Longtime Hopkins teacher Law bids farewell

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Deanna Law
Former Hopkins School teacher Deanna Law shows off the scenery at her new home in Montana.

By Deanna Law
Special to the Independent

Editor’s note: The following is from Deanna Law, a longtime teacher/administrator at Hopkins School who recently submitted her resignation after taking a leave of absence prior to the 2019-20 school year and moving to Montana.

Twenty years ago, when I began my journey as an educator in Hopkinton, I had just graduated from college and was ready to take on the challenges and rewards of being in the classroom. How fortunate I was that day when Hopkinton took a chance on me. It was the start of an incredible career for which I am forever grateful. Throughout the years I’ve been able to connect with this community in ways well beyond what I had imagined. Students, families, administrators, colleagues, friends and community members laid the foundation for me, so when the opportunity came to embark on a new chapter in my life, I had the tools and support to be able to do so confidently.

Teaching is and will always be a passion of mine. The work isn’t easy (especially this year as you all know too well) but the impact lasts a lifetime. My students are the reason I had the courage and determination to make a change in my own life. My teaching was always focused on academics, of course, but more importantly it was about giving my students the space and opportunity to explore, to make mistakes, to reflect and grow, to learn the value of teamwork and leadership, to take risks, and to appreciate the simple things in life. Two years ago, I decided to “walk the walk,” as they say, and trust my instincts.

After finishing my 20th year of teaching in 2019, I packed up my life in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, said many tearful goodbyes to family and friends, got in my car and drove cross country to Montana to try something new. As I sit and write this at the start of 2021, I am in awe that a year and a half has already transpired. I took a chance and bought a restaurant with a friend right outside Glacier National Park. Even though this opportunity was clearly outside my comfort zone, my mind was open and it just felt right. There were no guarantees or assurances that it would work out well or that I’d even be happy. Luckily for me, I listened to that tiny voice deep inside and followed my gut. I am happier than ever and enjoying all that comes with a new venture (even amidst a pandemic). I’ve learned how similar running/owning a business is to teaching. It’s a perfect example of how core skills apply to all aspects of life!

Was it stressful and scary and overwhelming? “You betcha!” or “Boy howdy!” as they say out here. If I’m being honest, it still is, but I continue to smile and regret nothing. You know it is the right decision for you when you feel that sense of calm and peace, and can embrace the newness with excitement. Obviously, the downside is not being around family, old friends and my Hopkins home, but I thank all of you for allowing me to grow and challenge myself. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the lessons learned and the experiences I’ve had over the past 20 years.

If you learn nothing else from my experience, please take this with you: Be adventurous and let your heart and passions guide you. Don’t hesitate to try something new and don’t settle for the norms and expectations you feel might be placed on you. It is never too late to make a change or a detour in your plan. Seize those moments of inspiration and curiosity, and listen to that voice inside of you! Last but not least, simplify your life and enjoy the beauty that will be uncovered.

Words cannot even begin to express my gratitude for Hopkinton, Hopkins School in particular, and all the students and families who, some without even knowing it, played a part in my journey out west. My time as an educator in Hopkinton has come to an end, but the memories will stay with me forever. Thank you for believing in me. I will continue to be a proud member of the Hopkinton community. You are all doing incredible work, even in these most challenging times. Always know that you have a big fan out in Montana.

Always remember our class chant:
If you say, “I can’t,” you won’t.
If you say, “I quit,” you lose.
If you say, “I’ll try,” you might just succeed.
Only YOU have the power to choose!

I’m in the process of creating a blog (simplyslippers.net) to share my ongoing thoughts on life’s journey. Be on the lookout for it as a way for us to stay connected! Also, if you’re ever near Glacier National Park, make sure you stop by and say hello.

Deanna Law

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Deana,
    I for one am very proud of the challenge you took.
    The leap to your new adventure to new greatness!
    I was fortunate enough to see for myself the gleam in your eyes how proud you were of the accomplishment you did achieve and were continuing to do so.
    You met each new challenge head on with answers and positive effects.
    Deanna, Uncle Phil and I are so very proud of you.
    One step for Deanna and a Giant leap for the restaurant.
    You go girl.
    🥰
    Great article too. Well done.
    Didn’t expect anything less .
    😊
    All our 💕
    Aunt Joan & Uncle Phil

  2. That’s awesome Deanna! We miss you, but we are so happy to know you made the best decision for you!!God Bless!! Uncle Michael and Auntie B💕

  3. We are soooo happy for you!!! You have touched our life in a very special way. We will always cherish our time with you in Hopkinton, as the kids teacher, friend to Wayne and I and working with you in the classroom!!!! Your talents as a teacher were unparalleled!!! Thank you! Thank you and best wishes. Come visit us in Southern California!!!

  4. So proud of you Deanna! I can’t wait to hear your blog. You will continue to be an inspiration to those who have known you as well as new friends you are making along the way. You go girl!!

  5. What a wonderful article. Will always miss you, but so happy you followed your heart!!
    Can’t wait for your blog and hopefully to see you in the future.

    Kathie Krilovich

  6. Wonderful article, Deanna. I will never forget the year Mike was with you and Ms Capablo. Mike became a student that year, not to mention the song CD that came senior year.
    Good luck , Jonica Preite

  7. Dear Deanna,
    So inspirational!! My husband recently left his job of 30 years to seek a new adventure.
    I am going to have him read your article!!! Life is too short to not seek….
    I hope you continue to thrive in your new community and all good things come your way!!
    Very Best,
    Maura Bresnahan ( a childhood friend of jaynie shea’s)

  8. Dear Deanna,
    WOW!! I am so proud of you and so happy for you. When we first met I was so excited because I knew Hopkinton had added an excellent teacher to its Hopkins family! You were so full of enthusiasm for teaching. Once in the classroom, your students benefited from your caring and loving ways as a teacher. You provided them with a comfortable classroom that made them feel safe, one in which they could take risks and be themselves. Students excelled and had fun!
    I know leaving teaching to follow your dream was a very difficult decision because I know how much you love teaching and your students but it was the right decision for you.
    I am so happy it has worked out for you. Hopkinton’s loss is Montana’s gain!!
    The pandemic interfered with my visit but trust me I will be visiting you soon.
    All my love!! Ellie😘

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