Features

Evacuated from El Salvador: Getting to know Ms. Mary Wittelsberger

This year at the Mount, as is usually the case, there are a group of new teachers, and to learn more about them The Quill set out to interview all of the teachers new to the school this year. My interview was with Ms. Mary Wittelsberger, a new Spanish teacher who teaches Spanish I, Spanish II, Honors Spanish II, and Spanish III.

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Ms. Wittelsberger, teaching a group of students the basics of lacrosse.

This is Ms. Wittelsberger’s first year formally teaching. I say formally because she spent two years with the Peace Corps in El Salvador. While in El Salvador she taught a wide variety of subjects, English, Sports, Art, and self-esteem; this was decided based on what the community wanted to learn. These classes were taught in a school, and assigned to the teacher. Ms. Wittelsberger had already known Spanish because she majored it in college, she also minored in Greek, but now says she doesn’t remember much of the Greek. While in El Salvador, her group was evacuated three months early due to a rise in homicides and gang violence in the area. You can read more about Ms. Wittelsberger’s time in El Salvador in her article published in The Huffington Post, El Salvador Made Me a Better Person. Unfortunately, I Had to Be Evacuated

Ms. Wittelsberger has always been a Maryland native, she grew up in Baltimore County and attended Hereford High School. Before her time in El Salvador, Ms. Wittelsberger was quite the student-athlete. She was an Under Armour All-American athlete in women’s lacrosse. She was First Team All-County in 2004, and in 2007, she was named to Inside Lacrosse’s Top 25 players. From there she went to play Division I Lacrosse at Georgetown University. She wasn’t just a lacrosse player though, she also played field hockey, where she was a two-time All-Baltimore County First Team athlete and helped lead Hereford to the 2006 state championship.

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Prior to coming to Mount Saint Joe, Ms. Wittelberger served as a Peace Corp volunteer, working in El Salvador.

Now that we know about Ms. Wittelsberger, let’s talk about how she got to the Mount. After leaving the Peace Corps, she says she was attracted to the Mount because of our beliefs and characteristics, saying “I believe in the charisms of the Mount. I think the work that the teachers do here is incredible, I think it is meaningful, impactful. I think the students have an incredible chance to grow here.” A Catholic, Ms. Wittelsberger says “I think that I fit right in with the Xaverian values.” She still wants to make a difference like she did in El Salvador and feels like she can do the same here at MSJ. She says so far she loves being at the Mount and has enjoyed being with the students.

Ms. Wittelsberger’s introduction to the Mount is very similar to the Freshmen Orientation. She met with the department and administration, had professional days, learned the rules, and became accustomed to the school. She says everyone has been extremely supportive at St. Joe. She also mentioned that she feels right at home the Mount’s all-male student atmosphere because she grew up with two brothers. Speaking about the St. Joe environment, “I can handle it.”