Honoring Our 2022 Retirees: Mrs. Donna Nystrom


Ruisong Lan

As the 2021-2022 school year comes to an end, Mrs. Donna Nystrom is saying goodbye after 33 years of teaching at South Highl. During this time, she taught a variety of social studies courses in the special education department, ranging from ninth grade Global History to twelfth grade Economics.

Mrs. Nystrom always enjoyed helping people and making a difference in their lives, therefore she decided to go into teaching. “In college, I worked as a camp counselor and also spent time student teaching,” said Mrs. Nystrom. “Those experiences proved to me how much I wanted to be a teacher.”

For Mrs. Nystrom, the most enjoyable part of being at South l was how the school environment made her really feel at home. “This building is just a wonderful place to be in, and I just have such immense gratitude for being here,” said Mrs. Nystrom. “The faculty members are so kind and supportive. My department members are like my family. And the students I have had over the years were fabulous and wonderful. I don’t think there [are] many jobs out there like this one that you can have for 33 years and be happy at work every day.”

Mrs. Nystrom’s fondest memories of teaching at South are the moments when she was able to really see her students thrive. It always makes her happy to see a struggling student shine in their own way. “I once had a student that did not perform well academically, but he was very good at basketball,” said Mrs. Nystrom. “I remember attending a pep rally and just hearing the crowd cheer for him. Seeing the amount of support that he received really warmed my heart.”

Though Mrs. Nystrom has cherished her time at South, she is ready for what lies ahead. She hopes to do many things she never had the time for while teaching.  “Some plans I have are doing volunteer work and spending time with friends,” said Mrs. Nystrom. “My husband and I also bought a house in Maine 4 years ago, and I plan on devoting some of my time there.”

For her students, Mrs. Nystrom leaves the following message: “Believe in yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself, and find something you’re passionate towards. Not everyone can excel at everything. However, if you find something you really enjoy and work towards it, you will be successful.”