From Students to Staff
Twins Alexis and Langston Washington began as City School staff members at the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. However, their first experience as part of the school community was while wearing middle school uniforms over ten years ago at Spruce Hill Christian School.
Langston and Alexis Washington have a unique perspective as employees due to their varying experiences as students. In addition to graduating from Spruce Hill, Langston went on to attend Philadelphia Mennonite High School, now a merged part of The City School, and Millersville University where he studied Psychology and Sociology. He is currently a student at Missio Seminary in Hatfield, PA where he is earning his Masters of Divinity. Alexis attended the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova, PA for high school. She later received her B.A. in psychology at Eastern University and her M.S. in Education Counseling from West Chester University.
Alexis accepted a position in the City School counseling department at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. She works with elementary students at the Spruce Hill Campus.
While catching up with his previous middle school history teacher, Joan Hamel, during the summer of 2018, it became clear that Langston would make a great addition to the staff as the Poplar building substitute and the middle school soccer coach.
Both twins now walk with students of all ages at the City School and guide them in the same Christ-like capacity that they were led in as students.
An Education That Endured
Although they could not have realized it at the time, their middle school years at The City School shaped the Washington twins for life. Over time, they have realized that the intentional values and core commitments of a Christian education are deeply sewn into their characters and career choices. Alexis summarizes her attitude on transitioning from student to staff, “a lot of what I learned while at Spruce Hill not only helped me as a student, but helped me to grow into the person that I am today, so I love that I am back at the same campus giving back to the school and serving the students.” Langston paints his student to staff experience as both a natural and awkward transition. He has experienced a strong feeling of kinship with the students and has been navigating learning how to both discipline and guide students at the same time.
Both twins expressed how the environment their teachers created began building their confidence and abilities to be successful students in and outside the classroom. Alexis remembers a time when current music teacher, Ruth Naomi Floyd, pushed her into an uncomfortable and defining role, “I really enjoyed being part of a small school because it helped boost my confidence. Mrs. Floyd actually forced me to do a solo when I was part of the choir, and I will never forget it.”
Langston remembers the treatment he received from his teachers. He became emotional when speaking about his previous high school biology teacher, Ms. Seretny, who he claimed showed her students how to love one another through her actions in the classroom. He could only describe her ability to care for her students as living out Jesus’ calling.
Working with Their Role Model
Alexis now works with her most memorable teacher, Joan Hamel, who has remained a middle school history teacher and principal. Alexis reflected, “Mrs. Hamel was my favorite teacher and still is a favorite among a lot of Spruce Hill graduates who have asked me if she is still here. Mrs. Hamel actually assigned us homework to outline chapters in our textbook and learn how to do research papers which were so annoying at the time, but I still use her methods as a postgraduate student.”
Langston similarly is experiencing what it is like to have a previous teacher as a boss. He fondly reminisced on his time in Ms. Hamel’s middle school history class stating that he remembers less the historical content and more how she trained her student’s minds, “she taught me over time that I am most likely not going to get what I want from life and that is okay, it is a hard lesson to learn, but a crucial one in life. We have to be prepared for what God has planned for us, not what we have planned. We are called to do the best with what we have and God will supply the rest”
Both Alexis and Langston are clear examples of The City School’s mission , “to train minds, disciple hearts and bring light to the city—one child at a time.” They have reaped what was sown in them as students and are now prepared to begin their own sowing as staff members.