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Teacher of the Century: Cheryl Waldman

by Brisa Muscaglione and Andrew Ochoa

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Palo Verde High School is notorious for its top-of-the-line teachers, but one in particular that has made her mark at this school is a biology teacher, Cheryl Waldman.
From a young age, Waldman always knew she had an interest in science, she just did not know quite where she belonged in that huge spectrum. At 18, Waldman went to college not knowing what path she should take in life. Because of this, after only one semester of college, Waldman decided to take a break from school and experience other parts of life in hopes to ignite a fire within her.
“I was very curious about the rest of the world, and had saved up a lot of money babysitting, so I used that money to travel for ten months in Europe and North Africa,” recounts Waldman.
That ten month hiatus led Waldman to a degree in biochemistry, opening up seemingly infinite opportunities, like being a part of the development of the first over the counter pregnancy test. After ten years of research, Waldman ventured into yet another world: teaching.
“I’ve got several degrees, but teaching is what I belong doing. I wake up every morning loving what I do… There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”
Waldman is fervent about everything regarding her job. The subject, the students and the PV community are just some of the things that allow her to be the optimistic, fun-loving teacher everyone admires her for.
Waldman’s love for teaching didn’t just happen overnight. When she was a young girl, Waldman would set up her dolls as if they were in a classroom and she was the teacher. A good portion of her adolescence and early adulthood was spent searching for something, and that thing happened to mirror the imagination of her younger self.
For many students, school can be a drag, especially when they see that teachers just work because it is their job, not because they genuinely like what they’re doing. With Waldman, it’s the complete opposite. Walking into her class, anyone would be able to tell how much effort she puts into everything in her realm. With posters all over the walls, nic nacs wherever you turn and an alien blowup doll lurking above, it’s obvious Waldman likes to have fun in her classroom.
Being that Waldman has been at Palo since the school opened, she carries an almost breezy, calm aura while teaching a sometimes difficult subject. She’s passionate, enthusiastic, helpful, empathetic… all amazing qualities that leave students with a different perspective about biology by the end of the school year.
“If you’re a passionate teacher, that passion will translate to the students, making them more interested in the subject. The more kids we can get excited about science, the better,” she explained.

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Teacher of the Century: Cheryl Waldman