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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Kareem Varlack

Upper School Counselor

Know Your Pelicans

Can you describe a favorite or memorable moment you've had in the classroom?

Working with Director of Health and Wellness Bridget Londay to lead Ninth Grade Health this fall, both in-person and over zoom, was very memorable. The effort it took to lead discussions with both the in-person and virtual groups deepened my appreciation for what teachers and students are experiencing every day during the pandemic.

Share a time when you've learned something from your students. 

As a counselor, I am constantly learning how unique each students perspective is, no matter how common the issue. The more understanding I have about each student's outlook, the better I can help them along a path to success. 

Name a book/artwork/piece of music that changed your life and explain how.

When I was younger I came across a poem in a book store called Desiderata. It's simplicity and balanced take on life resonated with me then, and it still does now. I was also influenced by the Run DMC song It's Like That. I still remember the day my older sister came home with the record. It was loud, powerful, and confident, and we played it everyday after school despite my parents' protests. 

Growing up, did you have a teacher who was particularly influential for you?

Mr. Rodriguez was the only faculty member of my school who agreed to be the moderator for an affinity club for Black students. He stayed late after school one day a week so we could meet. It caused resentment among some of his peers, but his sacrifice provided us with a safe space to meet, gave each other much-needed support, and establish friendships that have lasted to this day.

What is something most Packer people wouldn't guess about you?

When I was a kid, I wanted to play right field for the Mets and be a cast member on SNL in the off season!

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