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Westchester Educator Encourages Students To 'Find Their Passions'

New Rochelle High School AP Government teacher Debbie Minchin with some of her students in Washington D.C.
New Rochelle High School AP Government teacher Debbie Minchin with some of her students in Washington D.C. Photo Credit: Contributed

After more than two decades serving students at New Rochelle High School, longtime educator Debbie Minchin is showing no signs of slowing down.

Minchin, an AP United States Government teacher in the district continues to follow her passion for education as she continues her 25th year educating students both in and out of the classroom, encouraging them to follow her lead.

A longtime New Rochelle resident, Minchin said that she finds it’s important to stay involved in various aspects of students’ lives by becoming invested in multiple aspects at the school.

"I go to football and volleyball games," she said. "I'm co-advisor of the National Honor Society and two debating societies. I take my AP kids to Washington for four days every year. This community has a lot of value to me.”

One of the longest-tenured educators in the district, Minchin said that she has found that the best teachers are lifelong learners who never stop trying to educate themselves. She’s even gone so far as to sit in on some of her fellow AP teachers’ classes.

"I love to learn. That's why I became a teacher," she added. "I want my students to love to learn. I want to them to be excited about learning, whether it's about a book or invention or about a political event. Learning should be enjoyable. And, I try to model that. I am auditing one of my colleague's classes - AP Psych - during my prep period. I'm learning things I'll never teach, but it's just great. I'm enthused by it.”

According to her colleagues, “Minchin’s passion for her students extends beyond the classroom.” In addition to her work with AP Government students, she also is active in the Westchester Individual Senior Experience program, which allows students to essentially create their own after-school programs.

"Maybe one student wants to start a band and record music while another wants to be a vet or stockbroker," she explained. "I work with about 50 students on the development of their projects. This is a broad-based opportunity for students to take something they're interested in and figure out how to do it."

Having seen thousands of students over the years, Minchin said that she’s “interested in what they think and why they think as they do.”

“My real passion is helping them find and nurture their current passions and maybe find passions they didn't know they had,” she said. “This is my community. These are my children. These are my friends' children.  It was my dream job to work in New Rochelle."

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