POQUOSON, Va. (WAVY) — Long after the final school bell rings, you’ll find someone still roaming the halls. At Poquoson High School, it’s usually longtime teacher Paula Bennett.
Bennett wears plenty of hats for her job. One goes on for her art students, another for English classes and one more for her yearbooks students. When the pandemic hit, every one of those hats fit a little differently.
Bennett didn’t let it stop her, though. When the students went virtual, she got mobile.
When she realized her art students needed supplies, there was no second thought. Bennett loaded up her personal vehicle with materials and hit the road. After school, she follows a route including about twenty homes all throughout Poquoson for those who couldn’t pick up the materials.
Then senior portrait season in 2020 presented itself, and so did additional problems. Again, Bennett pivoted. She tossed camera gear in the back of her vehicle, right next to the art supplies, and hit the road.
The outcome? “Porch Portraits.”
It’s a program she’s excited to use again this year for online seniors to still hold a sense of normalcy in their final months as PHS students.
At the end of the year, those photos will fit into pages of a yearbook, put together by Bennett and some of her students. After a year like 2020, she says it’s a book that looks and feels more like a history book.
“It wasn’t just about school this year, it’s really about what’s going on in society,” she explains. “This year is a really important story to tell.”
From planning a virtual homecoming to Porch Portraits, Bennett has gone out of her way time and time again to adjust traditions for the sake of students.
For that, she is an Excellent Educator.