New chemistry teacher Casey Collins brings comfort and support to WA


Grace Hsu

Casey Collins smiles for a picture in her chemistry classroom.

Grace Hsu, Staff Writer

In a classroom, chemistry teacher Casey Collins stands with two students around a lab table. They pore over beakers and papers, invested in what she is teaching them. Whenever the students ask questions, Collins answers them patiently, going into elaborate detail to help them understand the topic. This is something Collins can be seen doing often.

Becoming a source of support for students is a goal most teachers hope to achieve, both inside and outside of academics. Collins joined WA this year in mid-September to replace Leslie Garrison, a chemistry teacher who resigned earlier this year. In just a few weeks at WA, Collins has already built a safe and comfortable learning environment for her students.

“Ms. Collins has made me finally understand chemistry,” sophomore Elizabeth Bellomy said. “She always makes class engaging and fun.”

Collins’s love for teaching has been a constant throughout her life. Though the subjects and grade levels she wanted to teach changed as she got older, Collins has wanted to become a teacher since she was in the first grade.

“Both of my parents are teachers and both of my siblings have been teachers at some point. Two of my grandparents were teachers, so it’s very much a family tradition at this point.” Collins said. “I’ve wanted to become a teacher pretty much my whole life.”

Collins has always been passionate about science. She originally went to school for biology and taught biology and anatomy classes at Marlborough High School and Grafton High School prior to WA. Because biology and chemistry have a lot of overlap, she decided to get her chemistry license, and now she can teach chemistry and biology.

According to Collins, her favorite part about being a teacher is the students.

“I enjoy working with my students and spending time around high schoolers who are still starting to figure themselves out and become more independent,” Collins said. “I like to see them grow from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. […] It’s amazing to see them go from freshmen and sophomores to when they’re ready to graduate and go out into the world.”

Collins expressed that teaching at WA after the school year started, was a bit of a mess at the beginning. She didn’t know her students and they didn’t know her. However, Collins has gotten to know them and reached a point where it became a normal classroom environment. She describes her students as awesome, extremely patient, and hard working.

“I have been doing my best to have good communication with my students where they feel comfortable coming up to ask me questions and we can just email back and forth if we need to as well to make sure everyone is on the same page and that we all understand what we’re doing,” Collins said.

Collins’s time at WA has gone smoothly due to the support and kindness shown by the teachers at the school.

“I spend a lot of time asking my colleagues for help. Sometimes they will just come up and tell me things I didn’t even know how to ask,” Collins said. “And sometimes I just pop my head next door and ask Mr. [Chris] Brown or Mr. [Jeffrey] Bucchianeri, ‘Hey, can you just quickly tell me this thing?’ and they’re always super accommodating.”

One of Collin’s biggest inspirations was her high school biology teacher Dr. Ryan, who was the one to inspire her to love biology, chemistry, and anatomy. She describes him somebody who took time to work with individual students when needed, and has since then done this herself. His enthusiasm for biology was contagious, and he eventually led Collins and many other classmates into science-related college majors and careers. Ryan was the driving force between her taking anatomy and physiology the next year, then majoring in the subjects in college.

“I would like all my students to succeed as every teacher does, and I want them to feel comfortable talking to me, to feel like I am a safe adult, and that I will always do my best to help,” Collins said.