New English teacher Cournoyer excited to continue teaching and help students


Deepa Gautam

Cournoyer stands next to her classroom door, complete with the new coloring sheet, in room 253.

Deepa Gautam, Features Editor

As she tapes down the last corners of the poster, Alexis Cournoyer explains what the life-size coloring sheet is doing against her classroom door. A couple days earlier, some of her students had requested something to color to calm down. Soon after, she brought the poster as a way for them to stop by and color whenever they felt the need to de-stress.

This is just one of many ways in which Cournoyer, WA’s newest addition to the English Department, has proven her dedication to the success of her students, both academically and socially. Currently, she is teaching two freshman Honors classes and one juniors Honor class.

As a recent college graduate who majored in both English and Education, becoming a teacher was something Cournoyer hoped to achieve for most of her young adult life.

“I realized when I was in my high school classes, I absolutely loved everything that we were learning and I’ve always been told that I’d be a good teacher,” Cournoyer said. “Then, it dawned on me, my senior year, that this was something I could actually do, because you don’t usually think that being in high school forever is an option.”

Although her desire to become an English teacher solidified by the end of high school, she had briefly considered other areas of interests, such as becoming a veterinarian, given her love for working with animals.  

This passion stemmed from Cournoyer spending much of her school life balancing another, less common workplace: her grandparent’s dairy farm in Brookfield, MA.  

“I grew up right down the street from my grandparents’ farm and it was a lot of fun,” Cournoyer said. “I got to do farm work and went to cow shows, which were beauty pageants for cows, all the way until my senior year. It was super important to me and I loved having that experience growing up.”

According to Cournoyer, while taking over the farm was an option for the future, she ultimately decided to further explore her interests in English and working with students. She was specifically attracted to the subject after she discovered her love for reading and analyzing text in high school. 

The 2021-2022 school year was her first year officially teaching after college, at a different school in Massachusetts. Having recently joined WA, Cournoyer has found that the friendly and safe environment of the school is something she hopes to uphold within her own classroom. 

“There’s something about WA that’s just really special and everyone is very friendly,” Cournoyer said. “There’s also definitely more awareness here on students’ mental health, which I’m really happy about. I noticed that there’s a lot of care and grace when it comes to that.”

Recognizing that helping students succeed involves more than just an academic achievement, Cournoyer will continue to foster a more positive and encouraging classroom. Whether it be through something as simple as her door-wide coloring sheet or consistent mental-health check-ins, she encourages students to take a step back from high expectations and stressful schedules that often surround WA.

“[I want to remind students that] you are not a number [nor] a test score. You are a person, and you need to remember that at the end of the day, you have allow yourself that grace to not be perfect,” Cournoyer said,

Looking ahead, Cournoyer is eager to support her students in every way possible, whether that entails cheering them on at sports games and performances, becoming a club advisor, or simply offering them ways to de-stress.

“I would like to think that I can make a positive impact on student’s lives,” Cournoyer says, “As long as I can make your life for one year more enjoyable and just be that person you can always talk to, that’s all I could ask for.”