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Beyond the Cave

Summerville Alum: When the students become the teacher

From 1990 to 2007, these SHS graduates are back to teach at their alma mater
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Ms. Alomia (2007)

Most students call Summerville High School home for four years until they walk across the field and graduate with their class. However, for six specific Bears, they have chosen to call Summerville High their home for the long-haul.
These six former students now dedicate themselves to teaching and one former bear, working in administration for SHS.
They may have graduated in 1989 or 2007–but their graduation date isn’t as important as what they are doing today–teaching and nurturing future SHS alums.
SHS alums who now teach at the school include Ms. Alomia (2007), Mr. Atkins (2003), Mrs. Caldera (1990), Mrs. Garcia (1990), Mrs. Fray (1989), Mrs. Peterson (1994), and Coach Leveroos (1995).
After graduating from Summerville in 2007 and later California Polytechnic Institute (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, Ms. Alomia taught at a “MedTech” Academy at San Diego High School, a school that focused on the Medical Pathways for students.
After having her first child, Ms. Alomia and her husband decided that they wanted to live closer to home and their “village.”

“My husband and I decided having kids away from our families was not the business, so we moved up here. Besides wanting a village to help raise our kids, we came up here because we love the mountains.”

— Ms. Alomia


“My husband and I decided having kids away from our families was not the business, so we moved up here. Besides wanting a village to help raise our kids, we came up here because we love the mountains,” stated Ms. Alomia.

Mr. Atkins (2003)

When it came time to apply for jobs, Ms. Alomia knew there was really only one choice.
“There are two high schools to work at and obviously Sonora was not where I wanted to be. But really, I love the A/B Block schedule since I like to be here part time (only A days), so that I can still have time with my family. I also really love the tight-knit feeling of the community here,” said Ms. Alomia.
Ms. Alomia was very involved while she was a student here. She participated in the Tuolumne County Aquatics’ first-ever water polo team, played varsity soccer all four years, played volleyball and ran cross-country. She was also an active participant in a variety of different clubs including the Ecology Club, California Scholarship Federation Club, World Club, and the Soroptimist Club.
Mr. Atkins, World History and Senior Seminar teacher, graduated from Summerville in 2003 and it wasn’t long before he was back in Tuolumne County teaching at his alma mater.

After also graduating from Cal Poly, a few years before Ms. Alomia, Mr. Atkins returned to Tuolumne and began teaching summer school at Summerville High in the summer of 2008. He started a full-time position in 2009.
When asked why he wanted to return to Summerville, Mr. Atkins shared that he had fond memories of being a student here.
“I decided to teach at Summerville because I had great memories from Summerville and wanted to work where I wanted to live,” Atkins said.

Mrs. Caldera and Mrs. Garcia both graduated from Summerville in 1990 and remember a different Summerville High School than what they see around them today.
When asked what they missed the most from their time attending SHS, both Caldera and Garcia cited that it was a time without cellphones and social media.

“I feel that the one thing I would pick would be to go back to a time when cell phones did not exist. I miss seeing students socializing and having random moments of silliness and fun. They truly lived in the moment and it was a different world for sure,” Garcia said.

— Ms. Garcia


“I feel that the one thing I would pick would be to go back to a time when cell phones did not exist. I miss seeing students socializing and having random moments of silliness and fun. They truly lived in the moment and it was a different world for sure,” Garcia said.

Ms. Garcia (1990)

Mrs. Caldera agreed with Mrs. Garcia that the students today are different than in their graduating years.
“The biggest difference at Summerville from 1990 to now may be the students. When I was in school, we looked forward to coming to school, not necessarily because we liked it–that may never change–but because we looked forward to seeing our friends. Our friendships were built on face to face interactions. We didn’t text each other or Snapchat with each other, we had face to face conversations where friendships were built through mutual laughter and tears,” stated Mrs. Caldera.

Mrs. Caldera (1990)

Mrs. Caldera also shared her concern with technology and how it can damage friendships when students are too comfortable behind a screen.
“Although many of our students form great friendships today, there can be a lot of falsehoods hidden behind the screens that lead to untruths and fake friendships. I feel students don’t like coming to school anymore because they feel they can accomplish anything and everything behind a screen,” Caldera shared in her interview.
However, what hasn’t changed, according to Mrs. Caldera, is the great sense of family and community that Summerville High provides.
“Just like when I was a student here, there are people committed to this school because of their past connections to the school. They want to be here because they know what a great school it is, has been, and can be. They believe in building up the students and each other even when things seem chaotic or overwhelming. Many of our employees are past graduates, spouses of past graduates, and family connected to those who have gone here or already work here. Most people just want to be here and be a part of something special. That has changed very little over the past thirty-three years and it’s what makes me proud to be teaching here,” explained Mrs. Caldera.

Ms. Garcia shared a few of her favorite memories while she was a student here at SHS—a few of her favorites included the junior/senior Rock Night and the Night Rally Bonfire during Homecoming Week.
Mrs. Fray graduated from Summerville High School in 1989 and shared a few of her favorite memories during her time here.
“I was the rally commissioner and played three sports all four years of high school,” stated Mrs. Fray.
Mrs. Fray explained that it was fate that brought her back to SHS and that she is here to stay.
“I came back here because it still has the same feeling of care and community of people. [In other jobs] I was alone, but here, I have a team and I love being a part of teams. The universe brought me back here and I’m never leaving, willingly,” shared Mrs. Fray.

Mrs. Fray (1989)

A 1994 graduate, Mrs. Peterson said that while Summerville is still a home and community for many, she misses the “fire” or, for a lack of a better term, the “umph” the students had towards school when she attended Summerville.
“I would bring back the pride–Summerville pride. All the pride we had in our campus and our sports and everything. Just some more energy because I feel like we’ve lost some energy. We were on fire about everything back then; I don’t know why or what the difference is,” Mrs. Peterson said.
She recalled that in her time in high school, she won Homecoming Queen and played three sports.
“My favorite memory would be athletics and winning Homecoming Queen and just all the fun we had back then,” Mrs. Peterson shared.

Mrs. Peterson (1994)

While attending, Mrs. Peterson was involved with three sports, the Associated Student Body (ASB), and the California Scholarship Federation (CSF).
Meanwhile, a 1995 graduate, Coach Leveroos, varsity head football coach and physical education teacher, decided to return to the area and teach at Summerville because of what it could offer his family.
“I came back to raise [my] family in this amazing county,” stated Coach Leveroos.
When asked what he missed the most and what he would bring back to SHS, he mentioned that he misses the class schedules changing every semester.

“If there was one thing I could bring back, it would be changing class schedules at the semester.”

— Coach Leveroos


“If there was one thing I could bring back, it would be changing class schedules at the semester,” Leveroos said. Further, “I would bring back once-a-month late starts,” he said.
BTC is thankful for all of these alum-teachers who have decided to come back to their alma mater and continue to call Summerville their home, despite how it has changed.

Coach Leveroos (1995)
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