Is the building big enough for both?

Wenatchee High School teachers and their children weigh in on what it’s like to share the same school

The Baumeisters

An average student would usually say goodbye to their parents in the morning before going to school and part their separate way, but this isn’t the case for Tom and Joy Baumeister.

“I wanted to be where my kids were at school,” Baumeister said. “My older daughter found it helpful having me at school because she didn’t like the crowded lunch room area.”

Joy can agree that having a parent teaching at the same school you attend comes with its advantages.

“When you’re feeling stressed you know you have a place where you can go to,” Joy said. “There is a quite place to get some alone time.”

Neither can recall a time when they felt embarrassed about one another at school.

“She will come up and hug me for Pete’s sake,” Baumeister said. “Of course, I haven’t caught her making out with her boyfriend. They aren’t around when that must happen.”

One issue the Baumeisters have faced is doing math homework since Baumeister uses his teacher’s voice at home.

“He [Baumeister] used to help me, but he doesn’t know the difference between the dad and teacher voice,” Joy said.

The Baumeisters shared the same classroom in Joy’s four years of high school.

“That wouldn’t been a good idea,” Baumeister said jokingly. “It is fine though when she [Joy] needs money, if she is having a bad day, if she gets in a car wreck in the parking lot … she can tell me; she has gotten into a wreck in the parking lot.”


The Elwyns

The mutual give-and-take relationship that Sophomore Kayli Elwyn and her father, history teacher James Elwyn share is one many can relate to. On the other hand, very little have dads who act not only as a parent, but a teacher and coach as well.

Kayli has never had the fortune of being taught by her dad at Wenatchee High School. But having a parent who also happens to be part of WHS staff has created some unique opportunities for both daughter and father.

Elwyn doubles as coach for the girls swimming team, where one of his athletes just happens to be Kayli. He explained, “We already have the parent-child dynamic, and then when you throw the coach-athlete thing on top of it, sometimes that works out well and sometimes it doesn’t.” Elwyn also pointed out that he is very mindful to not give his daughter any kind of special treatment compared to the others he coaches.

He went on to say that it can be advantageous to be Kayli’s coach as well as dad, but they do occasionally “Push each other’s buttons a little bit.”

As far as the teacher aspect of it all, Kayli explained with a laugh that one benefit is, “Because he knows all the teachers, it’s easier to get brownie points.”

But on the flip side, she said that her dad also has access to more exclusive details about her from teachers that most parents don’t.

Overall, both Elwyns expressed that the trifecta bond of parent, teacher and coach is overall a positive experience that few have the privilege of.

The Kovachs

Band teacher Jim Kovach and senior Madison Kovach’s relationship has improved through the time they get to spend together at school.

“When she’s at home she doesn’t want to hang with us, so it’s nice having her around when it’s a different dynamic,” Jim said.

Madison and Jim enjoy having each other around even though Madison being in two of her dad’s classes presents some problems.

One issue arose when Madison was chosen as drum major. “I have to be really careful so people don’t think she got that position because she’s my daughter,” Jim said.

“Sometimes I feel like people think I get favorited in that class, but when we get picked for drum major, he’s not in the room. He’s not there to evaluate us or anything,” said Madison, “He goes off of what the other people in the room tell him and background knowledge about how we treat other people.”

Madison also has to deal with hearing other students talk about her dad. “They see him as a teacher and I get how sometimes teachers can frustrate you, but I don’t think they think about how that affects someone when you’re talking about their parent,” she said, “I just let it go; people are going to talk. I can’t really change that.”

Despite this challenge Madison is glad her dad teachers at her school. “I like having him as a teacher, I like his teaching style and I feel like I actually learn a lot from him,” she said, “I’m not embarrassed because he has a lot of respect and he’s a good teacher, there’s nothing really to be embarrassed of.”

“I think it’s given us a stronger relationship and I wouldn’t want to change that,” said Madison.

The Symonds

Tight-knit mother-daughter duo, junior Bethany Symonds and English teacher Mary Symonds share the same close relationship even when their roles shift to teacher-student.

“I pretty much treat Bethany the same wherever we are,” Mary said, “I adore her, so I do that at home and I do that at school.”

According to Bethany, having a parent at the school has its benefits. “It’s nice for if I need something or if I’m ever having a problem at school,” said Bethany,“I don’t have to call home, I just walk up to the English department and there she is.”

Having a parent who is a teacher does not make Mary stricter about grades.“I expect her to do her best, and if she has truly done her best I honestly don’t care about the grades and I never have and I’m really honest about that,” Mary said, “I really don’t care about the grades, but I want her to never sell herself short on anything.”

“You would think, her being a teacher, that she’d be more strict about it,” Bethany said. “I mean she wants us to get good grades, but she knows how difficult the classes are and she knows that trying your best is what really matters.”

Mary enjoys the advantage of being able to check in with her daughter’s teachers. “I wish more parents knew how their kids were doing,” Mary said, “I feel really lucky to, not just know how she doing academically, because again that’s not my most important thing, mostly I just want to make sure she is happy.”

Bethany has never been in one of her mom’s classes, but Mary has been a substitute teacher for her zero period a few times, “It’s kind of weird but at the same time its not, because she’s a good teacher,” Bethany said.

Both mother and daughter enjoy having each other close by.

“Before I came here I always thought it would be awkward, but it’s not, it’s really nice. Maybe it would be different if we weren’t as close as we are.” Bethany said.

Mary enjoys getting to spend extra time with Bethany during the day. “She’s my really good friend,” she said.

The Busses

More than 2,000 students attend Wenatchee High School and only some can say that their parent is their science teacher. This is the perk of being Todd Busse and senior Jacob Busse.

“It’s great, we both drive here and it saves us another stop,” Busse said. “I know what grades he [Jacob] has and I can check with his teachers if he is having trouble.”

Both have enjoyed being in class for the past two years. Jacob naturally has a passion for physics which coincidentally is the subject his dad teaches at WHS.

“I always wanted to take his class,” Jacob said. “I’ve wanted to be an engineer ever since I was little and I think the two just fit together.”

Their relationship at school and at home are only slightly different, according to Busse.

“I still have to ask for his homework and I’m a teacher and not dad. He [Jacob] just has more access to me though,” Busse said. “He [Jacob] is just another student, but once in a while he might call me dad.”

At home Busse takes his teacher hat off and goes to being a regular parent.

“I try not to be in teacher mode,” Busse said. “I just do the regular things a parent would. ‘get off the computer,’ ‘do your homework,’ those types of things.”

One worrisome incident in Busse’s opinion was that Jacob ironically broke his kneecap during third period, which is when Jacob is in class with Busse.

Jacob recalls his junior year.

“I remember that in class he would tell funny stories about me,” Jacob said. “I really didn’t care though; it’s a parents job to embarrass their kids I guess.”

The Carlsons

Sophomore Emma Carlson and her dad, English teacher Dave Carlson, agreed that they have a very close and beneficial relationship with each other both when at home, and at Wenatchee High School.

Emma has never been in a class taught by her father, however she did point out that she gets to see him every once in awhile, especially “Before first period and at PAWS.” Dave agrees, saying that he often sees Emma in passing at WHS. They explained that having each other at school together is a win-win situation for the two.

“He is helpful with English homework, or for practicing class speeches with at home, and is nice to have around at WHS for signing papers,” Emma said.

Carlson essentially confirmed his daughter’s explanations. He gave an example of how he recently assisted Emma with an oral interpretation while at school.

“Those little things, and paper editing, and that kind of thing helps academically; but we’re still father-daughter,” Carlson said.

Furthermore, Mr. Carlson apparently acts the same at away from the high school as he does in the classroom, according to Emma.

“He’s known at school for his puns, and he does that at home, too,” Emma said. Carlson said that their connection remains the same, no matter where they are.

The duo showed that their father-daughter, as well as teacher-student connection provides an overall positive opportunity for both. The Carlsons demonstrate that they are happy for the chance to share such a unique alliance here at WHS and in their home life.