New math teacher reflects on changing schools

The bell rings. Students shuffle out of the class. Tina Nocella gathers her papers, books, laptop, and purse, making sure she doesn’t leave anything behind. Nudging a few stray chairs toward their closest tables, she makes her way toward the classroom door, and, with great caution, slips into the channel of bustling students hurrying to their next period classes.

This is Nocella’s first year teaching math at Stevenson and she admits that there are many things that will take some time to get used to, including getting around the 76-acre campus in the course of five minute passing periods and the whopping 4,135 students that manage to do it multiple times daily.
“It’s impressive that everything runs so efficiently and smoothly in a building this size with so many students.” said Nocella.

To Nocella and other newcomers, Stevenson’s enrollment rates may come as a shock, seeing that the number is twice as much as that of Niles North High School’s 1,986 students, where Nocella has worked for five years.

“With the size and resources we have here, Stevenson feels more like a community college rather than a high school.” said Nocella.

And she’s right. Not a lot of schools offer the same perks for their students as Stevenson does. From the cafeteria renovations to the pushed back starting schedules, everything, claims Nocella, seems like it has a purpose centered around student success: from giving students ownership over what classes they are taking, to following up and making sure they are enjoying what they are choosing to pursue.

“The administration and teachers do anything they can to help the student body continue to strive for success,” Nocella said.

And how do Stevenson students respond to these efforts?

From cramming in the QLC, to indulging a cup of coffee from Jazzman’s, student `appreciation is shown through thorough utilization of the facilities and resources. Everyone genuinely seems excited to be here, Nocella claims. “I’m glad that everything we do is not taken for granted and generally appreciated.” said Nocella.