WHS teacher retires after 33 years
English teacher Peggy Soletti is retiring after a 33 year career at Weed High School. Some might call it the end of an era.
“I want to retire while I still like what I do,” said Soletti, who arrived at the school in 1976, fresh out of Chico State.
Originally from Dorris, Soletti completed two years at COS, setting her sights on a career in education. “Originally my interest was in becoming a PE teacher,” admitted Soletti, but after carefully scrutiny of the pre-requisites required for that certification, she opted to pursue English instead. It was a choice she, in no way, regrets.
Since first coming to the school, Soletti has always taught sophomores and seniors, noting that she has especially enjoyed teaching creative writing, mythology and folklore.
When asked what her reputation as a teacher is, Soletti didn’t miss a beat. With a smile on her face, she responded, “My students think I’m strict.”
She added that she has always worked to make her expectations clear to her students and create a structured and well organized environment. With those things in place, she said, students will rise to the occasion. “I’ve never had discipline problems,” she said.
In reflecting on her many years at WHS, Soletti noted that she has so many fond memories, it is hard to pinpoint just a few.
“There are things that happen every day that are momentous, but you don’t always think about them at the time,” she said.
She added that it is often the small things that can really have a profound impact. “Just the other day, a student told me that I was the Michael Jordan of term papers,” she said. “That meant a lot to me.”
After more thought, she added that she has many fond recollections of coaching basketball for 16 years. “Coaching a sport is a different relationship with students,” said Soletti.
Over the course of her 33 year career, Soletti has seen a lot of changes at WHS, as well as in the field of education in general. “Back when I started, we didn’t have state standards or all of the testing that we do now,” she said, expressing her criticism of some of the current trends in public education.
“I think there are many things that are important that cannot be measured by standardized tests,” she elaborated, pointing to experiences such as the school’s Senior Project, which, she feels, fosters a wide variety of skills and aptitudes.
What does a retired English teacher do when every day is Saturday? Soletti noted her interests in reading, gardening and spending time with her family, things that she will now have plenty of time for.
“It’s probably not going to hit me until school begins in the fall that I am actually retired,” she said.
Talking to other teachers and administrators, it is clear that she is held in the highest regard.
“Peggy Soletti’s level of commitment to Weed High School makes us all do a better job,” said fellow teacher Kristen Carter, who added that she will be sorely missed.