Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Jan. 6, 2005

Nestuk, Lauren

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor

Name: Lauren Nestuk
Department: English
Education: Bachelor's from Elmhurst College, and Master's from National-Louis University
Came to Blair in: 2004
Previous Jobs: marketing assistant for the Jardine Lloyd Thompson group, production editor for Publications International, teacher at Plainfield High School and Gemini Junior High School
Hobbies: watching TV and movies, reading, hanging out with friends, holiday crafts (i.e. cross-stitch)

The class crowds their teacher's desk as a student turns on the switch to the overhead projector to shine the "spotlight" at the teacher's eyes. Three boys with ear-to-ear smiles advance forward, carrying a plastic fork, a plastic knife and a shoebox covered with Christmas wrapping paper - except it's not Christmas, and there aren't shoes inside the shoebox. English teacher Lauren Nestuk hesitantly opens the box, only to find it filled with spaghetti.

Two years later, with her short black hair with maple highlights and her black, oval glasses, Nestuk sits at a table at Blair in room 342 and laughs while reminiscing over her most memorable teaching experience: getting pasta as a birthday present and being expected to eat it in front of the class. Fortunately, she bargained herself out of any danger. Nestuk told her class that anyone who ate two bites of spaghetti would be excused from the composition homework. "I thought, 'If I'm going down, they're going with me. We're all going to the hospital,'" she exclaims.

Nestuk has had a passion for English ever since high school. Nestuk is an avid reader and enjoys picking apart books and having conversations about them. "If I read something," she says, "I like discussing [the book] with someone." Besides teaching English, Nestuk is the new lead teacher in the Media Literacy Academy. "I'm learning as I go," she says. At this point, Nestuk is trying to expand the academy by gathering ideas from teachers about their goals and creating a mission for the academy. Right now, there are three strands in Media Literacy: performance, visual and mass media. Nestuk's goal is to bring the three together to overlap in some areas. Her current project includes working on a new "Media in Society" course, targeted at juniors.

Born in New Jersey, Nestuk moved with her family to Illinois at the age of 10. Though she found the transition difficult, she recognizes that it would have been harder if she had been older and in high school.

After her father passed away, Nestuk decided to stay in a small college in Illinois. Nestuk graduated and became a media studies teacher at Plainfield High School, a reading teacher at Gemini Junior High School and a creative writing teacher at both Illinois schools. However, Nestuk wasn't always a teacher. After doing her major in communications and minor in English, Nestuk worked in a cubicle as a marketing assistant at the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group in Chicago. The organization is a small branch of an England-based insurance company. She switched jobs to become a production editor of children's books at Publications International and worked the day shift while attending grad-school at night.

Then, in August 2004, she moved to Montgomery County to be closer to her sister's family. "I've always been thinking in the back of my mind, 'Would I want to start heading east again?'" she says. Nestuk considers herself to be in a make-or-break situation, since this is the time in her life when she must commit to a career. She believes that Blair, and Montgomery County in general, is a good place for her to pursue her job, due to its diverse and friendly environment. "Based on the other schools that I've taught at, and friends that teach at other places," she says, "[Blair] is a great school, and I've been lucky to be here."

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  • April Baxa (View Email) on December 20, 2005 at 3:08 AM
    Miss Nestuk was my Creative Writing teacher at Plainfield High School when I was a senior. Almost three years later, I remember everything she taught me and I still have my CW journal. She was an excellent asset to PHS's staff and it was unfortunate that she didn't stay. But it is wonderful seeing that she's in a position at another school that she's happy at. And MBHS is very lucky to have her. Good luck with everything, Lauren. And know that you have made an impact on your students, and that you will continue to do so.
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