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The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

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The Review

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A new chapter: Rosie Beniretto retires after 47 years of service

Many of Rosie Beniretto’s co-workers refer to her as a history book–and not just because of her former role as a Middle School History teacher. Since 1977, Beniretto has been an integral part of the School’s faculty and staff, both proposing and participating in various new ideas and programs. Now, after 47 years of aiding and developing the School, Beniretto is retiring. 

Beniretto was born in Houston and spent her formative years attending various Catholic schools. At only 13, she became her teacher’s honorary substitute, stepping in to instruct the 87 students in the class. 

“I was already teaching my younger siblings at that time,” Beniretto said. “Teaching always seemed so natural.” 

After graduating high school, she joined the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province. 

“We had wonderful people who were intelligent, thoughtful and deep there,” Beniretto said. “They really emphasized that we should not just memorize, but also understand. So that’s what I try to get my students to do.” 

Following five years as a nun, Beniretto decided to transition to teaching in March of 1968. She taught at various Catholic schools for nine years before moving to St John’s in 1977. 

“The convent was a wonderful experience and supported me throughout my whole life,” Beniretto said. “But I realized that it was time for me to move on.” 

Beniretto was originally hired for material development. As the School expanded, Beniretto helped transition class locations and enhance the school curriculum. 

As she continued to aid the school in its expansion, Beniretto began instructing various grade levels. When she was assigned to teach both sixth and eighth grade classes, Beniretto had to run back and forth across the Avery-Glasgow tunnel to get from the Lower School sixth grade class to the Middle School eighth grade class.

“I lost a lot of weight that year,” she said with a chuckle.

Outside of her teaching role, Beniretto was instrumental in writing and producing the Spring Show, the annual musical of the Lower School choir. She recalls that Da Vinci, a period students now used for clubs and ensembles, was originally created so that students could practice for the Spring Show. 

Throughout her 47 years of teaching, Beniretto has witnessed many major history events firsthand, some of which have unfolded during her classes. During the Challenger flight, in which a U.S. space shuttle exploded, Beniretto was teaching lower school history. When she switched on the TV broadcast to screen the historic flight, the last thing she expected was for the rocket to burst into flames. The class watched in disbelief as the explosion replayed on screen. 

“One of the girls told me to wait, saying that maybe they would make it that time,” Beniretto said. “I had just witnessed the hope of a child, and that kept me going.”

After garnering experience teaching both middle and lower school students in a variety of subjects, Beniretto transitioned to teaching Middle School history classes. Soon after, Beniretto assumed her role as a Class 8 Civics teacher, one she would hold for the next five years.

As a civics teacher, Beniretto strived to not only develop her students academically, but also mentally. 

Beniretto integrated mental health into every class she taught, often using guided breathing breaks and wellness activities to soothe an anxious class before a big exam or presentation. When she taught world history, she led a one-hour meditation class during the Ancient China unit.

“She was practicing mindfulness before it was cool,” fellow History teacher Ganesa Collins said.

Beniretto’s focus on mental health led her to impact many students’ lives.

When one of her former students was tasked with drawing a photo of something that inspired him, he drew a writing portfolio that Beniretto had gifted him in fifth grade. Shortly thereafter, he emailed her to express his gratitude.  

Another student, whose parents went through a divorce during their eighth grade year, wrote to Beniretto to express gratitude for providing support both mentally and academically.

“It’s when you get those kinds of letters that you go, ‘well, I guess I didn’t do so badly,’” Beniretto said.

To stay relevant in the constantly evolving teaching landscape, Beniretto always prioritized adaptability. She was the first Middle School teacher to develop and utilize a website to optimize efficiency in class. 

“She was the first to really embrace technology,” Collins said. “She pushed through the mental muscle and the barriers from the very beginning.”

In addition to prioritizing sympathy and consideration, Beniretto made sure to emphasize discipline and teach her students the importance of rules.  

“A lot of us take her for granted,” Collins said. “She was unwavering in enforcing rules, so when she leaves, there will be a gap in the Middle School when it comes to discipline and structure.” 

According to Collins, the history department may face challenges in Beniretto’s absence.

“She barely missed any days of school – she was always here. That’s just a testament to the fact that she loved what she did.”

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Eshna Das
Eshna Das, Online Section Editor
Eshna Das ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman.  She loves the color purple and has both a pet dog and a pet cat (no, they don't get along).
Bella Dodig
Bella Dodig, Staff Writer
Bella Dodig ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. She plays volleyball and loves all things grape-flavored. 

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  • D

    Deidre BergeronJun 17, 2024 at 9:44 AM

    Over the 12 year I worked with her, when something new was being proposed or changes were afoot, I would ask Mrs. Beniretto her thoughts. More time than not, she would have a story about how the school had tried something similar before. However, she never discouraged the change; she shared her insights and adapted.

    She taught me that as trends in education come and go, the only thing that remains the same is what middle school kids need from the adults around them: consistency, understanding and care.

    Reply