The Purple Pulse

The Purple Pulse

The Purple Pulse


Is Your Vehicle Reliable?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

10 Questions with…Chemistry teacher Kristen Garavaglia

Emily Overton

Kristen Garavaglia arrived at WHS in 2011 to begin her first year of teaching. She has been working at WHS ever since and teaches basic chemistry, organic chemistry, honors chemistry, and analytical chemistry. Garavaglia began the club Women of Woodhaven (W.O.W) in 2017, and it has taught and supported many girls throughout their years in high school. W.O.W. celebrates Women’s History Month and hosts an annual hygiene drive for the school. While most people know Garavaglia, who they call Mrs. G, as their chemistry teacher, here are 10 questions to get to know her as more than that. 

What made you realize that you wanted to become a teacher? Did anyone specifically inspire you?

I decided to become a teacher so that I could try to be a positive role model for students who need one. I try to be the person that I needed when I was in high school for the students at WHS. My high school chemistry teacher was a really good role model in my life, and at that time in my life I wanted to grow up to be her. I don’t know if I wanted to be her for students or if I thought that she just had her life all put together. 

How have your students changed your life for the better?

Students have pushed me to view the world with more compassion, kindness, and love. Students have taught me to assume best intentions from people and pushed me to meet every situation with understanding. I’ve learned a lot about being patient, open, and understanding with people and how rewarding that is in relationships. The more that I can treat people, specifically my students, with kindness and understanding, the better my relationships are with them.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you during your time at WHS?

I bled once during the student vs. staff Quiz Bowl match due to a pencil wound to the hand. I also walked into the glass windows of the PBLZ once in front of an entire class.

What inspired you to create WOW? What has WOW taught you over the years?

There was a specific student named Quinn who wanted to start the club. She asked me to be the advisor and I agreed. Being in charge of the club allowed me to really see things from a different perspective. Throughout doing WOW, I have really deepened my beliefs in women’s rights and how the patriarchy affects women, men, and people of all genders. 

If you could pass any wisdom to your students, what would it be, and why?

My advice for students is that life is about experiences, so always prioritize them. Try not to let things hold you back from going to the events you want to go to or spending time with the people you love.

How do you hope students remember you and your class?

I hope that my students remember feeling comfortable and cared for in my classes. I hope I taught them how to feel safe making mistakes and how to learn from those mistakes and do better in the future.

What were you like in highschool? If you were to be given a superlative when you were in school, what would it be? 

I was super smart and hardworking, but I was not like the typical smart kid. I was lacking good role models. Because of my home life I was seeking validation from my teachers, so I would say that’s why I was a teacher’s pet. In high school I was probably seen as the most “over the top” or the “teacher’s pet”.

Is there a quote or saying that you live your life by? Why does it resonate with you? 

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” -Tory Belleci. I tend to do everything in my life way over the top, like I have a hard time doing things halfway, so that’s probably why I was a good student. I don’t like putting in less than my full effort in things, so for example we had an event for WOW, so if I’m going to put effort into this event then I’m going to put my whole heart and soul into it. I don’t really know if it’s intentional, but I’m going to put everything into something whether I like it or not.

Why do you look up to Taylor Swift so much? And what has she instilled in your life to make you better?

I really relate to a lot of Taylor Swift’s music and I admire her for reclaiming her work. But what I love most about Taylor Swift is the embracing of girlhood. For so long, it has been difficult for women to celebrate femininity. Women’s interests were seen as less important in music and media. Being at the Eras tour in a place filled with mostly women and centered around things women love is one of my favorite experiences.

What are some of your hobbies outside of school?

Outside of school I like to read mostly romance books, and I like to read whenever I have downtime so I’ll always have a book that I’m reading. My husband and I exercise everyday after work together, and that’s just because I’m anxious. We also do it to connect with each other, so it’s good for my marriage and for my anxiety. My family likes to geocache and bike ride together. It really helps us to connect outside and away from our phones and all of that. Our bike rides generally always involve ice cream, so we’ll ride our bikes somewhere to get ice cream and then ride our bikes home.

More to Discover