When Rebecca Mulrooney began her career as an engineer, she had no idea it would lead her to teaching high school, but Mrs. Mulrooney says that she has never felt more purpose in what she does.
After 10 years in the automotive industry, Mrs. Mulrooney and her husband started a family, and she made the decision to stay at home with her children during their formative years. For Mrs. Mulrooney, the decision would enable her to discover her true talent for nurturing the minds of students. It was a friend and fellow teacher that pointed her gift out to her during a volunteer day at her children’s school.
“Once my youngest was in elementary school, I was volunteering quite heavily at the school,” said Mrs. Mulrooney. “I was helping tutor students in reading and math at the elementary level. My dear friend asked me one day if I had thought of doing this for a living, because she felt that I was very good with the students. The more I thought about it, I realized I did enjoy it and could see myself doing it as a career.”
From there, Mrs. Mulrooney sat down with her family, and they all agreed that she should pursue teaching. Mrs. Mulrooney began school to earn her master’s and teaching certificate, eventually leading her to teach science at Catholic Central in 2009.
“What I love most about teaching is that every single day is different. Even though the subject doesn’t change, every classroom has its own personality,” said Mrs. Mulrooney. “The young men ask such great questions, and we have so much fun. It’s amazing to watch the growth of these young men over the course of a year.”
Mrs. Mulrooney was able to take her love for the sciences and apply it in her teaching career. She now teaches all physics courses and the very popular intro to engineering course.
“In my intro engineering class, we touch upon all branches of engineering,” said Mrs. Mulrooney. “I have had a couple of students come back and tell me how much of what I teach in my class they learn in their first engineering courses at college, and that’s very valuable to me.”
Mrs. Mulrooney said the inclusion of the staff makes Catholic Central a great place to work. She and her colleagues met for many hours to help plan the George and Mary Turek Hall of Science, Catholic Central's new state-of-the-art STEM Center, discussing types of ice machines needed for experiments to the equipment needed for student lab work. The school broke ground on the project earlier this spring.
“Administration is involving everyone they can, and that is why I love it here,” said Mrs. Mulrooney. “We have all felt like we have had input and ownership in how this center is built. The STEM Center is so exciting for us because our classroom will be the lab. Instead of having to move the entire class for a demonstration, we will have everything we need at our fingertips to have real time explorations during lectures, making it so much easier. Learning will occur in such a more effective fashion, making it all more engaging.”
Though she has a front row seat to the development of the new STEM addition, Mrs. Mulrooney says the greatest success she experiences as an educator is when her students come back and she can see they are pursuing their passion, and more importantly, happy in life.
“When the students come back to visit me and they are absolutely, apparently happy – that is the most rewarding feeling,” said Mrs. Mulrooney. “I tell them, all I want is for them to be successful, and they can define what success means to them. No one else can tell them what that is. We can help them and be there, but it’s a combination of coaches, teachers, and the brotherhood that helps these gentlemen to find that fire and drive. When they come back and tell me they are happy, that is the best feeling in the world.”
Teacher Fast Facts
Favorite Movie: Casablanca
Favorite Food: Italian
What do you do in your spare time: When I’m not working or with my family, you can find me walking my dog (she is a black lab mix), exercising, or knitting.
Fun Fact: I play the flute for the Plymouth Community Band, so you may see me practicing.