The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Once a Gator, always a Gator: Xavier alumnae return to alma mater

After experiencing many years of Xavier and Brophy traditional school dances, Kate Boehm and Dani Richter show where it all began with senior prom in 2003. Imitating a disco pose, friends get ready for the dance. (Photo courtesy of Kate Boehm)

Xavier College Preparatory, a home to nearly 40 alumnae teachers and staff, originated the friendship of teachers Kate Boehm and Dani Richter. Both members of the graduating class of 2003 met in an English class, and that was the onset of their friendship. 

Alumnae who have returned to teach bring a special connection to students. They empathize with the personal experience of a student at Xavier and may be able to better grasp each individual and impart wisdom on an elevated level. 

While all graduates are successful in their own ways, Boehm and Richter are proof of Xavier’s strong influence on success. “There is a lot of confidence that comes from an all-girls school; every woman at Xavier is a leader,” says Boehm. However, this all-female environment is not the only component in raising empowered young women. 

Xavier holds a sense of pride. Embracing alumnae as teachers and staff, Xavier bonds its history and future. Confidence is formed by young Gators gathering a sense of respect in seeing alumnae guide them. 

In many private schools around the country, it is very common for several members of the staff to have graduated from the school where they teach. Xavier graduate and fine arts teacher, Brittanie Hockins, graduated in 2006. “Xavier kept me organized and taught me how to function as a productive member of society,” said Hockins. A private education often holds more than just academic rigor; it is also where character-building values are passed on. 

Having experienced the school first-hand, alumnae teachers are able to provide an inside perspective on the sense of community that Xavier provides. 

Xavier, a historic and tradition-based school, finds importance in the values that shaped its framework, like integrity, unity and faith. With alumnae teachers present in schools, traditions can be better preserved and strengthened. Boehm, Richter and Hockins embody the ideals that shaped them, which is often visible in the young women they are guiding. 

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Teachers are the main influence on a student’s academic growth. “I remember the way certain teachers made you feel seen and supported. I’m glad that I can be that to my students now,” said Boehm.

These teachers have a rare ability to encourage the school’s unity. They understand the common pressures and stress that high school brings. At a challenging institution such as Xavier College Preparatory, a nurturing environment is needed, and these teachers deliver that to their students. 

Despite changes throughout the years, Xavier will forever hold the core values that are prominent in the growth of a young woman. The consistency of standards that students are expected to meet have stayed the same. 

But even the small things that have changed from the past make Xavier’s character what it is today. “The decorations around school, the options for electives provided, and even the sweatshirts the girls wear are all much cuter,” says Richter. Time makes room for improvement, and Xavier has made these changes to encourage a pleasant environment. 

Although having alumnae as teachers brings many benefits, it also may pose challenges at times. Sometimes these alumnae have to handle the unique experience of differentiating their time as former students, and being seen as authoritative figures. While their most formative years were spent on Xavier’s campus, Boehm, Richter and Hockins now are the faculty members that they once looked up to. In the long run, however, teachers are able to connect with students with an impact that broadens far beyond the classroom. 

Interestingly enough, Boehm and Richter both did not expect to come back to their alma mater. 

“I thought about teaching in an abstract sense. I was very shy at that age and did not think I could talk in front of many people,” Richter says. If it was not for Richter’s career path towards education, neither of them would have been back in their familiar high school home. 

“The way I got here was Ms. Richter— she and I were best friends in high school and we stayed best friends,” says Boehm. Now they and Hockins find themselves inspiring young women who provide a glimpse from their youth. 

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