught. The decision to retire was made after the birth of her granddaughter this past October.
“I wanted to learn the fion fion fion stuff. That’s what [French] sounded like”Mrs. Ferreira
Mrs. Ferreira didn’t always want to be a teacher, but she’s always loved languages. She remembers hearing relatives from her father’s side of the family speaking French, which made her want to learn the “fion fion fion stuff. That’s what it sounded like,” says Mrs. Ferreira. So she started to learn French in fourth grade and later added Spanish in middle school. While in college she wanted to be a tour director or travel agent. “I went into the travel business and lasted about two months because I didn’t like sitting behind a desk and just waiting for the phone to ring. I couldn’t do that,” says Mrs. Ferreira. With her degree in romance languages, she was able to start subbing at different schools in the area.
She enjoyed being a substitute teacher because it got her mind working and she was able to interact with different people. “I subbed at Holyoke High, which was my Alma mater. The teachers there said if I liked subbing, I was gonna love teaching. So that’s when I decided to go back and get my degree in teaching,” says Mrs. Ferreira. Mrs. Ferreira has been a teacher for the past 34 years. After teaching jobs in Lee, Granby, East Longmeadow, and the Berkshires, she was hired at LHS by World Languages Department Chair Mrs. Epaul who saw her “enthusiasm, creativity, and love for teaching”.
Throughout the years at LHS, Mrs. Ferreira has grown close to the community of students, whom she will miss interacting with and speaking with in foreign languages. Over the years she has touched the lives of many students, who are eternally grateful. Former student Max Stukalin reminisces about his experiences of, “a teacher who was not only devoted to pushing her students to achieve in class, but a friend who you could just talk with”. He says, “I hope she remembers how much of an impact she made on me and her other students and that she will truly be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of being around her at the school.” There are many parts of LHS that Mrs. Ferreira is going to miss, “All the concerts that I attended here were so wonderful. In the concert right before Christmas when they do The Lord Bless You and Keep You and all the alums come up and sing, that’s such a nice way to start the holiday season,” she says. “I’m going to miss my kids, and I always refer to you guys as my kids. I’m going to miss the constant interaction with my students and using my languages every day.” But there is a silver lining as Mrs. Ferreira is “thrilled not to [have to] correct papers or to do any planning because [she] tends to do hours of work at home either after school or on the weekend.”
Mrs. Ferreira has inspired multiple students to continue to study French in college and even study abroad in France, one of these students being Caroline Goodhines who graduated last year. “She served as that teacher everyone has that they can tell anything to without judgement and she always helped me when I was struggling by giving me advice or just having someone to talk to. She gave me a lot of the tools that I really needed to be successful both in my French-speaking and in college,” says Caroline. Another former student currently studying abroad is Deirdre Duquette, who says, “[Mme. Ferreira] really took the language out of the textbook and made it real and interesting for me. I think learning a language is all about engagement and interaction, and Madame Ferreira really inspired a love for the language in that way. I am currently studying in Paris for the year, living with a French family and taking classes at a French university. I am also interested in interning and working in Paris, all of which would not be possible had I not been encouraged and inspired in her class!”
“She served as that teacher everyone has that they can tell anything to without judgement and she always helped me when I was struggling by giving me advice or just having someone to talk to. She gave me a lot of the tools that I really needed to be successful both in my French-speaking and in college”Caroline Goodhines
Along with babysitting her granddaughter, Mrs. Ferreira looks forward to continuing her passion for music; she comes from a very musical family and has been singing in the Springfield symphony chorus for the last four years. Mrs. Ferreira’s grandmother was a pianist, her father was a saxophone and clarinet player, and her mother was a singer. Her kids were LHS students, and both participated in the music program. “My daughter was in Lyrics and Accidentals and my son was in Men’s Chorus and Orchestra. Now he is a full-time conductor now while he’s in grad school for conducting. But he got his start here.” Both her children, her husband, and she all play the piano as well. Mrs. Ferreira says she’ll miss, “no longer singing the national anthem before the football game”, as well as performing for the faculty during meetings.
For the time being she is focused on taking care of her granddaughter, making sure “She will be learning French and Spanish”, and maybe traveling. However, Mrs. Ferreira has left the door open for some teaching in the future, whether it be online or subbing.
“Madame, j’espère qu’on se revoit bientôt. Merci beaucoup pour tout”Max Stukalin