When They Were Us: Mrs. Major

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In preparation for a senior-year dance, Mrs. Major models her outfit in her home. “Sometimes as kids we are very anxious because we haven’t had a lot of experiences,” Mrs. Major said. “Through experiences, you become very confident within yourself.” (Photo submitted by Mrs. Major)

Have you ever wondered what your teachers were like in high school? In each faculty profile, we take a trip back to the past and explore what teachers were like ‘When They Were Us’ (WTWU). Featured in the September/October 2019 issue of the Patriot Post, this extended version recounts JH teacher Mrs. Shaneka Major’s story.

From participating in the school band to presiding over a fraternity, eighth grade Honors Composition and Grammar teacher Mrs. Shaneka Major embodied the idea of a well-rounded student when she attended American Senior High in Miami. Through multiple extracurriculars, Mrs. Major found a path towards teaching. 

Outside the classroom, high school meant a time to explore different avenues. She joined several activities, including Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and band, where she danced and played the saxophone. 

“I dibbled and dabbled in a bit of everything,” Mrs. Major said. “It’s just my personality. I have a lot of different interests.”

Mrs. Major also participated in different sports, though she quickly learned she preferred academics. “Let’s just say that sports were not the greatest. I tried volleyball until I realized there was a height situation, and I ended up being the shortest girl on the team. Then I tried basketball and realized that nothing about basket or balls worked out for me. I was trying, I’m telling you,” Mrs. Major said. “I then decided that I was going to try track. Have you ever done hurdles and hit your leg on the railing? I did that once and fell, and then I said, ‘You know what? There are some people more athletically inclined than I am, so I’m going to leave that to them.’”

Mrs. Major’s favorite activity was Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), where she took on the role of president. Initially, she wanted to go into gynecology, but a visit from a practicing professional changed her mind.  

Striking a side-glance pose, Mrs. Major models for her senior portraits, which she took at home. Mrs. Major graduated from American Senior High in 2000. (Photo submitted by Mrs. Major)

Mrs. Major then shifted her focus to business. At Florida State University, she became president of Delta Sigma Pi, the best co-ed business fraternity in the country according to her.  

“For me, I was trying to figure out what area I fit into. I thought because I was interested in FBLA in high school, I should pick up this business thing. I also love English, so I decided to try corporate law,” Mrs. Major said. “I thought English merged very well with business. I was trying to put the pieces together. I didn’t want to box myself into one area and not experience things.”

While exploring her interest in business, Mrs. Major operated her own cleaning company. “[The cleaning company] was called Major Cleaning. It was great. It’s difficult to own a company, though, but the website was beautiful. I think I loved the website most,” she said. 

However, she decided business wasn’t for her. As president of Delta Sigma Pi, Mrs. Major taught new pledges and noticed teaching incorporates her passion for English. “I realized, ‘Oh, I love [teaching] and get great feedback,’” Mrs. Major said. “They used to say to me ‘you’d be a great teacher.’”

Now, Mrs. Major spends the school day in classroom 8216. However, she doesn’t have a concrete plan for her future and would tell her younger self to try everything.

“You don’t have to have just one [activity]. I said to myself the other day, maybe when I turn 50, I may go back to medical school. It’s not like the options aren’t still there. In the end, it all connects.”

Mrs. Major, right, participated in multiple activities her high school offered. Her curiosity and willingness to try different avenues helped her get to where she is now and she has no plans to stop pursuing her interests. (Photo submitted by Mrs. Major)

As a junior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her third year on staff as Assistant Online Editor in Chief and Business Manager of iPatriot Post and the Patriot Post, respectively. Outside room 9114, Kayla acts as the co-historian of NHS and as a member of Quill and Scroll, EHS and SNHS. Kayla spends her free time making travel plans for the future, bugging her younger brother and binge watching Criminal Minds. Additionally, Kayla loves to read and often writes book reviews to release the mix of emotions most books give her. However, don’t ask Kayla what her favorite book is; she’ll give you an hour-long breakdown of her top reads in each genre.

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