Mrs. Tarantino is revved up for retirement

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Mrs. Tarantino is revved up for retirement

(from left) Cynthia Carney,  Rachel Rex, Andrea Tarantino, and Charmaine Champagne, pose for a photo

(from left) Cynthia Carney, Rachel Rex, Andrea Tarantino, and Charmaine Champagne, pose for a photo

Emily Palk

(from left) Cynthia Carney, Rachel Rex, Andrea Tarantino, and Charmaine Champagne, pose for a photo

Emily Palk

Emily Palk

(from left) Cynthia Carney, Rachel Rex, Andrea Tarantino, and Charmaine Champagne, pose for a photo

MILA BARRY, Staff Writer

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With retirement in sight, history teacher Andrea Tarantino is looking forward to a change of pace. But unlike most retirees, she’s not looking to slow things down.  After 26 years at GHS, she plans to move to Florida where she and her husband will ride with the Gulf Thunder Riders Motorcycle club.  

“My husband and I have Harley-Davidson Road Kings in Florida,” Tarantino said, “We belong to a riding club. It’s not a motorcycle gang; our motto is ‘we ride to eat’.  The average age is 70, so I’m actually like the baby at 61.”

Tarantino’s journey as an educator has been both long and rewarding.  She was inspired to teach by her daughter, for whom she hoped to set a positive example.

“My daughter told me when she was 7 that she wanted to grow up to be a waitress just like me.  So I decided to set a better example for her. I was interested in history, and I graduated from Salem State in 1991.”

After becoming certified to teach, Tarantino came to GHS seeking a position.  She attended the school in her teenage years and spent most of her childhood in Gloucester.

“I have a soft spot for this place,” Tarantino explained.  Though she had to wait two years for an opening, she was eventually hired.  

“That year, my daughter and I started high school together,” Tarantino said, “I was a freshman teacher and she was a freshman student.”

Over the course of the last two decades Tarantino has really found her niche at GHS.  She works mainly with GHS’s English language learners (ELL students), with whom she feels a personal connection.

“When I came here at age 5, I didn’t speak English; I came from Germany.  There was no help for kids (who didn’t speak English) at school back then,” she explained, “With the influx of ELL students I have really found my place.”

Working here has allowed her to come full circle in other aspects of her life as well.  After entering the high school with her daughter, she got to watch her graduate and continue onto college and a successful career.

“The day I got to give my daughter her diploma was my greatest moment as an educator,” Tarantino said.

But this won’t be the last Gloucester sees of the beloved history teacher.  Of all the things she will be leaving behind, she will miss her students the most.  

“I’ve always said that I have the best job in the world.  I get to spend all day with teenagers–I really enjoy their company–but I don’t have to take any of them home and feed them.”

She plans to visit the northeast frequently after her move to Florida, both to see Gloucester and to visit her grandchildren.  

“I’ll be back,” Tarantino said, “The island will always be my home.  I’ve been here a long time.”

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