By Beryl Rosenberg
Mrs. DiMaggio, beloved English teacher, has decided to retire after 31 and a half years of teaching at Oyster Bay High School. Students and staff will certainly miss her enthusiastic personality, her love of the written word, and her funny stories. Mrs. DiMaggio recently sat down to share more about her experience teaching here in Oyster Bay.
What classes have you taught at OBHS?
A wide range over the years - It all began with an RCT (Regents Competency Test) course, and then when I was hired full time, I taught: 9 Honors, 10 Regents and 10 Honors, 11 Regents and 11 Honors, AP Language and Composition, Creative Writing, College Essay, AIS classes, and even a Public Speaking course that was offered in the early 90s.
What was your favorite unit/assignment to teach in AP Lang?
My favorite assignment was the Lifeline Essay (Personal Narrative). I love teaching students the ways to approach this mode of discourse. Learning how to share your personal story is the first step to becoming a great writer.
What do you think is special about the town of Oyster Bay?
Oyster Bay is a rare gem amongst the cluster of pearls. Its small-town quaintness invites an unparalleled sense of community, as its luster radiates a glow of history, art, and beauty.
Do you have any post-retirement plans?
I would love to work as a college essay consultant, or possibly a substitute teacher at Oyster Bay. I will take time to exercise, cook, travel, and enjoy my family. We are headed to Key West, Block Island and Montauk for starters.
What did you love most about your time at OBHS?
I cherish the connections I have made, with both students and teachers. Some of my dearest friends started out as colleagues. Some of my former students are now my colleagues and good friends; it is a curious dynamic that just makes me smile.
Can you share some of your favorite memories of working at OBHS?
My favorite memories include Honor Society Induction ceremonies that I hosted as the advisor, especially the one when a jokester colleague planted crickets in the decorative stage plants that were borrowed from Dodds and Eder. It was quite a hoot when they started chirping. I recall the Senior prom in Soho, New York that I advised alongside my friend and colleague, Rosemary. As senior advisors, one would expect our attendance, but our limousine never picked us up - thank goodness for extra chaperones. Freshman class advisor, driving down Main Street with the prince and princess in my mustang convertible was a super fun time, or the football games with Mr. Imperiale, former Assistant Principal, and his hot dog stand - watching my cheerleaders support their team. Coaching my Varsity track athletes to the championships, back in the 90s, is another fond memory, as is watching the academic growth of all my scholars throughout the years. Professionally, I enjoyed presenting our school's Global Studies through Literature course (in the 90s) at the Albany Conference and being honored for the success of our College Essay program.
What impact do you hope to have on your students after you leave?
I hope that students will remember me for believing in them and their abilities to accomplish personal goals. I hope they recognize my commitment to them, for their successes mean the world to me.
What made you look forward to coming to work every day?
My students, my colleagues, my passion for teaching and learning. As an educator, I have recognized the power to make a difference, and in the words of Stephen King, "We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why." So, for me, each day had to be important because I never knew when I might be changing a life.