Natasha Huggins Leitch
As an 8th Grader at VCS, Natasha Huggins Leitch ’93 was interested in finding a boarding school where she would have the opportunity to pursue a rigorous academic program while also nurturing her interest in the arts. She found a match in Blair Academy, and went on to Wellesley College. During her college years, Natasha spent a transformative summer teaching low-income children in Newark, NJ. Following her 2001 graduation from Wellesley, Natasha continued to pursue teaching, and has spent the last six years as a teacher at an independent boarding school in Massachusetts, where she currently teaches Global Cultures and Human Geography, coaches sports teams and serves as a dorm parent.
VCS: How do you think your experiences at VCS helped you to identify the right school for you?
NHL: VCS nurtured my interests as an artist and young scholar.
VCS: What was the transition like from VCS to high school?
NHL: The transition was great. I had great friends from VCS that I continued to stay in touch with and I was prepared to do well in all of my classes freshman year of high school.
VCS: What do you enjoy most about your work as a teacher?
NHL: I enjoy working with young people, designing curriculum and being creative in my class lessons.
VCS: Tell me a little about any volunteering or activism you’re pursuing.
NHL: I am currently involved in social activism through my local community to combat racism in our small town and promote inclusion.
VCS: What do you love to do in your free time? Is this something you’ve always enjoyed doing, or an interest you developed later in life?
NHL: I love reading in my free time, this is an interest I have had since high school. I also love hiking, which is an interest I developed in my early 20s.
VCS: Let’s think back to your time at VCS. Were there any pivotal VCS moments or experiences that led you toward the path you’re currently on?
NHL: I loved the strong connections I had with my teachers. They cared for me and taught me powerful lessons. I felt loved and cared for. I believe this is why I became a teacher. I hope I extend the same love and support to all of my students.
VCS: What are some of your fondest memories from VCS? Does a particular teacher, project, classmate, event, spring to mind?
NHL: My favorite teacher was Jennifer Trano. I remember the Ancient Greek festival we performed in the school yard. I made lemon Greek chicken, dressed in ancient Greek attire and wore my hair in a traditional Greek style. History came alive for me…I also loved Woodshop. I made a kid chair for a family member. Also, I created a Kwanzaa Kinara seven candle holder as a gift for my older brother who celebrated Kwanzaa.
VCS: What school traditions stand out in your memory? What was meaningful about that tradition for you?
NHL: My favorite tradition was the 8th Grade Graduation when my classmates and I presented individual speeches. I loved hearing from each of my classmates and their unique perspectives. It was a very special day.
VCS: What is something about VCS that you hope will never change?
NHL: I hope the welcoming and warm connection students have with teachers. I loved calling my teachers by their first names.
VCS: In one sentence, what would you say your VCS education did for you?
NHL: My VCS experience set me up for a lifetime of being openminded and stepping out of my comfort zone.