A Personal Award
Twenty-five years ago, Janine Whipple was a new graduate of Westfield State with a degree in mathematics and doubts about her decision to go into actuarial work. That all changed when Associate Head of School Karin O’Neil hired her to teach at Williston, launching Janine on a career that continues today.
“I have so much love and respect for her,” says Janine of Karin, who died last April at age 76 (see story, opposite page). “She was a mentor in the true sense. She was such a leader, yet she would be the first person to be by your side whenever you needed her.” And so last year when Janine received The Karin H. O’Neil Instructorship, which had been created by Karin’s friends upon her retirement, the award had special meaning. “I was so honored to receive her instructorship,” she says, “because she was really there to lead the way for me.”
The funds from the instructorship will allow Janine to travel and then bring back that experience to the classroom, as she did after experiencing the London Eye, Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, on a trip a few years back. “To this day, we do a unit about the London Eye and the kids get to see a nice slideshow of my family and how it actually flies.” This year she plans to upgrade her classroom technology, purchasing new color TI84 calculators that allow her to better present visual graphing.
“I’ve been here for 25 years and that’s a long time to be in teaching and to try to keep things fresh and updated within the classroom,” she explains. “Math doesn’t change, particularly, but you have to have a lot of tools in your toolbox to present the same material in different ways to certain kids. Being able to bring in outside experiences—whether it’s travel or whether it’s technology—allows me to mix that up from year to year.”