A Reflection from Mrs. Esshaki

"So what will I miss? People. Kids,teachers, friends, staff...people." - Sheila Esshaki

Mrs.+Esshaki+giving+a+speech+at+the+2020+Black+History+Month+Celebration

Lynn Lam

Mrs. Esshaki giving a speech at the 2020 Black History Month Celebration

Lynn Lam, Social Media Manager

   A sad event for many, the beloved Mrs. Esshaki will be leaving LCN to teach in Prague. She has been a teacher for 28 years and has been at LCN for 12 years. She teaches Honors, English as a Second Language, and general English 10, but she is also known as the sponsor of the Diversity Club, the Black Caucus village, and the teacher that started the African American Literature class. Before she leaves, she is reflecting on her time at this school.

   As the Diversity Club sponsor, she ran the Black History Month Celebrations and Culture Conventions. She says she started the Diversity Club because, “looking at the…absence of representation for our kids of color, I realized we need to fill that space with important vehicles for kids to have a voice. It was really obvious that they needed that outlet and so the Diversity Club was born. And from the Diversity Club came these separate ways to support different students that are on the margins of LCN.”

   This school year, she began the African American Literature class. About the class, she said, “Our curriculum needs more voices and multiple perspectives. And one voice that’s particularly missing is that of African Americans. It was clear we needed the class. It’s validating for our African American students, too, to have a class where characters and conflicts more closely connect with African American students.”

   She also recently won the Mell-Miller award for her work in racial justice at LCN. About the award, Mrs. Esshaki said, “The award is given to teachers who strive for racial equity in their schools…so being given that award was an honor. I will be the first to admit that as much as we’re doing especially compared to other places, we certainly don’t do enough.”

   Mrs. Esshaki has especially been reflecting on her career and impact on LCN during the week leading up to her departure. She remembers, “I didn’t want to be a teacher at first. I loved social work.” She continues to say, “I kind of slid into teaching by default. It’s sort of the marriage between social work and teaching literature.”

   Out of everything she’s experienced while teaching at LCN, she will miss the relationships with people the most. She says, “As much as I love literature, it’s in a vacuum without people. Relationships are built on love and mutual respect, and that’s what you build at a place like this after 12 years. So what will I miss? People. Kids, teachers, friends, staff…people.”

   Mrs. Esshaki left after the Black History Month Celebration, as it was the last event she wanted to run before she left, but there was something else she wanted to do. She says, “I’ve been thinking for the last couple of years that I would like to see a mural that’s done by a student of color to represent our school…some gift of art that the Diversity Club donates that represents our values of inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance. We never got it done, but I’m hoping that it is on the agenda for the next generation.” Mrs. Esshaki left for Prague on February 6th, 2020, but she left behind an enormous legacy that the students and staff at LCN will never forget.