The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Circle of Life: TAS alumni teachers

TAS Side Story: Ms Kao starred in the TAS production of West Side Story as the lead role of Maria.

TAS Side Story:  Ms Kao starred in the TAS production of West Side Story as the lead role of Maria.

TAS Side Story: Ms Kao starred in the TAS production of West Side Story as the lead role of Maria.

If TAS is a bridge that leads to the greater world, several of our current teachers, after reaching the other side, decided to turn around and walk straight back.

Our four prodigal daughters are Mrs Cheryl Lagerquist in the dance department, Ms Monica Lin in the English department, Ms Michello Kao in the art department, and Ms Eveyln Chen in the science department.

Art teacher Ms Kao decided to come back to Taiwan because she “missed [her] family and wanted to stay near them, but not necessarily in the same house.” Before becoming a full time teacher at TAS, she took on various jobs such as managing a studio, translating a Chinese book about politics into English, and illustrating books.

For biology teacher Ms Chen, returning to Taiwan was a decision she always wanted to make. “There is a difference between visiting Taiwan for about a week or so to see parents and to actually live here,” she says. After she completed her research on neuroscience and education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, she moved back to Taiwan for the next chapter of her life.

Ms Chen enjoys discovering new cafes and restaurants around Taipei while introducing her favorites to her colleagues at TAS.

In Ms Chen’s memories, the cafeteria still remains the same as it was when she was a freshman. For her, “Mr O’Neal, who arrived at TAS at the end of [her] high school years, revolutionized the cafeteria by introducing new menus and pastry items, such as the twisted croissant with blueberries on top of it.” Before, the food was edible, but not really memorable.

Spirit Week also hasn’t changed much in ten years ago. Ms Chen adds that “freshmen will always be shy and innocent, while seniors will always think they’re on the top of the world. That doesn’t change.”

While many aspects of TAS have remained the same, others have changed drastically. According to Ms Kao, teachers were “much older” than many of our current faculty members. Because of the age difference, she says they were “that much harder to relate to.”

In addition, “there were very few IB diploma candidates back then,” Ms Kao added. Now, there are close to 60 candidates. Ms Kao joked that her “high school life wasn’t as stressed” as it is today.

Technology use has also changed rapidly in the past 10 years. Ms Chen recalls that “phones were not allowed anywhere near the classroom” when she was in high school. Now, it is common to see students whip out their iPhones to take photos of homework or interesting slides under the microscope.

Unlike technology, Mr Arnold, who teaches US history and Mr Orensky, who teaches chemistry, never seem to change. Ms Kao, laughing, says that “I didn’t have Mr Arnold for US history but I had Mr Orensky as my chemistry teacher. You can probably ask him how I fared in chemistry.”

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