The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

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‘who i am’
December 9, 2023

Meet the Newest Member of the English Department: Larissa Hebert

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Larissa Hebert in her classroom. (Photo/Larissa Hebert)

Larissa Hebert joined the Rice community this year as a new member of the English Department. Before joining Rice, she taught at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans for the past 16 years.

Hebert has a Bachelor of Arts in English and German from UVM, and she has a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College. She says her passion is American Literature.

She is also a board member of Sundog Poetry, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote poetry and support young Vermont poets. On October 18, she took a group of Rice Students to go to Share Your Heart, a poetry event hosted by Sundog.

When Hebert was at BFA she was the advisor of their school newspaper, The Mercury, as well as the Journalism teacher. The Mercury is the longest continuously running high school newspaper in Vermont.

We sat down with her and asked her some questions so students and parents could get to know her.

Were you nervous on your first day?

Yes. I had already been here for teacher in-service so I felt pretty comfortable in the space; the faculty and everyone was super welcoming and supportive. I think it was just not knowing any of the students. Because I had been a teacher in a school for the past 16 years, I would always know at least a handful that are in my classroom…but at the same time it was actually nice.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Maine as an only child. My mom was a middle school teacher for 35 years. My dad was a State Geologist. He has a PhD in rocks. So I always admired my dad’s commitment to what he loved to do and work ethic. And I learned how to just give it my all and do my very best in my career and to find something that I enjoy.

Why did you want to be a teacher?

I said I would never be a teacher because my mom was a teacher and her mom was a second-grade teacher, and then I just kind of fell into it out of grad school. I needed a job and my former professor of German at UVM [told me] his wife taught German at Milton High School, and they needed an eighth-grade exploratory language teacher. I had, like, intermediate knowledge of French and German, [from my] double major at UVM. So I just went in and taught eighth graders French, German, Spanish and Latin to give them a taste of each language they can take in high school. Then I also was hired to be full-time as a service-learning coordinator. Since then I just decided I would get my endorsement and be the English teacher for the high school through peer review. And I had a master’s in comparative literature from Dartmouth. So I had some experience there. Then it just became English for me, and I really enjoyed teaching writing.

Why did you choose Rice?

Well, I heard good things about it, because Wes Dunn who taught at BFA a couple of years ago, and I was his teacher-mentor; he stood by Rice. And a colleague of mine at BFA taught here many years ago, and I always heard good things. My husband and I live in Fairfield and our daughter goes to St. Francis. She’s in sixth grade so the plan is, even before I was hired, for her to come to Rice, so I thought why not get on board now and be here when she’s here. This is a really nice place to be.

What is the transition between public school and private-Catholic school like for a teacher?

At Rice, faith is woven into our day, both as a practice and in our curriculum. Additionally, there is a really strong focus on community service for each grade level. In fact, teachers are participating in community service during in-service as well by making care bags for the elderly at St. Joseph’s Residential Home. Also, Mass is provided for teachers during in-service.

What inspired your passion for journalism?

Gene Sink, the former adviser of The Mercury at BFA and journalism instructor, was a real inspiration for me as I saw how he built a community of journalists and gave a voice to our study body. He retired while I was at BFA. Eventually, the torch was passed on to me!

The BFA Mercury Logo. (Photo/BFA Mercury)

Why was The Mercury so important to you?

The Mercury is Vermont’s oldest student newspaper (since 1930). It was a tradition that I was blessed to be a part of. I enjoyed supporting students to create writing for an authentic audience beyond the immediate BFA community (alumni, sending schools, the towns in our area).

What was your favorite piece that The Mercury published under your guidance?

I have many–but I would have to say, “A BFA Tradition Graduates: Latin Walks the Stage after 93 Years.” A motto at BFA is that “Tradition Never Graduates,” which is where the title came from. More importantly, this article was a collaborative effort by two student journalists, Penelope Noza and Owen Scott, who took the time and effort to interview teachers, administration, former students, and present students, about the impact Latin made on their lives and why the decision was made to cut the program. It is a great example of journalists covering doing the work to compose an impartial informative piece. It was the cover article for our annual print edition.

On behalf of the Knight’s Banner, welcome to Rice Memorial High School, Larissa Hebert!

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About the Contributor
Logan Forcier, Staff Writer
Logan joined the Knight’s Banner in March 2023 and since then has grown her knowledge and love of journalism. Additionally, she is an active member of Rice’s chorus and participates in the music department’s various stage productions. When she is not writing articles or doing homework you can find her reading.
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