Tales of a nomad


Patrick Cox

Looking into the plastic container, long-term substitute teacher Hannah Reyes describes each object’s state of decay to the wildlife biology class at the outdoor nature site. The students take notes for a project in their wildlife biology class about the effects of various types of landfills. Afterward, junior Gage Place, sophomore Toby French, freshmen Clayton Allen and sophomore Morgan Payne discuss with Reyes what landfill type they believe causes the most harm to the environment.

In the name of a good photo Hannah Reyes put her life on the line.

She did this by capturing a photo of a white rhinoceros sleeping, little to her knowledge, that rhino was a mother protecting her calf. Since rhinos are naturally curious creatures, the mother was immediately awoken by the clicks of the camera and came towards Reyes.

As the cow made the tell-tale signs of charging, Reyes ran as fast as she could trying to find any sort of shelter. She resorted to diving into an acacia bush for refuge from the 4,000 pound beast, waiting for hours, praying the creature would leave.

Thanks to her many experiences that deal with dangerous animals and even more harm inducing humans, Reyes has gained wisdom that helps students in times of need with advice that a teen will actually listen to and follow.

She is a long-term substitute teacher who is replacing science teacher Laura Bell for the current semester and possibly the next.  

Reyes describes her life with one word, “nomadic.”

She has lived in more than ten countries throughout her life, such as South Africa and Mozambique. Each one has varied greatly.

Reyes tends to group her many temporary residences into developing countries and developed countries. “There’s an aspect of community spirit that is more typical in developing countries, and so I tend to favor those for that reason; however, they also lack, sometimes, basic sanitation and things like that, which you value those things, too, as soon as you don’t have them,” Reyes said.

Reyes’s opinion of her favorite place forever changes. “Today, I miss Yorkshire the most, but if you asked me two nights ago, I was really missing South African food. I was also missing politics in Africa, because I think that it’s not so important to people there, like, we understand that it’s there but it would never take over a larger goal for the country, and if you ask me this question next week, it’ll be something different,” Reyes said.

One of the major beliefs Reyes has is that knowledge should be given to all willing to listen. “My responsibility is to help other people who have not had that education and to share it with them. I hate that knowledge has to be paid for, so I like to share,” Reyes said.

Although Reyes teaches many school subjects such as wildlife biology, anatomy and computer sciences, she does something even more important: On multiple occasions Reyes has been called upon by students in need for advice on how to move forward in whatever difficult situation they are in.

Freshman Abigail Douglas has been affected by Reyes in a positive way.

“When things were going on at home, she just gave me good advice, like when she gave that example of that sometimes diamonds have to go under tremendous amounts of pressure to become beautiful. That was something that really stuck with me and helped me get through my situation,” Douglas said.

Reyes has lost two friends to suicide.

She remembers both of these people, Wax and Chris, had helped their communities throughout high school and were genuine human beings.

They both committed suicide shortly after they graduated from high school. Over the years, Reyes has often looked back on these awful tragedies and wonders what pushed these two beautiful souls to do such an act. Thinking back on what signs she can find in their behavior has helped her learn that if Wax and Chris just held out for a little bit longer, they would’ve seen that there was hope and light still in this world. This realization has helped her give advice to students who feel like her friends did.

Reyes gave this piece of advice to the student body as a whole and anyone else who may read this article. “Persevere. There is always going to be a challenge in front of you, and it might be an academic one. It might be a personal one. You grow as a person with each one of those challenges. And, it’s not to say you shrink as a person if you don’t persevere through them, but sometimes it’s a missed opportunity. It’s an opportunity for somebody you would’ve become.”