Health and physical education teacher Joel Aronchick plans to retire at the end of this year after 35 years of teaching—28 of them with MCPS and four with CHS.
He has chosen this year to retire because his daughter and stepdaughter are both graduating from college while his youngest stepdaughter is entering her first year. He wants to take this time to enjoy his own health and be grateful for the shape he is in.
“You don’t know how many years you’ll be on Earth,” Aronchick said. “Now, I am healthy enough to enjoy the lifestyle I want to.”
He and his wife are moving to a house near the beach in Florida.
“This is a great way to spend my life,” Aronchick said. “It is a beautiful community. I get to do what I want without being constrained by schoolwork.”
Aronchick has had his career planned out since he was a high school junior. In his high school yearbook, when asked what he planned to be when he grew up, he wrote “physical education teacher.”
Although he has enjoyed teaching physical education, he finds that his true passion lies in teaching health.
“I am passionate about nutrition and fitness,” Aronchick said. “I try to motivate the students to be healthier—to eat properly, to exercise. The habits that you establish now will carry with you. People sometimes get off on the wrong foot.”
He will be remembered for his humor and down-to-earth teaching style.
“He is one of the few teachers that you can joke with,” sophomore Panos Nicolaou said. “If you say something dumb, he’ll actually laugh. He’s a lot of fun. I wish I could visit him in Florida.”
Aronchick has truly enjoyed his time at CHS.
“I will miss some of the kids,” Aronchick said. “Churchill is the kids. When you have a great class, you enjoy it.”
Resource teacher Diane Benson has seen incredible amounts of change over her 18 years at CHS. She remembers the renovations and the restructuring of the Resource department as clearly as if they had happened yesterday. Now, after being an important part of the CHS community she has decided that it is time to move on.
Benson was a Spanish teacher her first six years here but decided to switch positions because her asthma made it difficult for her to work so tirelessly.
“I decided to stop teaching and become part of the Resource Deparment, which would mean I wouldn’t have to grade and it was a less stressful job,” Benson said.
However, the resource department has changed dramatically since twelve years ago. According to Benson, before, working in the department meant mostly clerical work—typing and answering the phone—it now is a more hands-on job. Benson found herself in charge of helping students with their accommodations and teaching actual classes again.
She has chosen to retire this year because of recent health issues and because she wants to spend more time with her husband. Nevertheless, she does not plan to stop working altogether. She is considering tutoring Spanish during the afternoons.
“I haven’t focused on the fact that I’m going to be retiring,” Benson said. “I’ve just been taking it day by day. Things always have a way of working out. I’m not going to be idle.”
According to Benson, the part she will miss the most about CHS is the student body.
“I have nothing but fond memories of this school,” Benson said.