Joliet West has new pre-calc teacher on the block

Kelly Rappaport, Copy editor

At the heart of West, Mrs. Wendy Venegas teaches precalculus in a small classroom in the B building. With two sons having graduated from here and a daughter still attending, Venegas wanted to give back to the community and the school that educated her own children.

As a lover of math from childhood, Venegas always knew she wanted to be a math teacher. She said “When I was a child… I would pretend to be the math teacher of my friends during summer break.” Venegas also recounted a time in sixth grade when she got 100% on a math pretest.

For 15 years, Venegas worked as a tutor at Sylvan Learning Center, but now that she has landed her “dream job”, her main focus is impacting her students in a positive way, no matter how small. “…Teaching to the masses in my own community is a dream come true for me,” she said. However, she does plan to eventually obtain her Master’s Degree.

“Teachers know that the academic skills we teach our students are so important, but that the life lessons learned are more important,” said Venegas. Fittingly, her advice to her students is not about academics, but rather life. She expressed a quote by an anonymous author that really struck true to her: “If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies; how different our ideals of beauty would be.”

Unfortunately, her wisdom, passion, and motivation is a result of tragedy. Her brother, who had always struggled with education, was hit by a drunk driver and put into a coma for seventeen years before passing away. She said he helped her develop empathy for the struggling student, but she also believes he would be proud of what she has done, and her students would most likely agree.

Mrs. Venegas has loved her experience at Joliet West so far, as well as the diversity and opportunities of the students here. She is a firm believer that West is a place to foster talent, skill, and intelligence, in addition to providing students the support to demonstrate their strengths. “…If West will have me,” she wrote, “I would love to stay!”