The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Meet Your New English Teachers

Meet+Your+New+English+Teachers

Latest Additions to the English Department

Caroline Surratt, Caroline Miles and Riley Bucholz

T.C.’s English department added two new teachers for the 2018-2019 school year. Yolanda Soler has eight years of teaching experience, but this is her first year at T.C. She is teaching Honors English 10.

Soler majored in English with her undergrad in Creative Writing. She grew up in Mexico where here first language was Spanish, and moved to Texas early on in elementary school where she learned English. In Mexico she was able to skip two grades in elementary school, so she graduated highschool at age 16.

“Moving to South Korea was the coolest thing I have ever done.” Soler moved to Seoul, South Korea, fresh out of college. When she arrived in South Korea, she did not know anyone, which she viewed as a new adventure. In South Korea she worked in a program that taught South Korean students English.

She moved back to the U.S. from South Korea earlier this year. Soler has three children under the age of 5.

Soler says that she interviewed at T.C. and knew it was the right place for her, Soler says “I have really enjoyed my experience at TC because I love teaching high school students.”  Her advice to her students is that they must learn to become self-sufficient. She said “You need to remember that you are the driver of your own life.” She is a strong advocate of putting the phones down and reading or writing to get skills you will need later in life.

English teacher Benjamin Renne

Another addition to T.C.’s staff this year is English teacher Benjamin Renne. He has arrived to T.C. this year from teaching at George Mason University (GMU). Renne attended GMU  and majored in English and Philosophy and received his masters in creative writing. However, Renne did not always want to be an English teacher. At a young age he took poetry classes and fell in love with poetry. He said, “I’m a poet, pretty core to my identity.”

Throughout high school and most of college Renne was studying music and wanted to be a jazz musician. He was in band playing the clarinet in high school and continued his passion for music well into college. Renne discovered he wanted to focus more on writing when he took a creative writing class, discovering that he could take music and put it with writing, he said “it was eye opening for me to realize I could take music and sound and put it onto the page.”

If Renne were not here this year he would be teaching in Chantilly or teaching/ subbing at GMU. When he was asked how he is liking T.C. he responded by saying “ I love  the independence the teachers are given, the school as a whole, is a great place with good people and a good unified community.” Rennes favorite subjects to teach are poetry and film analysis.

In high school, Renne was quiet, and reserved. That is until his junior and senior years when he opened up and embraced what he wanted to do and what he wanted to become. This is why Renne loves to teach 16 and 17 year olds because he thinks it is the time when kids start to “appreciate aspects of yourself and own them.” When asked what he would like to tell his past self he said, “tell yourself not to worry about anything, let go of anxieties, and you’ll arrive in a more comfortable place.”

Renne told us that the best way to get on his good side is for students to simply take responsibility for their actions and show maturity. Renne wants students to know that, “it’s all about discovering new perspectives, and if you can uncover and be ok with them, [that’s] more important than any individual book.” Meaning, he wants kids to learn new things about themselves and know that there are different ways of life and that not everyone follows the same path. Renne is a strong advocate for reading he says “Read more! Everyone has time to read if you make time to read.”

English teacher Katherine Bently

Katherine Bentley is another addition to the TC English department. While this is her first year at TC she taught in Miami for the Teach for America program for two years.

In college she double majored in history and political science when she realized she would enjoy teaching english as opposed to history. Bentley says “I like English too much.” From Miami she moved to London to get her Masters. Once she had her masters she moved back to the states to Virginia to be in between family and friends.

Growing up, Bently went to an all girls Catholic high school. She either wanted to be a psychiatrist or a teacher. She was inspired to teach by her high school psychology teacher.  

Bentley grew up watching Remember the Titans, so she decided to check out TC and knew it was the right place for her.  So far, Bentley has enjoyed teaching at TC, she enjoys how TC has lots of diversity which reminds her of when she taught in Miami.

Bentley’s advice to her students is to “Read a lot, books that you like. Every word you read makes you smarter.”

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