New Spanish teacher Michelle Tapia is excited to experience the school spirit at SCHS


Courtesy of Michelle Tapia

New SCHS Spanish teacher Michelle Tapia loves to travel and has a list of places she hopes to visit.

Michelle Tapia, the newest teacher in the World Languages department, is eager to join in on SCHS rallies and spirit weeks even as the COVID-19 lockdown continues to interrupt the Bruin community.

According to Tapia, working at SCHS is an opportunity to encourage students to participate in school events. After holding back on participating during her high school years, she recognizes how important it is to make the most of high school.

“Even if you didn’t like high school, it’s a point in time that once you get older, you wish you went back to so you could redo things that you didn’t do,” Tapia said. “For my example, it would be to participate more in rallies and be more spirited.”

This year Tapia is teaching Spanish at both SCHS and Buchser Middle School. However, she was not always sure she wanted to teach. Rather, she was interested in studying business so she would have the opportunity to work internationally.

Tapia attended San Jose State University and Santa Clara University. Her first teaching job was working at a Chinese-immersion preschool. Later she was interning for a small startup company when she experienced a revelation.

“Working with adults isn’t as fun as working with kids,” Tapia said. “So that’s when I started re-thinking.”

Chinese, however, was not the language she studied in school. Tapia’s mother encouraged her to take Spanish in order to better communicate with her relatives when she visited them in Mexico.

In pre-coronavirus times, Tapia was an avid traveler. Some of her favorite regions to visit include Spain, where she lived and studied abroad, and Italy, which she has been to three times.

Tapia also has a list of places she would like to visit. Along with China and Taiwan, she dreams of visiting Peru.

“I really want to go to Peru, go to Machu Picchu,” Tapia said. “I know you can get to the top in a car, but I want to do the hiking trail.”

With all her activities, Tapia relies on caffeine to keep her spirited throughout the day. She said that whenever her energy levels were low in past school years, her students would often attribute it to lack of coffee.

“In the mornings, I would go to Phils and I would get my coffee, so I’d have that first period,” Tapia said. “Then during my break, I would go to Starbucks for my second cup of coffee, and then I would also go during lunch for my third cup.”

Tapia encourages her students to participate in school activities and is looking forward to meeting them in person.

“For those of us who maybe don’t participate because they think it’s silly or whatnot, these are the best moments of your life.” Tapia said. “You’re going to remember high school forever.”