The beige couch came from her sister’s apartment at Harvard Business School in the ’80s, the plaid red couch from Head of School Barbara Wagner’s old office, the yellow cushioned chairs from Middle School Director Robert Bryan’s old office and the grey armchairs from the old junior gallery. English instructor Susan Cope inherited this comfortably furnished room from former English instructor Jeff Girion (Schuyler ’12) when she began teaching at Marlborough and said she has “perpetuated and expanded it.” Soon, however, these cast-off pieces of furniture may have to find a new home, yet again; after 19 years of inspiring students in her English and film classes, Cope will retire at the end of the 2010-11 school year.
Cope has taught all three years of middle school English, senior English electives and film classes through the Visual Arts Department and now hopes to spend time on a writing project and join an environmental organization.
Cope said it is difficult to pin-point any one favorite Marlborough moment, as she has too many to count.
“Everyone is surrounded by those backlight glows you set in memory,” Cope said. Students and colleagues alike said they have been impacted by their time with her.
Sarah Y. ’11, who took English I, Film History and The 21st Century Novel with Cope, said that Cope helped her adjust to the new environment when she came in 9th Grade.
“She was my most helpful teacher that year, not only in the classroom, helping me with writing and meetings, but just the simple things. She’d ask me how my day was going, other things I was into,” Sarah Y. said.
Soojung ’16 said she appreciated how Cope accepted her negative opinions on the book I Capture the Castle. She said she will miss how Cope cared for her students.
“Even though it was my first year here, she really made me feel comfortable,” Soojung said.
English instructor Chris Thompson said that when he started teaching at Marlborough two years ago, Cope let him in on some common student excuses and white lies to look out for.
“She’s an optimistic spirit about things and has a great sense of humor,” he said. This year the two began carpooling to school. According to Thompson, Cope always carries dog treats in her car in case she encounters a friend’s pet; ever since Thompson’s dog learned about the treats, he barks and jumps up whenever she drives by.
Cope said she will miss Marlborough but believes in its future.
“I would say that Marlborough today is at the best place I have ever seen. It’s a very wonderful place to be as a teacher and as a student. The mutual respect, the warmth, the sense of seriousness and the sense of fun all seem to be present and balanced,” Cope said.
Jessica Chantreuil, who currently teaches at The Webb Schools in Claremont, CA, will assume Cope’s position next fall.