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Legacy of Love


After many years of work as an English teacher at High School West, Mrs. Benson is retiring this year. Most people know her for her passion for yoga and nature. She’s known to teach her students meditation and brighten up her classroom with a multitude of plants. Some students have even had the pleasure of joining her on a meditation bus, and people who haven’t had the opportunity to be in her class can still recognize her by her kindhearted greetings in the hallways.

A majority of her previous students had only the nicest things to say about her. Victoria Fusaro shared that “Mrs. Benson was always kind to me, and she always inspired me to do my best in her class.” Although she teaches a basic freshman English curriculum, she has also brought in “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah to broaden the minds of her students and share perspectives other than the likes of “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Odyssey.”

“Mrs. Benson’s class was always a place for me to clear my mind and never go through any stress as she was a very understanding teacher who always put all students before herself,” Guneet Sondhi explained. Her students always felt cared for, and it showed by how kind she truly is to everyone. And through her methods of meditation and yoga, students could always be calm and focus on their work. Louis Rannazzisi said she was “always the best English and yoga teacher,” Her work as a teacher impacted so many people.

“Mrs. Benson has this amazing positivity that just lightens up the room. She’s always encouraging her students to have an open mindset,” shared Nina Su. Practically any person who has met Mrs. Benson can say the same thing. She radiates good vibes and affection towards everyone, no matter the circumstances. In a way, she is like a caring mother to all, and her bright “good morning” throughout the hallways will be missed at High School West.

Jilana Bayley says that “Mrs. Benson is a very kind, down-to-earth teacher. She is very much ‘well-being’ oriented and genuinely cares about her students. I loved how she introduced us to contemporary literature and some of my favorite books to date. I wish her all the best, and she’d really made her mark on High School West.”

Nobody can deny that Mrs. Benson is one of the most memorable teachers within the school. Even throughout the crazy year of COVID, she has managed to brighten up the moods of everyone, and you can pretty much feel her smile under her mask.

Mrs. Benson is always there for everyone. Jiana Casazza explained that she “loved meditating with her, and it always made the class so calm and was a good break from all the stress of the school day.” Thanks to her, many people have gotten to have this safe space and little breather to make the stress of high school even more bearable.

“Mrs. Benson was always a kind, supportive teacher whose goal was always to lift her students, whether it be through meditation, in-class yoga, or just being there to talk to,” said Samantha Goldbaum.

In her many years of teaching, from the Chesapeake public school system and eventually, to High School West, she felt at home in this school. With an open mind, she shares that “discussing human nature and literature is key to forming insights into our world. I am grateful to students who read and offer insights into class discussions. We can learn as much from each other as we do from a teacher.”

Empowering students is a key goal of hers and she does this by encouraging students to self-talk intentionally and positively. Her bright attitude is passed on to her students by teaching them that “our lives are shaped by our minds; we become what we think. When students learn this law of attraction, that our thoughts are magnets for our feelings, actions, and habits, they are empowered to make positive changes and do their best in school and life.”

With a difficult year, Mrs.Benson would like to thank all her students and colleagues who have helped her through the technological parts of teaching. She is also very grateful to have been a part of the High School West family after her random meeting on Fire Island that led her to get her position in the school. And even after all these years of teaching, she says that “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

Mrs.Benson is a kind soul who will be missed at our school, but we wish her the best luck and happiness in her retirement.