The New Faces of Lick-Wilmerding and Their Stories

RACHELRachel Botamino

Current Position: Spanish One Semester Sabbatical Faculty (Spanish 2A, 3H)
Previous Job: French and Spanish Teacher

Lick, and then retire to Spain: Botamino was born in France after her family fled Spain and the regime of Generalissimo Franco. Her entire family returned to Spain after Franco’s death; Botamino also plans to settle there and spend quality time with them after her first semester at Lick. Although Botamino has traveled all over Europe, she still likes Spain the most. “There are things I like about both France and the United States, but I’m just able to relate better to the people in Spain,” Botamino explains. After leaving Lick at the end of this semester, Botamino plans to take some time off to relax in the Caribbean and then head home to Spain.

Ernie Chen0-6
Current Position: Math Faculty (Algebra 1, Algebra 2A, Stats and Applied Math)
Previous Job: Teacher at a School Year Abroad Program

Teaching Around the World: After teaching abroad for the last six years, Ernie Chen is back in the Bay Area. Chen had the opportunity to combine his love for teaching with traveling when working with the School Year Abroad Program. He taught math for three years in Italy and China. “School year abroad is a program that takes 60 kids to either China, France, Italy, or Spain. You go for a year, living with a host family, and you become immersed in the language while taking their cultural classes,” Chen explains. After being gone from America for so long, Chen is excited to get back into the groove of his San Francisco lifestyle. Chen says, “Right now I’m really still getting my life back in order. I had a life here previously and I’m just catching up with it now by spending time with friends and family, as well as watching all the television shows I’ve missed!”

Ryan Fernando0-5
Current Position: Web Editor
Previous Job: Web Developer at a local business in Palo Alto

Diversity at Lick: When asked about what attracted him to Lick, Ryan Fernando stressed the importance to him of Lick’s diverse population. Fernando attended three different high schools because his family moved constantly. Through all the different environments and people at these schools, he was able to learn about the importance of each person’s story and experiences in life. “Being the new guy at all those places was awful. But now when I look back at it, the experiences made me a much better person,” Fernando states. “Academics at Lick are great, but I think Lick’s diversity teaches patience and tolerance, which will go a long way for people.”

Catherine Fung
Current Position: English Faculty (English 1 and English 2)0-4
Previous Job: English Professor at Bentley University

Writing Her Own Book: Catherine Fung is currently writing an academic book about refugee literature, based on her research. Although the book is still in it’s middle stages, Fung knows exactly how she wants her book; a strict focus on academic research. Throughout the process of writing an academic book, Fung has slowly but surely found her academic voice. When asked what motivates her to write a book, Fung explained, “It can be pretty hard at times, but I enjoy the brain work. I like the problem solving that comes with it.” Fung plans on working on the book throughout this year and to complete it early next year. In addition to writing her academic book, Fung works for a literary journal called, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States. MELUS strives to enlarge the definition of U.S. literature through studying and teaching about different ethnically specific authors and literary work. “I’m currently co- editing, with Professor Marguerite Nguyen of Wesleyan University, a special issue of refugee literature,” Fung explains. Although Fung is the outgoing Book Reviews Editor for the journal, she hopes to bring her knowledge from writing for MELUS into both her academic book and the classroom.

0-3Zachery Nacev
Current Position: LSC Associate and Testing Coordinator
Previous Job: Civil Rights Law Firm (Legal Assistance)

Lending a Hand: When asked why he was first drawn to being the LSC Associate, Nacev expressed his passion for helping others. After making the transition from teaching World History at Match High School in Boston, Massachusettes to being a legal assistant in a Civil Rights Law Firm, Nacev realized that legal work wasn’t the best fit for him and that his passion lies with helping students and building connections with them. “I like working with students, helping and facilitating them to do work that is important to them. That’s actually what excites me about Lick, the mentality of doing meaningful work,” Nacev says. In addition to helping coordinate peer tutoring, planning the administration of the PSAT, and helping students with writing and general class skills, Nacev has a deep love for soccer. He has been playing ever since he was a little kid and is now both a center mid fielder and center back in the Sports 4 Good league. He has brought his passion for soccer to Lick and is currently the Assistant Coach, working alongside Coach Smith, of the Boys’ Frosh-Soph soccer team.

Christopher Schenk
Current Position: English Faculty (English 2)
0-1Previous Job: English Teacher at a high school in Maryland

Runner at Heart: Cross country has played a vital role in Chris Schenk’s life ever since he started in high school. “Cross-country defined my high school experience. It’s what I loved doing and I made some of my closest friends running. It was how I really defined myself,” Schenk says. Although he doesn’t run on a team anymore, he still loves running on trails and he loves the challenges that come along with that. His passion for running is shown through his dedication to running. “As soon as I got here [Bay Area] I signed up for the Golden Gate Half Marathon.” He plans to support Lick’s cross-country team and plans to attend many of their upcoming meets.

Melanie Johnson:
Current Position: Chief Financial Officer0-2
Previous Job: CFO at Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco

Stepping up in the Community: Growing up volunteering had consistently been integrated into Melanie Johnson’s lifestyle and values. 13 years ago, Johnson decided that she wanted to transition into non-profit work. Johnson says, “I’ve always had this desire to serve.” Johnson strives to diversify her experiences by working with a variety of people through non-profits. Although Lick is unlike the other organizations she has worked with recently, she really connects with the values of Lick’s community. “I love the idea of a private school with a public purpose. It really zoomed in on everything I’ve been working towards.” Johnson explains. As the year continues, Johnson hopes to become more active with students and join volunteering opportunities.

Gigi Torres:

Current Position: Math Faculty (Deductive Geometry and Algebra 2)
Previous Job: Math Teacher at Immaculate Conception Academy0-8

Adventure Seeker: Outside of the classroom, Gigi Torres loves traveling with her husband.One of Torres’s highlights in traveling is the chance to explore different cultures and broaden her experiences. “One of our [hers and her Torres husband’s] favorite places that we’ve been to so far is the Yucatan Peninsula — more specifically, we love Tulum — where the weather is warm and humid and the Mayan people are friendly,” Torres says. Torres also enjoys outdoor activities in general. She loves hiking. Next summer Torres and her husband are planning to embark on the Camino de Santiago Hike, a rigorous 500 mile pilgrimage walk across Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Camille Walker:
Current Position: Development Associate
Previous Job: Recent graduate from San Francisco State, worked Part Time at the Student Center0In August, the Lick community greeted the new freshman class, the class of 2019, as well as nine new faculty and staff members.
The additions to our adult community bring their skills, knowledge, and love of learning both to their work in the classroom and to the their work on the staff and management.

Stationary Designer: Every year before starting school Camille Walker would purchase a planner from Sugar Paper LA. But when she went last year they had sold out of her favorite planner which sparked the idea of making her own planner. “At first it was just a bunch of papers in a notebook and then I got motivated to make it into book form,” Walker says. Although she’s just getting started with making planners, her love for arts and crafts has helped her set goals for the future, which include creating notepads, calendars and other stationaries.

Posted in Tigerways | 38 Comments »

About Bonnie Wong

Bonnie, a junior at Lick-Wilmerding, is a co-managing editor of the Paper Tiger and editor of the Science and Technology section. Bonnie plays soccer for Lick and enjoys participating in outdoor activities in her free time. In addition to simply writing and reading she hopes to explore different writing styles this year while writing for the Paper Tiger. This is her second year on the Paper Tiger.

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