Graduating from CHS, returning as a teacher

Rasca found her way home through educational path


Kayla Nguyen

Coppell High School English IV teacher Lauren Rasca graduated from CHS in 2002. Rasca has returned to teach for the 2022-2023 school year.

Araceli Reynoso, Staff Writer

After graduating from Coppell High School English IV teacher Lauren Rasca has returned to teach. Returning to CHS in 2022 after graduating in 2002, Rasca is determined to make this a great year. Rasca loves that Coppell has so many options to offer students.

“I loved the theater department. It was a lot of fun, I felt like that was really a spot where I could find my groove, and kind of almost be a different side of myself that I didn’t normally show in my other classes,” Rasca said. “I was in the GT English classes, those were amazing.”

Rasca originally had her mind set on becoming a nurse. She looked into schools that only had nursing programs.

Things did not turn out quite how she expected, however.

“I ended up getting into nursing school [UT-Arlington], I got accepted, I passed the test, did the interview, and then I flunked out of the nursing program,” Rasca said. “It was kind of one of those ‘what do I do now?’ moments because I had never failed [at] anything before.”

Rasca knew that she needed to come up with something to do next. 

“I thought about maybe transferring and trying to get into nursing somewhere else, but I didn’t like the idea of starting over, which tells me the classes weren’t interesting enough for me to really want to do them,” Rasca said.

Remembering her passion for English and love for the classwork, Rasca decided to major in English at UTA.

“I thought, ‘what if I major in that?’ And then what do you do with an English degree? You teach,” Rasca said. “I found that I really genuinely enjoy teaching. That is something where I don’t feel like I have to force myself to go to work. I really genuinely enjoy the teaching part of it.”

Once Rasca had found her passion for teaching English, she soon moved on to teach at many different high schools. She moved to Oregon where she was able to teach at many high schools.

“I got married, moved to Oregon where my husband [Joe Rasca] is from, and started teaching up there,” Rasca said. “I worked for the second largest district in the state [Salem-Keizer School District]. There’s a lot of different high schools, I got to experience a couple of different high schools there. It was good for a while, until it wasn’t anymore.”

There was a specific school year when teaching in Oregon really took its toll on her.

“Last year was a really hard teaching year for me at a totally different school district up in Oregon, and that was the first year where it was ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,” Rasca said. “But underneath it all, I still wanted to teach, just maybe not here.”

Rasca knew that she still wanted to teach, but not where she currently was. It was then that she saw an opening at Coppell and took it. Things then started to look good for her, and the passion for teaching she had before had returned.

For Rasca, Coppell has had an impact on her life in large ways. Because of her experience as a student and what she got to be a part of, CHS will always be home for her.

“There’s something about being home that just feels really good,” Rasca said. “There was something about coming back to teach at Coppell that just feels a little bit like home. There’s always something new to find out about the school.”

Rasca has already started having an impact on her students and teachers. During a few of Rasca’s English classes, she is aided by In-class-support teacher Esther Gomez Splawn. This school year is also Splawn’s first year teaching at CHS. 

“She loves her subject, she’s very passionate about it,” Splawn said. “She is really into making sure that her students actually like reading and literature, and pursue their own connections with it. What I really appreciate about her is that she puts literature and reading upfront. She’s not under pressure to push a certain type of curriculum. She makes stuff her own, so that way students detect an authenticity for her in terms of how she teaches, what she cares about, and just making their own connections to the material and owning it themselves.”

Rasca also had her own inspirations that made her want to teach English at Coppell, notably her English GT teacher, Monica Winters, from her junior and senior years. 

“She had this really calm personality and this way of getting you to think without it being scary,” Rasca said. “She was one of the influences. I’ve had lots of good teachers that made a difference.” 

With her passion for literature, Rasca wants to make her classes enjoyable and to really have students wanting to learn about it and be excited for both the juniors and seniors that she teaches. It is not always easy for students to be into literature and want to read or write. But Rasca finds ways to make it so that it’s not overwhelming but welcoming.

“I love how open it is, and how engaging she makes the class,” Coppell senior Fiona Dabiri said. “I also like how she does trivia questions at the beginning of class. It isn’t as awkward or as much tension in the class before she actually gets to the lesson. It’s kind of like work hard, play hard.”

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