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Great Starts: Sara Allaire ’21
Sara Allaire portrait in the Shakespeare Garden on campus

Great Starts: Sara Allaire ’21

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 95 percent of SNC's Class of 2022 alumni who responded to a survey said they were employed, in grad school or doing service work within nine months of graduating.

Graduation year: 2021
Degree: Elementary Education (Early Childhood) and English as a Second Language and Language Arts
Plans after graduation: Sara works as a first grade teacher at Jackson Elementary School in Elmhurst, Ill.

How did you decide to go into teaching?

I’ve wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little. I used to get home every day and play school in my basement until dinner, and then I’d go back down and play with all my little dolls and American Girl dolls and baby dolls … it’s always been in my blood to be a teacher. I’ve never really thought of any other major as fitting me at all. It’s always been teaching. I don’t have a “Plan B,” honestly, so I’m glad this worked out, because I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t teaching!

How did you know St. Norbert was the school for you?

Once I got here, I just knew that this was my second home. It’s the most welcoming community: faculty, staff, other students, people in your different social groups – sororities, fraternities, any type of other organization you’re involved in … everyone is here to support you. That’s the best thing I could ever tell an incoming student, because it really is like another family here, even though you may be hours away from home. It’s a great place to be, and I wouldn’t have changed anything about my college experience for the world. I’m so blessed to have gone to SNC.

It also wasn’t a very big shock that I went here, or have the major that I do, just because of my parents: they both went here, they’re both education majors, they’re both teachers, they got married here … so I’m following in their footsteps, basically!

What (or who) has changed since they went here – or maybe stayed the same?

There are so many connections, I can’t even believe it. A lot of SNC alumni – like my parents’ friends – have kids that go here, too, and I was able to meet a lot of people that way. Some of my closest friends have parents who went here, too. They like to reminisce on what it used to look like, how great St. Norbert is now, how different it is in so many ways … just bringing them back to their own college days is neat to see. My mom actually lived in the same room I did in Sensenbrenner Hall – Room 110 – 30 years before me, and it was just coincidental!

For the faculty, Debra Faase was here when my mom was here, and my dad had Tim Flood for geology; he’s still here, which is super cool. I emailed Dr. Flood a few months ago because my aunt and uncle were visiting, and they both went here, too. He remembered my uncle, and my dad as well. It’s incredible that more than 30 years later, people like that are still here to teach me.

Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?

Yes! I’m in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority and participated in the Aspiring Educators group. I also worked as a tour guide for admissions and in the Children’s Center on campus.

What comes next for you?

I started my job as a first-grade teacher, which is exciting. I’ve always wanted to teach kindergarten through second grade – one of those three – and I got right in the middle. I’m actually in the same district as my mom, who also teaches first grade. It’s wonderful, because the curriculum is the same and she’ll be able to help me out so much. I’m very thankful!

What were some of the highlights of your academic experience that prepared you to run a classroom of your own?

My student-teaching was first semester of my senior year. I started with kindergarten at Sunnyside Elementary School in the Pulaski School District, and for my second placement I was at Chappell Elementary School in fifth grade in the Green Bay Area School District. That taught me how to get set up for the beginning of the school year and get everything prepared. It was good to have that experience.

Susan Landt retired recently, but I believe my mom also had her for education classes. She’s an angel – just the sweetest! Honestly, her literature class in sophomore block was probably one of my favorites. We had such a good time … I didn’t even know that there was that much to learn about literature! Being able to take in all of her knowledge, experience and expertise was wonderful and helped a lot.

I also liked Developmental Reading and the Language Arts, where you basically learn how children read, and re-learn how we learn to read. It was definitely a huge shock to me, but also one of the most beneficial classes I took here, because first grade is a crucial year when you start reading. So having that class under my belt I think set me up for major success with the students I’m working with now.