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Two homecomings for Kellenberg alumna-turned-teacher

Earth science teacher and former Kellenberg Memorial High

Earth science teacher and former Kellenberg Memorial High School student Tara Marsigliano with athletic director John Fechtmann at the school's homecoming on Sunday. Credit: Brittany Bernstein

For Tara Marsigliano, Kellenberg Memorial High School’s football game against St. Francis Prep on Sept. 16 was a homecoming in more ways than one.

Marsigliano graduated from Kellenberg, a Catholic school in Uniondale, in 2006 with dreams of one day returning as a teacher. But after graduating with degrees from Iona College and Hofstra University, she ended up as a K-4 teacher in Downtown Brooklyn.

That is, until Kellenberg Athletic Director John Fechtmann called Marsigliano, who rowed crew all four years of undergrad at Iona and went on to become a crew coach in Manhasset, with a “crew question” recently.

“I’m thinking it will be something simple — nothing to do with me being hired there, and he said, ‘What about starting our [crew] team and teaching here?’ ”she said.

Her reply?

“When can I sign the contract?”

Twelve years after graduating, Marsigliano is back home at Kellenberg, teaching eighth- and ninth-grade earth science along with her crew duties.

This year’s homecoming was her first in the years since she graduated from Kellenberg, but as a student, she never missed one.

“That was the most fun thing to do,” she said. “If you didn’t go it was like you missed out.”

She recalled aging out from her parents driving her to the games to her friends getting their licenses and packing into each other’s cars on game day.

“Everybody would go whether you were a football fan or not,” she said. “You were there to support Kellenberg.”

She watched this year’s homecoming alongside Fechtmann, her senior-year history teacher, who said having her back at the school as a colleague “kind of makes me feel old.” But he doesn’t mind.

“It’s great to have her in the building,” he said. “It’s great to have her back as part of the Kellenberg family.”

Marsigliano said coming back as a teacher has been “uncomfortable in a good way,” as she is teaching alongside many of the instructors who once taught her.

“They want me to call them by their first name and I can’t do it,” she said, laughing.

It was many of those same instructors that inspired Marsigliano to become a teacher.

“If I didn’t go [to Kellenberg] I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. I definitely wouldn’t have become a teacher,” she said.

As a teacher she is encouraging her students to become involved in after-school activities, like she did as a student. Marsigliano played basketball and softball and was also involved in communications club and prep club, which led her to travel to Germany for two weeks during her junior year.

She hopes that her students will come to love Kellenberg like she does.

“To walk into Kellenberg every day, it’s like walking into your home,” she said. “I don’t feel like it’s a job. I feel like I’m walking into somewhere special.”

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