Farewell Ms. Silva!

Ellen Zhan

Ms. Janelle Silva started teaching 7th and 8th grade English at PCS in 2016, shifting to teaching just 8th grade in recent years. She has also led a calligraphy seminar, an outdoor sports seminar, and last year’s English Language Arts (ELA) lab.

Before coming to PCS, Ms. Silva taught 10th, 11th, and 12th graders at St. Francis High school, “and I loved that school and my students, but… I [also] wanted to get back to [teaching] middle school.” She had taught middle school students for the first three years of her teaching career, and missed “the energy and the silliness… and how fun-loving middle-schoolers can be.”

She was also excited to work with the PCS English department, “because at my other school, I was by myself.” There was only one other English teacher at St. Francis, and they each taught different classes, while “at [PCS] I had the chance to work with Ms. Roth, Ms. Klein, Mr. Perera, Ms. DeCap, and Ms. Hash.” Ms. Silva deeply appreciates all her PCS coworkers, as well as “all the new people that joined our community this year; I think that they have only made it more neat and more interesting.” One of her fondest memories is playing basketball with her colleagues before graduation ceremonies.

High school English teacher Ms. Christine DeCaporale says that Ms. Silva has influenced how she teaches, naming her, “the best educator I’ve ever worked with.” Since Ms. Silva’s arrival, she has become, as AP Statistics teacher Ms. Jennifer Eskenazi aptly puts it, “The Mother of the 8th Grade.” Indeed, former students describe her with the words, “nice,” “understanding,” “gentle,” “soft-spoken, comforting to be around,” and “safe presence.” Cecelia Tannaci, currently an 8th-grade student of Ms. Silva’s, says that she is “easygoing, and easy to learn from.”

Ms. Silva’s favorite memories at PCS include: “Every single 8th & 12th PCS graduation ceremony over the years… the Odyssey play field trip with my first 8th grade class… the Lord of Antonelli Pond Field trip with the junior class… and the surprise party the senior class threw me after my wedding.” Most of all, Ms. Silva says, “I will really miss my students and being a witness to their incredible individuality, brilliance, creativity, and talent!”

Ms. Silva found out in the fall that she was pregnant: “I never thought I would be entering this journey as a mom at this point in my career, but I’m excited to start and try something that is daunting and very new and very exciting.” Since she has worked at PCS for 7 years, the teachers’ union negotiated for her to take a sabbatical leave, which means that she has the option to return to PCS in the fall of 2024. 

Whether or not she returns to teaching at PCS, she will always have a place in our school community. There is little doubt that Ms. Silva, Mother of the 8th Grade, could be anything less than a wonderful mother, and we wish her the best of luck and joy in her exciting journey ahead.