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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

New Year, New Me: THS Teachers’ New Year’s Resolutions

New Year, New Me: THS Teachers’ New Years Resolutions
Harvard Health

With the start of the new year, the first task to complete is typically to come up with New Year’s resolutions so that you can work on becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Amid the hectic nature of high school, making New Year’s resolutions is crucial to managing our academic and personal lives. However, we may sometimes forget that teachers are individuals who want to improve, too. Naturally, teachers are also making New Year’s resolutions, and their advice can be helpful for students, too. Let’s see what some THS teachers had to say regarding their resolutions for 2024.


Mr: Kolb:

Both a whiz in the laboratory and his personal life, science teacher Mr. Kolb expresses the significance of self-care in his resolution. 

“[My] New Year’s resolution this year is to be better about self-care,” Kolb said. “Every worker understands the importance of keeping your tools in good condition, but we tend to forget that your body is your most important tool.” 

With his inspirational advice, Kolb reminds us that without our bodies, we can’t do anything. He emphasizes that because it is such a crucial part of our being, we need to make sure that we take care of it! This includes sleeping enough, making sure to eat breakfast, and other things we think are minor but are fundamental for our body to function properly. 

Mr. Whitehead: 

Mr. Whitehead, an English teacher, says that his New Year’s resolution is more directed toward the rules of the road. Unlike the pace of his AP Lang class, his New Year resolves to take things slowly and just enjoy the experience.

“My new year’s resolution is to drive more slowly and defensively,” Whitehead said. “There’s no rush to get to where I’m going. I’m hoping to just slow down and enjoy the ride.”

With many drivers at THS, everyone needs to listen to Mr. Whitehead’s advice about driving safely. It’s a good thing to be extra safe, so follow his inspiration. The multitude of academically ambitious students at THS could also benefit from slowing down and enjoying the ride.

Mr. Nyfenger: 

THS’s favorite psychology teacher provides insight on the wonders of the human mind daily, but in doing that, he sometimes loses sight of the importance of the physical aspect of his health. However, this year, Nyfenger plans on altering that aspect of his life in 2024 by limiting his sugar intake. 

“My new year’s resolution is to eat less sugar,” Nyfenger said. “It sounds kind of lame, but I really do eat too much of it.  I’m going to start by eliminating it from my morning coffee and go from there!” 

If you also eat a lot of sugar, this New Year’s resolution could be helpful for you. Of course, having a balanced diet means having healthy foods with a reasonable amount of sweets, so don’t be too nervous about not eating any sugar at all. 

Ms. Capone:

THS Teen PEP and PEERS leader Ms. Capone focuses her daily life on lifting others’ spirits by shaping a plethora of teenagers to grow into well-rounded individuals every day. However, her New Year’s resolution is more directed at her personal life concerning family time, as having a healthy familial relationship is superior to any other aspect of life, given that it provides a foundation for doing amazing things.

“[My] New Year’s Resolution [is to] spend more time at the gym and more time with family,” Capone said. “The gym to keep me in shape and healthy and family needs to come first above all things—you have to appreciate them and do your utmost to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.”

In addition, Capone is seen traveling the halls of THS every day during lunch. However, in 2024, she plans to go beyond those comforting hallways and explore the wonders that the globe has to offer along with her closest companion.

“[I hope] to start traveling again,” Capone said. “Since COVID, I have been very restricted in traveling, now it is time to go back and start exploring again with my daughter.” 

Mrs. Malanka: 

AP Seminar and senior English teacher Mrs. Malanka has a fresh perspective on resolutions, understanding that they don’t necessarily work toward an individual’s improvement due to the pressure associated with such. 

“For about the last 10-15 years, I’ve not been making a New Year’s resolution,” Malanka said.  “I think it creates unnecessary pressure to live up to the hype, and it was discouraging when, inevitably, my resolve weakened.”

As a result, Malanka plans on simply living her life, enjoying the moment, and becoming even more immersed in the great texts and projects she assigns.

“So, I suppose my ongoing resolution…is to treat the present moment, as often as I can manage, as an invitation to make a healthy choice,” Malanka said. “Sometimes that means doing less—or nothing at all—if it leads me toward a sense of peace.”

Malanka emphasizes the idea of finding a sense of inner peace and following what her body desires, which is absolutely something that we can all learn from and put to use in our 2024 year.

Ms. McKinnon: 

Even when she’s immersed in the United States in the 1700s in helping her students learn the important topic of history, Ms. McKinnon doesn’t fail to return to 2024 to set realistic resolutions for herself. She is primarily focused on expanding her palate and culinary skills this year,  whipping up a new masterpiece each week.

“Each week, I’m challenging myself to learn a new recipe, especially those from other cultures,” McKinnon said. “A few years ago, I transitioned to an almost entirely plant-based diet. Recently, I’ve found myself yearning for new flavors and techniques so I have been trying to refocus myself by learning new recipes.” 

If you like to cook, and you want to start having a plant-based diet too, then this is your sign to actually do it! It’s fun, fulfilling, healthy, and environmentally friendly. 

In addition, Ms. McKinnon emphasizes the importance of self-care and mental health, as learning about the past is quite tough when your current self isn’t in top condition. Following the common theme of self-care, Ms. McKinnon gives us valuable advice for our daily lives.

“In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook the importance of self-care,” McKinnon said.  “This year, I am committed to setting aside time each week for activities that rejuvenate my spirit. Whether it’s a serene walk, an invigorating exercise session, or spending cherished moments with my son, these activities are vital for maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.” 

Mrs. Agrawal:

THS math teacher Mrs. Agrawal spends her day-to-day life helping her students navigate the world of complex math and effortlessly makes it seem just a little bit easier. However, outside of the math classroom, she has a New Year’s Resolution that is less focused on the Pythagorean Theorem and more family and health-oriented.

“My New Year’s Resolution is to spend more time with my family, especially [with] my son, try to go to the gym more, and cook and bake more at home instead of eating out!” Mrs. Agrawal said.

Like Mrs. Agrawal, many should take 2024 to recognize the importance of family, who are always supportive. In addition, taking care of your body by exercising is helpful advice. Lastly, cooking and baking instead of eating out is monetarily helpful, as well as very fun!

Mrs. Woleslagle:

Chemistry and forensics teacher Mrs. Woleslagle has a very fulfilling life, always discovering more revelations in the chemistry lab and setting forth a path of success for each and every one of her students. However, her New Year’s resolution extends beyond the realm of science and is more about family.

“So, in terms of New Year’s resolutions…. I think mine is to enjoy more quality time with my husband and kids,” Woleslagle said.

Mrs. Woleslagle emphasizes the importance of family, as family provides us with those little sparks of joy in life that we need to keep moving forward. 

Mr. Jacobetz:

Band director Mr. Jacobetz invests his life and time into producing music for the world to enjoy. He produces jaw-dropping marching band performances annually, in addition to managing concert band season in a seemingly effortless manner. However, Jacobetz has acknowledged that he has neglected his own health in focusing so hard on his career as a teacher, band director, dad, and husband. Thus, he is going to devote his 2024 to caring more for himself.

“This is really cliche, but I would like to take better care of myself both mentally and physically,” Jacobetz said. “Trying to balance being a band director, a dad, and a husband is tough, especially in the fall. This past year has really brought the importance of mental health into perspective. When you’re in a leadership position and your focus is constantly on other people’s needs it’s very easy to lose sight of this.”

Similarly to Mr. Kolb, Mr. Jacobetz emphasizes that our body is a really crucial part of our being, thus, we need to make sure that we take care of it!

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About the Contributors
Maia Goldman
Maia Goldman, Staff Writer
Maia Goldman ('25) is excited to be writing for The Echo for this 2023-2024 school year! In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the Tenafly Tigers Marching Band, writing a plethora of creative stories, and watching the news. She aspires to be an international attorney someday.
Jacob Dardashti
Jacob Dardashti, Staff Writer
Jacob Dardashti (’25) is excited to write for The Echo. He likes to play tennis, bake, and travel. He looks forward to sharing his stories with an audience.