Growing up, you can’t wait to be an adult, but life plans are constantly changing and you have to roll with the punches. However, sometimes these changes lead to new and exciting life paths that you may not have expected.
In fact, Bellwood-Antis chemistry teacher Ms. Carrie Clippard recalls her dad saying “constant change is here to stay.”
Her life is now bearing out that advice after she opted to move on to a new school, new town, and new state.
As of right now, she doesn’t exactly know where she will be teaching, but she does know that she will be working in Maryland with the Howard County Public School System in either one of their 20 middle schools or 12 high schools. At Bellwood, Ms. Clippard teaches chemistry, but there is a possibility that at this new school she could teach either chemistry or physical science.
“I’m selfishly hoping for chemistry because I know my experience is strongest in my content area, especially having taught a college-in-high school dual enrollment course. At the end of the day, I’m excited no matter what!” Ms. Clippard explained.
Moving to a new state can be scary, but Ms. Clippard is very excited to start this new journey for numerous reasons. One of the reasons is because she will be with her significant other, to whom she is engaged, after so much time apart due to distance and the travel restrictions from COVID-19. She is also excited to work in larger schools again because that is the setting that she originally saw herself in when she first became a teacher.
The opportunity to live in a metropolitan area was enticing to Ms. Clippard, who wanted to take her skills somewhere where she could sharpen them amongst other chemistry teachers.
“It will also be fun to have new students who have no idea who I am yet, and to not worry about confusing siblings’ names anymore, at least for awhile!” Ms. Clippard jokes.
On this journey, Ms. Clippard expects there to be and is looking forward to many unplanned opportunities and challenges, but she is ready to take them on. From learning the culture at her new school, to re-acclimating to city life and her personal life, too, this is a switch that is coming at the right time for her.
Ms. Clippard has kept in touch with people from her alma maters, Penn State, Ohio State, and Altoona Area High School, who have reached out to show to her and said they would show her around in her new town.
Professionally, Ms. Clippard hopes her opportunity to collaborate with other chemistry teachers can lead her to become more involved with chemistry on a national level, which is one of her goals.
An avid biker, Mrs. Clippard is looking forward to getting into the cycling scene in Maryland and learning the roads. However, most of all, Ms. Clippard is excited to be able to spend time with her fiancé.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to come home at the end of every single workday to see the person I love. I mean, we have pretty good chemistry,” Ms. Clippard added.
Ms. Clippard has taught at Bellwood for six years and after that long, one can imagine that leaving and going somewhere completely new would call for some reminiscing. Out of everything there is to miss about Bellwood, Ms. Clippard said she will miss her colleagues the most.
“Mrs. Frank for the best hugs ever and letting me hang out with the Frank family on occasion, Mrs. Stinson for being the best Renaissance co-advisor ever and always being willing to try new things at school, Ms. Flarend/Ms.Shimel/Mr.Goodman for making me feel welcome in the science department from day one, Ms. Nyman for sharing the hallway heater with me when it’s cold out,… and I mean, in general, pretty much everyone I work with is awesome,” she explained.
Ms. Clippard also recalls why she has enjoyed teaching at Bellwood. This was ther first teaching job, and her time here has really made a positive impact on her ideals of teaching and reinforced why she chose this profession as a whole. Teaching at Bellwood has been very fulfilling, she said.
“I’ve developed greatly as an educator by getting the chance to become an instructional coach, and tackled some tasks I wouldn’t have even guessed that I enjoyed doing beforehand! I’ve gotten to help students’ biggest and craziest ideas happen by being a Renaissance club advisor, and had so much fun supporting students in all sorts of extracurriculars. It’s been a wonderful place to start my teaching career,” she says.
Since starting at Bellwood, Ms. Clippard has gotten involved with many different activities such as being a renaissance co-advisor, chaperoning dances, going to graduation, and attending sporting and extracurriculars. She said she loved supporting students and seeing them shine outside of school. Events such as these also gave her the opportunity to meet community members.
“This small town really welcomed me in!” Ms. Clippard recalls.
Ms. Clippard’s time at Bellwood was very memorable, not only for herself, but also for all of her students.
“Ms. Clippy has always been a teacher I knew I could talk to about anything. She made her room into a safe space for all students and always made it evident that she cared about each of her students personally. For me specifically, she was a comforting figure when I was struggling to come out to my parents. She’s made a long lasting impact on me and she’s definitely made me an even longer impact on Bellwood. I’ll miss chatting with her everyday,” said senior Hunter Gregg.
Ms. Clippard impacted her colleagues, as well.
“Ms. Clippard is special because not only does she know her content inside and out, but she has an enthusiasm for kids, for teaching, and just for being here,” said Mr. Naylor. “Lots of people have one of those traits, but when you combine them all in one person, that’s a special teacher. It will be hard to replace her, but I think districts like ours often realize you’re going to have those teachers who want to move on to bigger and better things, and you just hope to get as much out of them as you can while they’re here and appreciate it.”
What has teaching at Bellwood taught Ms. Clippard you may ask. “It’s hard to say goodbye,” she simply replied.
Thank you Ms. Clippard for your unwavering dedication to Bellwood these past six years and good luck on your future endeavors.