Rob Hall and Winnie Sloan reach 30 years at Oak Park High

Both teachers reflect on their careers and past experiences in the classroom

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Alex Gaspar and Jasmine Lahooti

Science Department Chair Winnie Sloan and social science teacher Rob Hall have officially been teaching at Oak Park High School for 30 years.

Sloan, once planning on becoming a pediatrician, had a change of heart and geared towards a teaching career.

“When I was in college, I was planning on being a pediatrician and a missionary. I worked for the biology department and I would do some tutoring. People always told me I made it easier and explained it in a way it made sense to them,” said Sloan. “I thought about it — my parents were teachers, but my mom didn’t want me to be one. I tried it for one year and if I didn’t like it I would re-enter the field of medicine. I obviously liked it because I am still here.”

In his 34 years of being in the classroom, Hall has learned much from the thousands of students he has taught. 

“I have learned that being a teenager today is much more difficult than it was when I went to Chatsworth High School 40 years ago,” Hall wrote to the Talon. “Getting into college is a much more competitive and complicated process than it has ever been before, and there are far more distractions in the digital age.”

For the duration of her teaching career, Sloan has not only mentored her students, but also lent a helping hand to her fellow instructors.

“I am proud when I look to see the doctors and scientists that have thanked me for helping them on their journey,” Sloan said. “Not only that, I am proud of helping other teachers use technology and understand their curriculum better — I have done that over the course of my career in different roles.”

For Hall, his gratification stems from the number of OPHS alum-turned-teachers on campus.

“Teaching is inherently a gratifying profession — but to me it is particularly gratifying when I look around and see how many of our teachers and staff are alums of OPHS. To illustrate, here are some names: Mr. Creason, Mr. Pryor, the other Mr. Hall, Ms. Wall, Ms. Hazelwood, Ms. Bregar, Mr. Henderson, Ms. Pasqua, Ms. Randall, Coach Webb. I figure if all of these people went out into the world and then came back to work at OPHS, it means we must be doing something right,” said Hall. “I smile every time I think about that.”

For just as long as he has been teaching, Hall acted as a coach for a variety of sports including basketball, tennis, baseball and softball. He is currently an assistant coach for the girls varsity softball team.

“I don’t have a single moment that stands out as the ‘proudest and greatest achievement of my career,’ but I am very proud of the fact I have managed to do this job as long as I have,” Hall wrote to the Talon. “I still get excited about coming to school every day and interacting with my students in the classroom and on the playing fields.” 

Sloan holds immense pride for her students and loves the lengths and accomplishments they have gone on to achieve. 

“I have seen creativity and resilience over 33 years of teaching. I have seen so many students overcome and succeed,” said Sloan. “They have shown grace and discipline and strength, and it is quite beautiful to behold.”