Proportionate Priorities

January 31, 2023

Prior to the 2022-23 school year, Menna would balance teaching, grading, and planning for her history and yearbook classes, and SCA — often averaging just above 80 hours of work per week outside of school. Like many others, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and personal changes within the last year have reminded her what is most important — family and friends — shifting her priorities.

History teacher Joshua Dobbs works on completing miscellaneous SCA tasks during the SCA study hall while periodically checking to ensure that members are making progress on their work. (Nanaki Bawa)

Therefore, after eight years of leading the Phoenix and serving as the familiar face in SCA, Menna is ready to take a step down, with history teacher Joshua Dobbs eventually taking over her job.

Despite Menna leaving, her fondness for the organization is one that is driven by student involvement and participation, and is content when she sees students thrive and participate in SCA events. In fact, during hard times, staying busy with SCA planning and collaborating with the students was what made her days significantly better. 

Duellman also noticed in his time working with Menna, she has always put her students first. “Every action Ms. Menna takes is in the best interest of students and makes sure that their experiences in high school are the very best experiences,” Duellman said. “You can tell that in a very brief conversation with her that [doing things in students’ best interest] is her number one priority.”

Menna is almost certain that she will not serve the SCA in the same capacity as previous years, but she may observe the group from afar and assist with administrative tasks, like handling sales and financing.

You can tell that in a very brief conversation with her that [doing things in students’ best interest] is her number one priority.

— Principal John Duellman

The 2022-23 school year is the first time Menna has gone as far as to receive assistance from and train another teacher to take over her position. She began mentoring history teacher Joshua Dobbs in August 2022 on how to oversee the SCA, sharing skills including how to organize SCA paperwork and decorate for a city life-themed homecoming dance. Like many other teachers, Dobbs has noticed Menna’s intense dedication and focus in her work while working with her. “[She has always been great at handling] technology, staying organized with everything, and making sure that we have all of these checklists,” Dobbs said. “[I think I am going to] just take it one step at a time next year.”

Even with Dobbs assisting the SCA as a co-sponsor, Menna feels a certain added pressure to ensure that the SCA is able to continue serving students to the best of their ability in future years. 

SCA will be different without Menna, but her impact remains evident through her guidance over the student and faculty’s unmatched school spirit, the school’s award-winning yearbook, and her high-performing history students. 

Though she will remain a history and yearbook teacher and the history department chair, Menna feels that a part of her school persona is leaving her, but looks forward to a new chapter. From staying up in the early hours of the morning to verify homecoming payments on the school payment portal to preparing decorations for prom, Menna has made some of her fondest memories in SCA and never let her busy schedule limit her from taking on new responsibilities. “She has supported as many individuals as possible to give students a well-rounded experience [in high school],” Hacikyan said.

Despite her step down, students and staff alike will continue to benefit from and enjoy Menna’s unique character and attitude. “Ms. Menna’s wicked sense of humor is certainly one of my favorite qualities about her,” Webb said. “She has the ability to say a sarcastic comment at the most perfect moment that makes everyone in the room laugh.”

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