The teacher becomes the student: Mx. Gesin returns to the classroom

Programming teacher Laura Gesin will be attending Rider University
to obtain her doctoral degree.


Programming teacher Laura Gesin will be attending Rider University to obtain her doctoral degree.

CHS’s college flag tradition has been a staple of the school’s culture since its first graduating class in 2004. This practice is typically reserved for the school’s seniors, but programming teacher, Laura Gesin, recently earned two flags for her acceptances into graduate school programs at Rider University and Rowan University.

Gesin has decided to attend Rider University with a major in educational leadership and a concentration in technology for equity, inclusion and social justice. After completing her certificate at The New School last year in equity, inclusion and social justice in design, Gesin was ready to take her work there and expand upon it.

“I’m doing it to learn,” Gesin said. “And I know that sounds super corny but if I complete my doctorate and I continue in this job I will be happy. I feel that I’ve reached a plateau in my career so it’s either find something to grow as a teacher or it’s time to retire, and I’m definitely not ready to retire.”

Gesin’s love for learning and improving as a teacher has already been demonstrated with her master’s degree in counseling and guidance. Though she never became a guidance counselor, she feels her experience makes her a better teacher.

“I have no interest in leaving the classroom,” Gesin said.

Gesin aims to expand her knowledge of inclusivity in technology, but her inclusion in the tradition helped her embrace the feeling of unity among the school community, a key reason why the flags continue to be displayed year after year.

“When Clev took me over and I saw the flags it was like a show of support,” Gesin said. “It was like ‘this is exciting.’ It’s not just my dream, it’s that the people here support me with what I’m doing.”

Not only that, but Gesin can now better understand the emotions behind her students when they are undergoing the same experience in college applications.

“I think every teacher should experience what you guys go through in applying and writing the essays and even the flag experience,” Gesin said. “I didn’t realize how much stress and time and how much those flags mean until I went through it myself, which might be a limitation on my part—maybe other teachers might get that.”

The flags were brought to CHS by health and fitness teacher Ginny Clevenger after she saw the guidance counselors at Point Pleasant Borough High School, where her own daughter went to school, displaying the flags of their students. With Gesin being the first teacher at CHS to pursue higher education, Clevenger was happy to make new additions to the tradition.

“Mx. Gesin is a good buddy of mine and I jokingly said to her ‘I should make you a flag’ and she was very excited so I made her two flags,” Clevenger said. “She didn’t even notice it. I snuck it up there in between kids just to see if she would notice. I had to point it out to her. She didn’t know, she was very happy.”

Gesin appreciates how something as simple as a flag can mean so much to those who earn one, representing the huge accomplishments of the seniors, and now, herself.

“I like the fact they also put it wasn’t Mx. Gesin it was my regular name so it just blended in,” Gesin said. “I also understand now when I saw those two up there, that’s an accomplishment and I think that it’s nice that we see all of those flags and all the accomplishments that our seniors have made. It’s also something to aspire to.”

With CHS supporting her, Gesin is ready to tackle this new opportunity and is hopeful she will be successful alongside the seniors represented on the wall with her.