Old Westbury, NY
— By Yuna Garcia, 11 and Matthew Dandic, 11
We interviewed one of our newest teachers at Holy Child Academy in Old Westbury, Kindergarten teacher Kaitlyn McGuinness. Ms. McGuinness joined our school in December and we are so lucky to have her here.
Even though she has only been here a short time, we see how much her students love her. We asked Ms. McGuinness about her background and why she decided to become a teacher. She told us that she went to East Meadow High School. After high school, she then went to SUNY Brockport for dance. She did that for a year, and then moved back home to pursue an opportunity to become an NFL cheerleader. Ms. McGuinness was a cheerleader for the NY Giants for a few years and really enjoyed it, but she did tell us that her favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. While cheering, she attended Hofstra University and got her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, and then got her Masters in Special Education.
We are so lucky to have Ms. McGuinness on our school staff. We wanted to know how she came to find Holy Child Academy. She said, “Ms. Motti, a second grade teacher [at HCA], takes my Orange Theory class, and her boyfriend is one of the managers of the studio and we connected. She knew that I was going for teaching and I had just graduated in December and she told me about the opening. I am so grateful to Ms. Motti, an outstanding teacher herself, for referring me to this wonderful place we call HCA.”
We asked her what is her favorite part about teaching. Ms. McGuinness said, “I have loved kids all my life. My dad said it the best: it is being able to shape young minds. It is something to see someone go from not reading to reading. Watching them read a book to you is the best feeling in the world.”
We wanted to know how she felt about being part of the Holy Child Academy family. She said, “I love it here! I came from public school. The community here is astronomical. You walk in and everybody is so nice to you and so welcoming.”
We wanted to know what was more challenging: cheering in front of thousands of people in a stadium or teaching a room filled with Kindergarten students. She laughed and said, “I am in charge when I am in the classroom. So it is two different experiences. The adrenaline running onto the football field -- you can’t even describe it. But, having my own students, I am in charge of them so I cannot mess up.”
Cheerleading and dancing are physically challenging. We wanted to know if she has ever fallen or gotten injured while cheering? She said, “Thank goodness, I have never gotten injured, but I have broken all my toes. That was more from my ballet days, my pointe days.” She added that two of her toes are still broken.
Besides teaching at Holy Child Academy, she makes time for her 1-year-old corgi, Lucy, and she recently rescued a 3-legged cat she named Ricky. Our school is a better place with Ms. McGuinness here.