Spanish teacher Patricia Lopez retires after 35 years of teaching

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photo by Amber Ashby

Lopez helps sophomore Grace Hwang as she prepares for her presentation. Lopez’s last day was on March 31.

As a young girl, Spanish teacher Patricia Lopez dreamed of being a teacher. Now, after 35 years of teaching, Lopez is retiring to spend time with her family. 

Although Lopez started her career as an optician, fitting glasses and contact lenses, she always loved Spanish in high school, and began working as a Spanish teacher in Georgia. After five years there, she moved to Florida and worked at Lake Howell High School before transferring to Oviedo High School and eventually to Hagerty. 

This year marks her 17th year at Hagerty, giving Lopez ample time to see how the Spanish program has grown across the years. Reflecting on her years teaching, Lopez says her students made a big impact on her, just as she hopes she made an impact on her students. 

“Just working with the kids, I think each moment is a memorable moment,” Lopez said. “I’ve had so many students that have touched my heart.” 

Lopez’s last day was on March 31, and students and faculty sent her off with goodbyes. 

“She taught me a lot about expanding my view of the world,” senior Ariana Seguinot said. “Because it’s more than just learning how to speak Spanish, it’s learning the history behind it, the culture, and I feel like she’s really helped me connect with that.” 

Seguinot, who also serves as president of Spanish National Honor Society, had Lopez as a teacher for two years and says that although she will miss Lopez’ fun and quirky personality, she hopes Lopez finds happiness in the next years of her life. 

“It’s really sad. But I’m really happy for her,” Seguinot said. “She’s gonna get to do a lot of things that she wants to do. It’s just sad because she’s a really good teacher and helps me out with my Spanish and makes me a better speaker.”  

According to Lopez, for the remainder of the year, Spanish teacher Nitza Ariza will be taking over her Spanish III, IV and AP classes, while a new teacher will be selected to teach her Spanish I and II classes. Meanwhile, Lopez is looking forward to her retirement, a well-deserved rest for her. 

“I’m looking forward to sleeping in but I’ll miss [my students],” Lopez said. “They made my day fun. A teacher gets their energy from their students’ energy and they always were good about feeding my energy.” 

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