In 1989, a new faculty member joined the ranks at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. She left her beloved Costa Rica and began a new position educating the youth of NH’s Seacoast. As a native Spanish speaker, she was poised and professional and embarked on what would become a 32 year career opening STA students’ minds and hearts to the beauty of this Romance language. Now we find ourselves saying Adios to this wonderfully devout Catholic woman and teacher: Miriam Hanlon.
Throughout her years at St. Thomas Aquinas, Sra. Hanlon has been a polished fixture in the classroom. She is a consummate professional whose impeccable fashion sense has her admired by every other female staff member. Her desire to help her students exact their pronunciation, perfect their “apical-alveolar trill” (the rolled R), correctly conjugate infinitives (-ar, -er, -ir!), and truly understand the subjunctive tense in order to fully express themselves is commendable. Sra. has led many students to success in her classroom but also has inspired them to pursue adventures and careers using their Spanish proficiency. To ignite a passion within someone else is one of the greatest gifts one can give another and Sra. has done this time and time again for her students.
When asked to reflect about her time at St. Thomas Aquinas, Sra. offered that she has most enjoyed the high quality of faculty and students at STA. “My favorite memory is seeing my students talking Spanish and watching them improve in the language as they move up to the next level.” Sra. has made very close friends among other faculty at STA and she will miss them, the social gatherings (especially the annual Christmas party), and the field trips to Canada, New York, and Boston.
If she could tell her younger self one thing, it would be to “worry less, enjoy more, and control the stress.” Similarly, when invited to convey a final message to the STA students of tomorrow, she advises, ”Take advantage of the excellent education imparted by St. Thomas Aquinas and complain less.”
Sra. has not only been a mainstay in the World Language Department but she has shared her devotion to the Catholic faith with our community in many ways. She can often be found sitting in the Chapel during Eucharistic Adoration, serving as an Extraordinary Minister at school masses, and praying the rosary after school on Wednesdays.
We will greatly miss this lovely lady who has helped shape so many of our students over the past three decades. She has served as a role model of faithfulness, self-possession, and kindness to all of us.
It is not hard to hear God’s whisper as she sashays into retirement, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Adios, Sra. Vaya con Dios.