Courtesy of Mrs. Vereb
This past week was Assistant Principal Appreciation Week, which I hadn’t even realized was a thing that existed until my broadcast teacher brought it up in class. However, after being made aware of this fact, I found myself reflecting on my experience with Mrs. Vereb, who left Dominion at the end of last year. I mean no disrespect to any of the current assistant principals, but Ms. Vereb was someone there looking out for me during a rather difficult period of my life.
When I first moved back to Northern Virginia after having spent the majority of my middle school years in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, I felt that I had to start from scratch making new friends. All my friends I had known from elementary school had moved on, formed new friendships, and changed as people. Most of my friends today I only knew as vaguely as faces I had passed by in the halls of Horizon Elementary, or I didn’t even know existed.
As a naturally shy person, it’s always been difficult and I didn’t make it easy for myself by trying to make friends with, as one of teachers allegedly described them to my parents, “The Hilfigers”, based on their good looks and clean cut demure that she likened to the clothing brand. I met Mrs. Vereb, then Ms. Guerrero, after a cyber-bullying incident involving one of the Hilfigers. She seemed very serious initially, like the exact kind of person you want keeping mischievous teenagers in check, but I later saw the softer side of Mrs. Vereb.
While I mistakenly continued to pursue a friendship with the Hilfigers for many months after, it began to feel as if there was someone looking out for me, watching as I tried to form relationships with my fellow students. I also heard through my parents how she had been following my video work long before any student at Dominion knew the name Fountain Pictures. Hearing her compliments of my work through my parents made me feel better a lot better about myself and likely helped influence me to begin sharing more of my work with others.
Mrs. Vereb was also there when I had my final falling out with the Hilfigers. I still remember sitting there in Mrs. Northart’s Office with the decals of poppies on the walls that day when I realized I needed to start over with a new group of people, after all the progress I had made. I confided things in Mrs. Northart and Mrs. Vereb that day that I’ve since only shared with a couple of my friends.
To my eye, Mrs. Vereb exemplified exactly what an assistant principal should be. She has the resolution to command the worst of high schoolers, and the compassion to support the best of them. I sincerely appreciate the influence Ms. Vereb has had in my life.