School Paraprofessional Moves One Step Closer to Dream Job
From the time she was in second grade, Meghan La Chappelle ’13 knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her teacher at Robinson Park Elementary School, Mrs. Pellegrino, inspired the Agawam native to pursue a career in education.
After attending college in eastern Massachusetts for a few years, Meghan transferred to Holyoke Community College and eventually earned an associate’s degree in early childhood education in 2011. She enrolled in the Elms College/HCC degree completion program for early childhood leadership. Along with her five classmates in the program, Meghan spent every Saturday from August 2011 to August 2013 on the HCC campus working toward a bachelor’s degree.
“We were like a family by the end. We threw Cheri a baby shower; Gloria is like a second mother to me; and Karen lives in Agawam so we always met up to study together. Everyone was always available to help each other, even during the week,” Meghan said. “I was the only paraprofessional–the others were teachers–and they gave me a lot of advice while I brought a different perspective to our classroom discussions.”
As a paraprofessional, Meghan works one-on-one with preschoolers who have autism–one in the morning, one in the afternoon. After school, she meets her afternoon student at his home where she serves as his personal care assistant.
The first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, Meghan plans to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) this summer and enroll in the Elms College Master of Arts in Education (M.Ed.) degree program. She eventually wants to open her own daycare facility, but will spend a few years working up the ranks first.