Introducing new THHS faculty and staff: A Q/A with this year’s newest social worker

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By Juney Liu, Features Editor 

As the school year begins once again in an unconventional manner, it marks new realities, but also familiar sights. New teachers are by no means unfamiliar at Townsend Harris, but this year, the school has welcomed close to 20 new staff members. As part of The Classic’s introducing THHS teachers series, we gathered responses regarding the motivations, goals, and aspirations from THHS’ new staff members. 

Among the new faces is Alison Harris, a new social worker in the THHS community. She discussed her background, objectives, and hopes for the future.

New Social Worker Alison Harris-Chauvet

  1. Tell us about yourself and your background. What department do you teach/oversee and how long have you been an educator? What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies, your interests, etc? 

​My name is Alison Harris-Chauvet (please call me Ms. Harris!). My family is from the island of Barbados, what we refer to as the gem of the Caribbean Sea. I grew up in Brooklyn, but I currently reside on Long Island. During my childhood, I spent most summers in Barbados, so I have the best of both worlds. I am the new social worker at Townsend and have been a licensed social worker since 2016. I have been working in this field, however, for the past 19 years. In my free time, I love spending time with my children/family and friends. I love trying new activities and exposing my children to new adventures. I love reading mystery novels by James Patterson. However, I am currently reading and have been entranced by a book called Children of Blood and Bone (a young adult fantasy written by a Nigerian-American author, Tomi Adeyemi).  It’s a trilogy and I am hooked! I love to travel and cannot wait to start exploring the globe again. I plan on traveling to Mauritius (island off Madagascar) next June with my family.

  1. What interests you about teaching? What motivated you to want to choose this career path? 

​When I was twenty years old, I worked for a marketing company that had Coca-Cola as a client.  Coca-Cola started an initiative to share their products with vulnerable communities around NYC.  The initiative included bringing youth from the community to be their ambassadors during any family-oriented events. During this time, I developed strong relationships with these youth that often lead me to giving advice or pointing them in the right direction regarding services. This sparked my interest in servicing youth and families in need.  The longer I have been in this field, the more compassionate and empathetic I have​ become to the human experience.

  1. What are your goals for this school year? 

​My goal is to support the Harrisites’ with the social and emotional parts of their academic journey. I would like to impress upon students that they have a safe space when they enter my office. I would like students to know that they are special; tough; important; kind; intelligent; loved; strong; respected; brave; amazing; understood and cared for. YOU are the reason why I am here!

  1. What do you look forward to the most this year? Is there anything you are excited about in becoming a new member of the THHS community? 

​I am looking forward to fully immersing myself in the THHS community and supporting both students and educators as best as I can. This is my first time working in a school setting and I have already been made to feel welcome. I am excited to work with you all!

  1. If you weren’t a teacher/educator what other career path would you have chosen?

I would have been a veterinarian due to my love of animals, but Chemistry class would not let me be great!

Photo by Kate Romero and Audrey Chou, Photography Editors