Cathedral Preparatory is introducing a new addition to the faculty. You may have seen her through the halls or the new name tag next to the door. Mrs. Cavicchio is the new Spanish teacher for the Spanish 1 class. Knowing Spanish for 20 years, she has quite a bit of knowledge to share with her students. Her skills that she brings to Prep will prove helpful to the students.
Born in Erie Pa, and a graduate of Penn State Behrend, Mrs. Cavicchio always had a certain attraction to teaching. As a kid, she found herself playing teacher often, and she enjoyed it. As she grew older, however, it became more of a prominent thought in her head. She would tutor her friends when it came to Spanish, foreshadowing her life as a teacher.
“I think that it is my true calling or vocation in life, so it isn’t like I chose teaching, it’s more like teaching chose me,” she said.
While at Behrend, she majored in English, taking all the Spanish courses they had available. Behrend does not offer a Spanish major or minor, but she still learned most of her Spanish in college. She had started a Spanish club, which helped her and many other students with language in general. They would do events with the organization of Latin American students, and they often did language exchanges.
“I would help them with their English, and they would help me with my Spanish,” she said.
She did not stay in Erie though. She ended up studying abroad in international studies with a focus in Spanish and ended up going to the University of Salamanca in Spain. Since Behrend did not offer a minor or major in Spanish, she had the option to go to Penn State main campus, and major in Spanish there. However, it was expensive, so she looked for another plan. That is where Spain came in.
“The living expenses and education costs are lower,” she said, “so it was kind of a no brainer for me to pay a tenth of the tuition and a third of the living expenses. The only thing that would’ve been expensive would be the travel cost.”
While there, she stayed for a semester and was a student and a teacher there. She taught English to students while being a student. Some of her courses were for Spanish. She fell in love with the city and wanted to stay there and ended up living there for 12-and-a-half years. Obviously, living in a Spanish-speaking country helped her learn and become fluent, and she ended up getting her master’s degree at The University of Salamanca.
She wanted to mention how beautiful the university was, and she noted that it was the third oldest university in the world and the oldest one in Spain. She loved Spain and Spanish in general because of the culture and history it holds. Spain holds a special place in her heart as she lived there for a large majority of her life. In general, she wants to travel to every Spanish-speaking country and learn about their individual cultures.
As for her teaching career, she started teaching Spanish before going to Spain, getting a job Blessed Sacrament and teaching there for two years. She also worked as a tutor at Penn State Behrend and worked with a program called Upward Bound.
Recently, she heard a job opening asking for someone “who was very passionate about the Spanish language,” so she thought she was a perfect fit. Another driving factor was her grandfather who graduated from Prep in 1950 and believed that it impacted his life for the better, saying “[he] learned how to be a good person and a good student.” After previously working as a part-time teacher at Erie Day School, she saw this position and was looking for a full-time teacher position. She applied for the position, did the interview, and it is safe to say things went well.
While it has only been a few weeks since her first day, she has said that her time at Prep so far has been great.
“It’s a bit unusual,” she said, referring to hybrid learning and remote instruction.
However, there are still some aspects that she appreciates. Mainly, she personally likes how it is easier to know students better on a one-to-one basis. Due to a large majority of students going to remote learning, her in-person classes have gotten significantly smaller.
“I think we get to know each other a bit better than if we were in a big group,” she said.
Her students have been very hardworking as they move on to harder Spanish assignments in the second quarter. Overall, they have been very kind and enthusiastic about the whole change in teachers.
Mrs. Cavicchio also works with Mrs. Miller, the Spanish 2 and 3 teacher. She has been very helpful to get used to how things work in this school. Mrs. Cavicchio also says they have similar teaching philosophies, and they get along very well because of this.
Overall, Mrs. Cavicchio’s passion for the Spanish language is a welcome gift to the language department. While this year has had its hardships, she is taking up the challenge very well. If you see her in the halls, make sure to give her a warm welcome.