South says goodbye to three beloved teachers

by Alex Merkowitz, News Editor
Photo contributed by Carol Ober, Daniel Orazio and Hema Roychowdhury

Ms. Ober

After 30 years at South, media lab teacher Carol Ober is retiring. Ober taught various Media Lab classes, including Digital Imaging, 3D Computer Imaging and Web Design.

Ober said that she looks forward to doing art, taking classes and dancing in her retirement. 

She said that she is thankful to have had the opportunity to create a curriculum in a subject she’s passionate about.

“The Media Lab didn’t exist before, and I was given the resources and all of the responsibility to build it as I saw fit,” she said.  “That was the most amazing experience, and I’m not sure there are too many places where I would have gotten that opportunity.” 

Senior Michael DeFranco, who took several classes with Ober and was a teacher’s assistant for her, said that he will remember her as a supportive and helpful teacher.

“I’ll remember Ms. Ober as someone who always supported me, was always there to give tips for all my projects and [was] someone I could trust and go to with any questions I had,” he said.

 Ober said that she hopes to be remembered for the bonds she formed with students..

“I’d like to be remembered as somebody who built something with each student,” she said. “I built a creative experience with each student in a different way.” 

Mr. Orazio

Daniel Orazio, who taught all levels of Latin classes at South, will leave after this school year to attend a Classics graduate program in Rome.

Orazio said that he is excited to have the opportunity to live in Rome.

Junior Saylor Flannery, who took Latin with Orazio for all three years of high school, said that she will remember his in-class projects.

“He had a lot of fun projects for us,” she said. “One that we did was we all played a role in a traditional Roman wedding and funeral.”

Orazio said that he appreciates the guidance from his colleagues at South.

“I have every intention of returning to teaching at some point after graduate school, ” he said.  “I could not have had a better mentor teacher in Alice [Lankton, former South Latin teacher] and could not have had a kinder department chairwoman in Suzanne Murphy Ferguson.” 

Dr. Roychowdhury

Physics teacher Hema Roychowdhury is leaving South after 13  years. Roychowdury will move to Illinois, where her husband took a job at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Next year, Roychowdury will teach at Vernon Hills High School in a Chicago suburb .

Roychowdhury said that during her time at South, she learned to treat kids as more than just students.

“I found this really unexpected thing that happened when I became more willing to be with kids and not just be a physics teacher,” she said. “When kids walked into my classroom, they were more present, more willing and able to learn.”

Senior Danny Collins, who took AP Physics C: Mechanics with Roychowdury, said that she was a teacher who deeply cared about her students.

“I’ll remember Dr. R as a teacher who cared more about her students than the coursework,” Collins said.

Roychowdhury said that she wants to be remembered as someone who was able to connect with her students. 

“I hope [my students] know that they mattered a lot to me,” she said. “Not just then, but forever. I’ve had just one child that I’ve given birth to, but over 1,000 kids that I still call mine.”