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PHS science teacher now a student herself

Mrs. Diana Welch is busy this school year balancing teaching, her family, and being a student herself. She is in her seventh year teaching science at Providence, and she is completing her master’s in biology in order to continue teaching Advance College Project Biology. All teachers of college courses, including ACP classes, must have a master’s degree in the subject they teach, according to a new requirement of the College Board.

Mrs. Welch is taking one master’s course a semester during the school year and said that although the courses are rigorous and time consuming, she has found several benefits already. She previously had a medical school master’s degree, and by focusing on biology, she is learning updated information and new experiments to share with her students, she said. Since the ACP class is through Indiana University-Bloomington, IU offers the master’s classes to teachers for free, so she is saved the added expense of tuition.

Last semester, Mrs. Welch found herself taking the same course that her daughter Dori ’16 was taking at the University of Dallas but at the undergraduate level. Mrs. Welch was able to read her daughter’s papers and offer her some advice, which was a nice connection, she said.

Mrs. Welch helps her students understand complex concepts by having them act them out, such as demonstrating mitosis.

She has taken three classes so far and will take two over the summer and hopes to complete the 18 credit hours within three years. Another benefit of taking the classes is that her family has begun to appreciate her intelligence and expressed their pride in her, she said.

“They always saw their dad as the smart one,” she said. “Now they see that I’m smart too.”

Mrs. Welch began her high school teaching career when Dori was a freshman, and she has had the opportunity to teach most of her children so far. Brogan, who is now studying at the U.S. Naval Academy, graduated in 2018, Brigid is a junior, and Aiden is a freshman. Her youngest is still at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Teaching at the same school as her children has its advantages, although her children may feel it is a disadvantage since Mrs. Welch is known as a “hard teacher,” she said. But they deal with it well, and once they are in college, her children – and her students — may come to appreciate, as Dori has, how well they are prepared for rigorous courses.

Mrs. Welch said her whole family appreciates being part of the Providence community. From her being welcomed by all the faculty and staff when she first arrived to other parents and alumni offering to write letters of recommendation for Brogan’s application to the Naval Academy, they have come to witness the Providence community as a family.

“In the end my family and I know Providence has your back,” she said. “It’s not something tangible, but it’s what sets Providence apart. That’s what makes us different.”

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