The Avenue

DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 4

Serena Tran, Freshman Writer

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Every successful student would not be where they are without a supportive teacher right behind them. Many individuals take teachers for granted, but their jobs are incredibly important. Teachers guide the next generation of leaders, and if anything, we should be thankful for the adults who work so hard to see their students grow and succeed.

About two months ago, I posted a question on my social media asking my peers who they believed should get more recognition for what they do. There was a total of thirteen faculty members nominated, so every week, an article will be posted honoring two to three teachers or staff members.

Before we begin, I would like to write a quick message to every teacher out there: you may not get recognition for what you do, but there will always be a student who is successful because of what you did to help them. Even if it’s not said out loud, there are students who are grateful to call you their teacher.

Now, to the teachers and staff members who were nominated by the students, this goes you.

Ms. Hochman

Meet Ms. Hochman. Ms. Hochman grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up as a figure skater, so a lot of time was spent at an ice rink, including 5am practices twice a week! She went to Clayton High School in a suburb of St. Louis, which was a very small public school. Her graduating class had 178 students in it, and her aunt, uncle, dad, both her cousins, and brother went there. She even had a history teacher that taught her dad!

As college rolled around, Ms. Hochman attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she majored in English and Afro-American studies. After college, she lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Yosemite and then finally made it to Chicago where she worked at a non-profit in human resources.

It was after a couple of years in the real world where Ms. Hochman realized she wanted to be a teacher. Both of her parents are teachers, so she never wanted to do what they did, but then she realized that everything she enjoyed about previous jobs had been teaching whether it was coaching ice skating lessons, being a camp counselor, or helping people with human resources paperwork. So, she went to Loyola University-Chicago to get a masters in education.

At DePaul Prep, Ms. Hochman currently teaches English for IB seniors and freshman, she is also the sponsor for the Avenue and Dance Club. She began working here four years ago when she heard about an opening through one of her summer school coworkers. She had an interview with Dr. Quaid and was given a tour of the school by two students. She fell in love with DCP and soon got the job!

Ms. Hochman’s biggest challenge is trying to reach all students. She believes it is really hard to keep things interesting and challenging enough for all students all the time, but tries to do her best. Although English isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite subject, it’s her goal to make sure students can learn to express themselves effectively.  Ms. Hochman’s proudest achievement is when she was named, by the students, “Best Taste in Music” last year in the yearbook.
She also loves hearing from students when they tell her about a lesson they remembered or something they wrote that was important to them. To her, nothing can top that.

Ms. Hochman’s advice to incoming students:
“Always do your best work. I think it is important that students learn to be resilient. If they don’t do well on an assignment, then they need to work harder to improve on the next one. I don’t like when students give up. I want students to learn to work hard and to speak their mind.”
“Ms. Hochman alway tried her best when I was a freshman to make our class excited about reading in a world where technology has more importance.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Ms. Hochman is so genuinely nice to ALL her students and you can tell. She always knows what to say and she’s the perfect person to go to if you need help. She’s one of the reasons I love English so much :).” – Kennedy Hummons, a freshman

“Ms. Hochman allows us to talk about any issues we have and gives great advice.” – Nora Jeske, a freshman

“Ms. Hochman lets us speak our minds during her class and how we feel.” – Melanie Guadarrama, a freshman

“Ms. Hochman is literally the sweetest, most easy to talk to if a student ever needs anything and an amazing teacher!” – Izzy Wroten, a freshman

Mrs. Jeske

Meet Mrs. Jeske. Mrs. Jeske grew up in Chicago on the Northwest side– she still lives in that same area now, and ended up buying the house right next door to where she grew up.

Mrs. Jeske went to Good Counsel, which was an all-girls catholic school in Chicago. She then attended Loras College, and graduated in 1989.  She immediately started working for a manufacturing company in their purchasing department and then later in their engineering department. She has always worked in an administrative or support role, and continued to do so because that is what she is most comfortable doing.  She loves working in a school environment because of the nice community and positive energy.

Throughout the years, Mrs. Jeske’s full time jobs have been working in office situations as an Administrative Assistant, Customer Service Rep or Sales Support. She is currently an Administrative Assistant in the main office at DePaul Prep, and began working here in the fall of 2015 when her oldest son, Liam, had just started his Freshman year. She had volunteered in the office for a few days when they needed some help, and about a month later, they were looking for someone full time and they asked if she was interested.  She was very excited to be offered a job, and feels very lucky to be here.

On her first day, Mrs. Jeske was very nervous. Many parents and students had questions about everything, but she didn’t always know the answers or who they should talk to. However, it was also nice for her because she was a new parent as well, and learnt so much about what was going on at DePaul Prep.

Mrs. Jeske’s advice for incoming students:

“The biggest piece of advice that I would have for incoming freshman is to not be afraid to ask questions.  If you don’t know something or need help, just come to the main office or your teacher and just ask. Take school seriously right from the start, you only have four years here and they will go by very fast.”

“Mrs. Jeske was the first teachers I met at DePaul and she was very welcoming and sweet. She knew how to make me feel excited and not so scared about coming to the new school :).” – Kennedy Hummons

“Mrs. Jeske is always helping students and parents and it must be kinda stressful. Props to her for putting up with a lot!” – Anonymous, a freshman

Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch

Meet Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch. Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, but was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. She has an older brother and five older sisters who she was very close to.

Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch changed her major four times and had three different jobs after college. Eventually, she worked in publishing for 12 years, then was home with her children for a few years. Soon, her pastor invited her to work at their church, Saint Clement. She had been volunteering so much that he knew she was inspired by church work. She coordinated liturgy and volunteered there for a decade and earned a masters in theology during that time.

Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch has worked here for almost two years, but had been involved at the school before that time. She wanted there to be a good Catholic high school in this neighborhood. She currently coordinates the retreats and service projects, contributes to the overall direction of our faith life at the school, and will next year teach a Peer Ministry and Leadership class. According to Mrs. Deutsch, her first day was boring– she likes to be around people and it was only July. Thankfully, Mr. Voss and Mr. Conlin’s offices were nearby, and was very happy when the students finally arrived!

The biggest challenge for Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch has been adjusting from working in a church environment to working with teens, but interaction with the students quickly became the best part of her work. Her proudest achievement would be increasing participation on group service projects at wonderful organizations and developing our retreat program.

Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch’s advice for incoming students:

“If you just be yourself, you will develop rich friendships and DePaul Prep will be the best that it can be!”

“Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch always says good morning and works super hard on masses and other gatherings like our class retreats.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch was the first person I met coming to this school and made it awesome. She waits every morning without fail, rain or shine, to greet us all with a smile remembering ALL the names. She’s one of the nicest and most driven teachers I know here (not that they all aren’t) but I especially appreciate her efforts around the school :).” – Kennedy Hummons, a freshman

“Mrs. Merkl-Deutsch can make anyone laugh.” – Nora Jeske, a freshman

Although I could not include all the amazing and wonderful teachers at DePaul, here are some honorable mentions that either I could not get to or didn’t get to my email in time (haha).

Mr. Conlin:

“I really hated science before this year, I couldn’t understand it and I wasn’t doing my best. Here, I think it’s because of Mr. Conlin that I am improving. He’s an amazing teacher; great at explaining things and helping students out when they need to understand.” – Kennedy Hummons

“Mr. Conlin always answered our question to the best of his ability and put in a lot of extra time helping my freshman bio class outside of our class time.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Mr. Conlin is a very good teacher, I appreciate all he does for my class. He really wants to help his students understand the material and gives us ways to improve our test grades. He spends a lot of time helping different students and is genuinely a terrific teacher to have. If it wasn’t for him spending so much time outside of class helping me study for a test, I probably would have failed all of them by now haha. I also like his way of teaching, he’s very thorough, detailed, and will answer a question if I have one.” – Anonymous, a freshman


Ms. Bidstrup:

“Ms. Bidstrup puts soooo much effort into fun games and activities for us to do instead of deskwork and understands that we need a lot of help and patience while learning a new language.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Ms. Bidstrup is always offering extra help if anyone ever needs it which allows everyone to understand the Spanish concepts.” – Anonymous, a freshman

“I don’t have her as a teacher, but I’ve talked to her a few time and I’m sososo excited to have her as my spanish two teacher!” – Sabrina Nguyen, a freshman


Mr. Dwyer:

“He helped me big time on my first day. I had him first period and it was a great way to get a good start on the year. He’s super energetic, really wakes you up for the day and finds ways to make religion and history more interesting and fun. He also runs Black Student Union, another amazing and time consuming thing. He knows how to help out his students and be there when you need him. Super kind and super helpful.” – Kennedy Hummons, a freshman

“Very energetic, passionate about his job, and funny. He makes the community a better place.” – Anonymous, a junior


Ms. Orr:

“I absolutely love and adore Ms. Orr. She is the nicest person in the world. She’s always energetic, and ALWAYS saying hi to everyone that passes by her. She’s a fantastic person, very hardworking, and under appreciated. She is so positive and can brighten up anyone’s mood. Ms. Orr you are amazing!!” – Anonymous, a freshman

“She is always happy and works well with students.” – Parker Casey, a freshman

“I love being around Ms. Orr because she can instantly lift up my mood. She’s like a ball of sunshine.” – Anonymous, a junior

“She’s always super positive and super nice whenever I talk to her or see her in the halls! She’s also super funny and a great teacher.” – Sasha Goncharko, a freshman

I would also like to recognize:


  • The Quest workers for working hard to make the delicious food everyday, and for doing it with a kind smile (things get pretty crazy in the cafeteria, so thanks for putting up with us)
  • The individuals who make sure the school is clean and organized everyday, we really appreciate it
  • The individuals who work in the office all day who the students never really see— we know you’re hard at work to help us!


When I began writing this article, my day had been wild and I had no idea what to write at all. However, during a cold night in Chicago, sometime around 11 at night, I sat down with my dad and we began having a conversation about school. We soon got onto the topic of teachers, and this conversation gave me a new insight. Now, this is what my dad told me:

“Teachers sacrifice their lives students, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is tough to be a teacher, you have to deal with all types of students, good and bad. But no matter what, you have to help them become good people by the time they grow up.

Teachers have to lead their students to be the right person; a teacher must have a lot of patience with the students. Teachers don’t do what they do to be rich or famous, because most teachers aren’t rich or famous. Kids come and go, and the teachers stay there, spending the rest of their lives teaching, maybe at a few different schools. And the thing is they still have challenges themselves while trying to help students with their challenges.

Some people give up on teaching and go on to do something else. They want to find a better job, one that pays more or gives more recognition. A teacher has to have passion for teaching, and a passion to stay teaching. During their careers of teaching, they still have to challenge themselves to get better.

I see that a lot of kids don’t understand their teachers; they will complain about how bad the teacher is, how mean they are, how hard they are, but when they grow up they will understand what the teacher did was to benefit them. Kids will go to school and when they graduate, they leave and never look back— never come back to thank their teachers for helping them get to where they are. Even if they only teach you for a year, or month, or week, students must always respect their. They don’t have to be a full time teacher, they could only teach one small thing, but it doesn’t make them less worthy of a student’s respect because they still dedicated their time to teaching.

As a parent, I rely on teachers to shape my children’s’ futures, so I will always respect them. [Here’s the part where I almost started tearing up] By the way, this is my daughter, Serena, she is a very lovely young lady. She will be in college soon, I just hope she does something good for her life, for her family, and for the people around her— I know she will. She is very smart and passionate about learning, I hope one day she makes it to the top. Whatever she does with her career, I know her teachers helped lead the way.”

As they say, a good teacher can teach a student, but a great teacher can make a student want to learn.

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DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 4