top of page

Waverly English teacher, Theresa Roscetti, clearly has tremendous respect for Faith Hemes. As her sponsor, she has had a front row seat to Faith’s growth and development over the past four years and has watched her evolve as both a student and a person.

A Steady
Ready to Fly

Naturally analytical, Faith has gradually cultivated her creativity through the Humanities (with a steady encouragement from Ms. Roscetti). Her quiet, but solid, leadership has impacted her fellow students. Whether in her role as Student Council President or as center for the girls’ volleyball team, Faith works hard and inspires others to do the same. 

When the most important people in his life were confronted by the worst, he borrowed the shape of their strength.

Mrs. Roscetti loves teaching and loves Waverly. She proudly announces that she recently bought a house and moved to town. The small, tight-knit community feels like home. Much like folks in the small town she grew up in, Waverly residents celebrate their community and are active participants in its activities and traditions. This civic pride is evident in the fact that many young people, including Faith, want to go out into the world to gain experience and an education but are firm that they plan to return to settle in Waverly. 


We are interrupted by a student’s voice over the loudspeaker, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and a flurry of announcements. Mrs. Roscetti laughs while Faith remains serious and stares straight into the camera. The young woman seems to have a keen ability to ignore distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. We can picture her following a volleyball with that steady gaze, waiting for just the right moment to set up a pass to one of her teammates. The center position is like the strong core of the group, positioning others to win the point with a hit or a flashy spike. Faith says that she used to feel a bit underappreciated in this role, but over time she has come to understand that her plays are an essential part of the whole. We imagine that this thinking is an apt metaphor for her leadership style. She doesn’t need to be in the spotlight, but creates the conditions for others to shine in their own way and time. 


Mrs. Roscetti’s pride swells again as she emphasizes how impressed she is with Faith’s quiet, mature leadership. She observes how students and teachers alike respond to and respect the young woman. When asked what motivates her to “get out of bed in the morning,” Faith replies that her goal is to do her best and help better the community. When asked what she might do with a magic wand, Faith says that she would feed the hungry and house the homeless. This sense of purpose and desire to help others has inspired Faith to want to become a speech therapist, a career which she plans to prepare for by getting her degree at Illinois State University. 


Guessing how Mrs. Roscetti might use her magic wand, Faith says that she thinks she would ask her students to “jump off the cliff.” This is her metaphor for taking risks, something she thinks is essential to finding yourself and living a full life. While Mrs. Roscetti doesn’t disagree, she would like them to make that leap without any electronic devices—which she believes get in the way of being creative and dreaming. She clearly wants to see all of her students dream and explore the wider world. But she wouldn’t mind seeing them eventually find their way back to Waverly so she could greet them in the bleachers at a future girls’ basketball game!


It has been an honor to meet this wonderful student/teacher pair. They exemplify the very best of what small schools and communities like Waverly can offer: opportunities for connection and growth, a safe space from which to learn how to fly, and a welcoming nest to return to.

By Lisa Cannon
bottom of page