Winter Welcomes: Two staff members join in the new year

Lena Palmieri, Staff Writer

At the start of the second semester, two teachers joined the Southwest community as long-term substitutes. Cathie Juarez filled the open Family and Consumer Science position and Corinne Simmons took on the role of teaching sophomore English Language Arts.

Juarez said she is married with two children and went to college at the University of Central Missouri.

“I have two boys, they are 21 and 24; they went to Blue Springs High School, we have two dogs, Marley and Muffin, and we have three chickens,” Juarez said. 

Juarez has taught FACS for seven years, but she originally started pursuing her degree in child development. 

“When I started my college degree, I thought I was going to own a daycare,” Juarez said.

Juarez said she likes to spend her time taking walks with her husband and partaking in water-related activities.

“I enjoy taking care of my pool, swimming and doing water aerobics,” Juarez said.

Juarez said she loves talking to the students in her classes and tries to make the school day entertaining for everybody.

“I love the students; they’re fun to be around,” Juarez said. “I try to make them laugh; I try to make the day enjoyable.”

Juarez said she loves to watch her students learn and grow as chefs in the kitchen. Her goal is to form positive relationships with the students and staff at Southwest and she said she is excited to see what the remainder of the semester will bring. 

“It’s great to see them, where they started and where they end, and see the progress of learning throughout the year,” Juarez said. “I feel extremely blessed to be here. It’s a great school.”

Simmons is no stranger to the school. She is a former student and graduated in 2015.

“I actually grew up in this area,” Simmons said. “It’s kind of fun to be back in a different role.”

Simmons said she started working in human resources but then decided to switch paths and work on her education degree. She wanted to teach ELA because she always loved the class in high school and wanted to prepare her students with the skills they needed for the real world.

“I have always loved words and playing around with them and writing and I am really passionate about showing others how to navigate that world,” Simmons said. “I honestly think it is the most important skill, being able to read and write, to have out in the real world, it’s relevant to every job, so I really want to make sure people feel prepared when they leave high school.”

She said her favorite part about her job is assisting students in understanding certain concepts and hearing their feedback, so they will be able to have an easier time learning.

“I feel really passionate about helping students navigate it because I think high school can be tumultuous I guess,” Simmons said.

Simmons is thankful to be back at Southwest and she is looking forward to what may come her way this semester. 

“There is that core feeling of community that I think has not really left and I really enjoy being a part of that again,” Simmons said.