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Monica McCarthy, long-time middle-school Spanish teacher, has left the school to take care of her mother. It is uncertain whether she will return next year. (Photo by Daniel Hernried)

It was silent in the room following Monica McCarthy’s voice explaining the instructions for the quiz, when suddenly a student in the back pulled a party popper, making a shotgun-like sound.

That’s the story McCarthy remembers best from her 12 years teaching middle-school Spanish at SCDS.

McCarthy left the school in June to spend the year in San Francisco helping  her 88-year-old mother.

At SCDS she taught sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish.

“I will miss working with the wonderful teachers as well as going on the class trips,” McCarthy said.

When McCarthy first began teaching, she was helped by former Spanish teacher Etelvina Ochoa, the previous sixth, seventh and eighth grade Spanish teacher. Ochoa gave McCarthy advice on teaching and organization. She also told McCarthy to raise the bar so that her students would always push themselves.

McCarthy said she will miss getting to know the students and seeing their progression in Spanish. She hopes that the new teacher will continue to push the students.

McCarthy’s former students remember her high expectations.

The Octagon   A Sacramento Country Day School Newspaper“I remember performing funny skits while speaking Spanish,” freshman Christian Van Vleck said. “(McCarthy) would push us more and more because she just wanted us to keep learning and never stop.”

“All the Spanish I know today was learned in that class.”

McCarthy said she loved going to Washington, D.C., with the eighth-grade grade classes, but she thought the 2012 trip was the most memorable, because the students were cooperative and a good group to be with.

It was senior Patrick Talamantes who pulled that popper in class four years ago.

“I found the popper in my house and I thought it would be funny to pull it,” Talamantes said.

“Even though I got a lunch detention, it was still pretty funny.”

McCarthy agrees, even though her loud screams were reportedly heard two rooms away.

Now McCarthy spends half her time in Davis and the other half in San Francisco, enjoying walks in Chinatown and going to the marina. She said she is unsure whether she will return to SCDS next year.

Correction: The Octagon apologizes for previously putting up a wrong photo of Amanda Ramirez. The person in the previous photo was middle-school English teacher Kathryn LaComb.

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