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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Trehan unplugs, retiring after 28 impactful years at WA

Kate Kelly
Trehan smiles for a photo, surrounded by the computers in her classroom.

A melody of keyboard and mouse clicks overlaps with laughter and conversation. Screens that line the wall blink with codes and colors, illuminating the faces of students. In the center of the vibrant technology sits computer science teacher Anjli Trehan — the face of technology at WA for nearly three decades.

After 28 years of teaching at WA, Trehan has made the decision to retire at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. In light of her resignation, Trehan feels nothing but joy for the countless communities she has been a member of within WA. 

Despite her constant devotion to the school and computer science, Trehan initially began on an alternate, unrelated career path to teaching. Until her early twenties she lived in India, where she had originally studied and received her bachelor’s in History Honors from the University of Delhi. It was through this program that she expressed an interest in culture and travel that she still carries with her today, having been to over twenty countries. 

“The more countries that you’re exposed to, you widen your horizons. And I think it […] just opens your eyes, and that’s why I always encourage everybody to travel, whenever you have a chance,” Trehan said. 

However, when she married her husband and moved to the U.S. she soon realized that the degree would not serve her well. Inspired by her husband’s career in engineering, Trehan decided to learn more about the realm of technology. This interest quickly expanded as she received her master’s in computer science, beginning with undergraduate level courses at Boston University until she was accepted to her master’s program at Rivier College.

Once equipped with the educational background, Trehan was inspired to teach young students these skills, but on a more comprehensive level. This is when she first began composing her own computer science programs and independently teaching them to after-school groups in three surrounding towns. 

“I got a master’s in computer science and […] I had a lot of very lucky breaks,” Trehan said. “I worked really hard at that time because I wanted to do something that would make an impact on kids. I was always very attracted to doing something with students, with kids, rather than in industry. So that’s what attracted me to teaching.”

Then, by chance in the summer of 1996, WA principal Dr. Joseph Lisi happened to cross paths with Trehan in the midst of a two week course she was teaching through Rodenbush. Having just lost the school’s previous computer lab technician, Lisi reached out with the job offer. Agreeing to the new opportunity, Trehan was hired and quickly became a full-time teacher at the school. In the same year, she was also a part of the first batch of STEM teachers in Massachusetts to receive a Professional License in accordance to new mandates from the Department of Education.

At the time of her hiring, she stood as the face of the computer science department, a subject that was considerably new to students and continued to rapidly evolve. As such, Trehan would eventually create nine different courses for WA, independently establishing the curriculum and developing materials for each. Though some have grown outdated, a handful including Video Game Programming and Java Honors, are still taught today. 

“[Computer science] is a field of study I feel very passionately about because I feel that […] it’s going to serve you well in life,” Trehan said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in AI these days, and security, and a lot of areas that are very promising for the future. So I feel that students, if they’re interested in this, have a good career path ahead of them.” 

Still, this feat is one of many ways Trehan imbued herself with the enrichment of communities at WA. Presently she stands as the advisor of both the SMASH club and the Programming Club. However, at some point in the past 28 years, she has been a leading member of the SADD Club, NHS Faculty Council, Scheduling Committee, and a chairperson of the previous Computer and Business Department. All of these are just a few of the many ways Trehan expresses her passion to interact with new people at the school and in life. 

“I think it’s part of your responsibility as a teacher that you should be able to get involved with a wide spectrum of not just your classroom, which you’re responsible for. But you’re also part of a broader community,” Trehan said. “You’re part of the school. The children belong to the town. So you’re part of the town so-to-speak, even though you may not live in that town. […] I enjoy doing it, nobody asked me to do it. This is what I wanted to do, and I got involved.”

With a well-spent career in mind, Trehan has made the bittersweet decision to retire this coming year, in hopes of seeing her newborn granddaughter on the west coast, and in part because she wishes to travel with her husband outside of school vacation. All the while, she keeps the students she has met in the back of her mind, carrying the lessons of teaching wherever she chooses to go.

“I think [there are] thousands of students I’ve taught over the years, and some of them still are in touch with me […],” Trehan said. “So it’s kind of interesting to see that I have kind of shaped the future of so many of my students. You know, [teaching] is very rewarding as a career. I feel working with kids is probably one of the most rewarding careers you can have.”

As she nears the end of her full-time teaching career, Trehan is nothing but grateful for the interactions she had along the way. And though she will no longer spend her days in a classroom, she aims to continue expanding her horizons, encouraging students to do the same. 

“Each student is different. Find out what is the most challenging [for you], because I feel that we should all be lifelong learners. I set by example here — I’m going to start Spanish now, you know at this age, because I feel it’s important to keep learning […],” Trehan said. “I feel that it enables you to be a lifelong learner; if you try and push yourself, challenge yourself, and take the most challenging courses that you would be able to achieve success in.”

Though she is officially retiring, Trehan aspires to maintain her connection with the WA community, possibly as a substitute teacher, in the future while also keeping contact with other WA retirees.  

“I’m sad about leaving WA and all the wonderful students, and I will miss the student interactions a lot. But [retirement] is going to open up new opportunities. It’s a new chapter in my life that will be opening up, which I’m looking forward to […],” Trehan said. “I’ve worked with some amazing people; staff, as well as faculty, as well as students. And I am sad to see [WA] go. I had mixed emotions, that is really true. It’s bittersweet emotions.”

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About the Contributor
Kate Kelly
Kate Kelly, Features Editor
Hi, my name is Kate Kelly and I’m a sophomore writing as a Features editor for the Ghostwriter. This is my second consecutive year on the staff and I'm excited for more to come! I also enjoy listening to music, playing soccer, and biking.

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    Kedar GuptaMay 23, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Dear Anjli

    What an impactful career you had. We are so proud of you. We wish you all the best moving forward.

    Renu and Kedar