by Julia Oran
“I really loved school––the academics, the sports and the traditions that made each school unique.
“I felt proud when I wore my school uniform. I had some wonderful teachers who inspired me. I just always wanted to teach,” said math teacher Cheryll Lane, who retired in December.
Lane began teaching at this school in 1999, after moving to Boston from South Africa.
She was born and raised in South Africa, and she attended Girls High School in Queenstown, graduating in 1974.
Lane graduated from Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 1978 with a Higher Diploma in Education, the equivalent of a B.A., in zoology and mathematics.
Straight out of college, Lane began teaching at the Collegiate High School for Girls in Port Elizabeth.
Soon after, she married and had two children, Alan and Julie.
From 1988 to 1990, Lane and her family lived in London, England for her husband’s job. Lane took a break from teaching, but resumed after moving back to South Africa.
Once again, Lane and her family moved for her husband’s job, but this time to Boston.
Former math department head Mary Sapienza hired Lane.
Lane said, “When we had our department meeting on my first day at this school, it struck me that there were as many teachers in the math department alone as there were faculty members in the entire school where I taught in South Africa.
“The size of the school made me feel very nervous. The first year was a steep learning curve for me in many different ways.”
Since 1999, Lane has taught math to all four grades in all curriculum levels.
However, she said, “I really enjoyed my advanced placement math classes because the students and I were all doing what we loved.”
After reflecting on the changes in students through the years, Lane remarked that “the biggest difference between my generation and this one is what modern technology has to offer and how it affects students on a daily basis. It comes with both benefits and challenges.”
Math teacher Elisse Ghitelman shared a classroom with Lane for the last five years, and they had neighboring cubicles in the old building.
Ghitelman said of Lane, “She was patient and dedicated to helping students. After school, there were always lots of kids, but she took the time to sit down and help each one individually.”
Ghitelman added, “She really thought about how each student could learn and made sure that there was a system in place, so everyone could succeed and worked hard to make sure each person learned.”
Similarly, assistant superintendent for secondary and special programs Cindy Bergan, former math department head, said, “Lane’s knowledge of mathematics is very broad and deep.
“She loves math and takes great pride in her ability to teach her subject to her students.”
Lane said, of her teaching philosophy, “All parties need to be willing to make a sustained effort, be held accountable, earn and show respect. These are the things I have always aspired to in my career.”
Bergan mentioned, “Lane was one of the most organized and thorough teachers I have ever known. Even her handwriting was beautiful to look at. Her materials were perfect.”
Math teacher Smitha Sahadevan said she, too, misses Lane very much because “she was my mentor for 10 years.”
Lane was hired two years before Sahadevan, so Lane showed her how to teach effectively.
Sahadevan said that because both teachers emigrated from another country, Lane was able to relate to her and give constructive advice.
Sahadevan said, Lane “puts everyone else’s needs above her own.
“I could go to her about a problem any time of day, and she was always willing to help. She was so responsive and able to help me problem solve.”
She added, “Lane is just an awesome person.”
Lane said, “I will miss the camaraderie, kindness and support of my colleagues. I will miss hearing the friendly ‘Hi Mrs. Lane’ greetings from students every day.”
However, Lane said in her retirement, “I plan to enjoy having more time for my hobbies.
“I am going to enjoy having more time to spend with my family and friends. I am going to make an effort to keep fit and be healthy.”
Lane mentioned, “I love gardening and reading,” and said she has already recently completed a professional florist training course.
She also said, “My husband and I love walking and nature and visiting new places. My children are my greatest joy.”
Overall, Lane said she wanted to leave this school with “simply the feeling that I have tried my best.”
She added, “Many students have thanked me for my patience and understanding when they have been facing life’s challenges or just simply trying to understand the math. That’s something I would be happy to be remembered for.”