Thank You Mrs. Lupas
In my early years of schooling, I was always jealous of the kids who were close to their teachers. It felt like a club bonding experience that I never got to be a part of, despite my valiant efforts. It almost felt as if I wasn’t funny, cool, or special enough to be seen as more than just another kid in their classroom. My freshman year of high school, I entered Dominion eager to make meaningful connections with my teachers, and when I met my Spanish III teacher Mrs. Meda Lupas, I had no idea that I had just hit the jackpot.
Stepping into Mrs. Lupas’s classroom is like walking into someone’s open arms. Whether it was a freezing cold room in the corner of the lower level or the one next to the bathrooms with the broken air conditioner, Mrs. Lupas makes everyone feel at home. She would walk around to every corner of the room making a point to engage with everyone, even the ones who tried to hide. I watched as the quiet kids who did everything they could to not have to participate in activities were comfortably taking up conversations in spanish with the other students by the end of the year thanks to Mrs. Lupas.
She calls everyone “child,” appropriately, since she acts as a warm mother figure to all her students, new and old. Not only is she kind, she’s funny and approachable, always drawing in the people around her with her positive energy. A lot of teachers can create environments where great learning takes place, but Mrs. Lupas’s is one built around personal growth, fun, and genuine enjoyment in learning spanish and engaging with others.
I feel an even deeper connection to her since we are both Type 1 Diabetics. It’s a difficult condition that I had only been grappling with for a few years when we met, but she never failed to ease my anxiety and make me feel safer, always reminding me that there was someone who understood and would be there when I needed help. She always looked out for me: when someone brought in cupcakes unexpectedly, she shared her stash of low-carb snacks with me so I wouldn’t feel left out; when I was triggered by a class pizza party and tried to hide my discomfort, she still noticed and discreetly took me outside to ask me if I was okay. I can’t imagine how many students Mrs. Lupas has met, but I absolutely know she has made every single one of them feel seen beyond just students coming in and out of her classroom, even if it was just in little ways.
In 2019, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Singapore for the Global Summit with Mrs. Lupas as our chaperone. Though I knew it would be hard to manage my Diabetes in a different country without my parents, I was comforted by her presence, not only because she has Diabetes as well, but because I knew she would take care of me and make sure I was doing okay. From playing dress up with us in the malls to recreating funny movie posters on the metro, it’s safe to say I don’t think the trip would have been nearly as memorable without her.
I could not fully express my gratitude and love for Mrs. Lupas, and though I haven’t had her as a teacher since freshman year, we still send each other messages, and I know we will stay in touch for years to come. Being lucky enough to meet and become close with Mrs. Lupas has made my long years of waiting for such a connection truly worth it.