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Columbia High School teachers giving back to their community

The high school has multiple teachers who grew up in the area, went to school there, and are now giving back to their community.
Credit: Rebecca Ohrel

COLUMBIA, Pa. — When students graduate high school, oftentimes they go off to gain new experiences and travel the world. For Rebecca Ohrel, that was certainly the case.

“I went to Millersville, but as soon as I was done at Millersville I wanted out of Columbia, I wanted to travel. I was a marine biologist I wanted to be on a boat somewhere," says Ohrel.

However, life has a funny way of coming full circle. Ohrel now teaches biology at Columbia High School. And her coworkers? Mark Wisler, a math teacher, was in her high school graduating class. And Jodie Eck, an English teacher, grew up just down the road in Lancaster.

“For me it feels like giving back. Columbia is a very tight knit community," Eck tells Fox43. "And you either know everyone on some level or you recognize people from Columbia and it’s nice to know that when you're teaching here you’re giving back to the community.”

All three teachers have been at Columbia High School for about 20 years. This has given them a unique perspective to watch their students grow.

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“My favorite part about teaching where I live is, and we’ve all talked about this before, is not even so much when the kids are here, which is awesome, but when you watch where they go after they graduate and the amazing things that our kids do," says Ohrel. She also loves having the opportunity to teach her own kids and see them learn from her friends and coworkers as well.

Living in a small town like Columbia comes with a lot of benefits too, like the support the community shows for the school’s academics and sports programs.

“The school and the sports are a focus of the town because we’re one community, we’re one borough," Mark Wisler tells Fox43. "You go anywhere and people are asking about the school or the sports or whatever is going on up here.”

This group of teachers loves seeing their students make connections and succeed in the classroom, and you never know, they might be teaching future teachers as well.