Meet Your Surprise Neighbor: Sandra Oligny

Sandra Oligny, far right with the Dysart High School HOSA team, has been teaching at Dysart for eight years. [Submitted photo]

Age:

38

Town:

El Mirage

What is your title/occupation?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher in Sports Medicine and Rehab Services

What school do you work at?

Dysart High School

How long have you worked here?

I am in my eighth year at Dysart.

What are you excited about on your campus and why?

I really just love our students. As a Career and Technical Education teacher, I get to work with students in real-world, hands-on-learning in preparation for a future career in healthcare. The experiences I get to share with my students both in and out of the classroom are some of the most valuable times they can get as they are planning for their future. I am always excited to see my students travel to new cities and meet people from around the world.

What do you like most about living here?

I love living in the community where I teach.  It is always so easy to get an understanding of my students’ lives, and stay involved with the community. Also, so many of our students also had their parents attend Dysart as well, so there is definitely a tight-knit community, family vibe in and around our campus.

What changes would you like to see in this area?

I would love to see both our campus and our town recognized even more for all the positive things happening.  The changes and improvements that have been made on our campus are phenomenal and everyone deserves to know about them.

Favorite community cause and why?

Last year, a coworker approached me about a project with my students, and it is quickly become a very important cause to me and my students. She is a Dementia Fellow with the state of Arizona, and she introduced me to a program called Dementia Friends. Since then, I have been trained as a Dementia Friend Champion, so I can go and speak to large groups of people to give them tips and best practices in working with patients with Dementia and Alzheimers. The best part is that my students also received this training, and they are now the only high school students in the country to have this same certification. It has become an important cause for both myself and my students, as we live in a community with this as a common occurrence.

When and why you moved here?

I moved to Arizona from Massachusetts about 15 years ago to further my career in sports medicine. Once I began teaching at Dysart High, I moved into the West Valley, partially for convenience, but more to truly be a part of the community that I wanted to impact with my teaching.

Where you lived prior to moving?

Prior to living here, I lived in north central Phoenix. Before that, I spent most of my life in Massachusetts.

Who is in your family?

While I only live with my boyfriend, Ravon, here. The rest of my family lives in South Carolina and New York state. My parents, Peter and Cyndy, are retired, living in Greenville, South Carolina, and my sister, Renee, and her husband live and work in Columbia, South Carolina (legal secretary and math professor, respectively).

What do you like most about your job?

I love that in my position I can provide students with experiences they can’t get anywhere else. While I am teaching them foundations of medicine, they are also able to participate in so many different experiences that exposes them to different cities, different people, and allows them to really gain perspective on a career in medicine. The growth that I get to see in them, both during school and after, will never stop being the best feeling in the world. You just can’t get better than the pride you feel when former students tell you that they got a job as a registered nurse in a hospital, part in thanks to the knowledge they received in my class.

If you could pick another occupation, what would it be?

Having spent the first 11 years of my career as an athletic trainer, that would likely be a second occupation choice for me.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I am very involved with HOSA (Future Health Professionals) both at our school and with the state. HOSA is a CTE organization that provides additional opportunities for students to prepare for a career in healthcare through leadership networking, education, and competition. Serving on the Board of Directors, and as the chair of the Competitive Events Committee, I get to create tons of opportunities for students all around the state. Outside of that, I enjoy watching sports (mostly football), going to the movies, and in the last few years, I have started running 5K and mud/terrain races.

Describe one of the happiest moments in your life.

I think one of the happiest moments in my life was getting the keys to our home. I had always doubted that owning my own home could ever be a reality for me. So holding those keys, I felt so proud, so grateful, and just so excited to see that all of our hard work really did pay off in the best way.

What is your best and worst habit?

My best habit is probably trying to find a way to help people with every encounter. My worst habit is worrying about things I can’t control.

What traits do you admire in others?

I admire confidence. When someone can be proud of themselves and their achievements, but also remain humble and grateful, I am always inspired.

Who is a person that inspires you and why?

My Dad is probably by biggest inspiration. He has taught me since I was a child, that the most important things you can do in your life are to work hard, be kind and help each other. Even in his retirement, he takes adult education classes to enrich himself and works with different service organizations to give back.

What is your guiding philosophy?

My guiding philosophy is to always be kind. Be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. You never know what one simple kind act can change someone’s day or someone’s life.

What is your advice for today’s youth?

My advice to today’s youth would be to listen to each other and to those that care about you. Observe the real things happening around you, and be kind to everyone you meet.

Editor’s note: Ms. Oligny received the 2018 Outstanding HOSA Advisor award for her commitment to HOSA and outstanding leadership.



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