Extraordinary Educator: Ally Guay, Biddeford Intermediate School
Author: Abby Rioux
Published: Wednesday, 18 May 2022
Image caption: Ally Guay, Biddeford Intermediate School
Junior Achievement of Maine, in partnership with MEMIC, recognizes educators for their tremendous work, passion, grit, and perseverance. As role models and mentors, educators empower, motivate, and inspire students to envision a future of possibility. Join us for our 2nd annual Extraordinary Educators campaign as we take a closer look at Maine educators, their stories, their commitment to serving our youth, and the impact they have on students.
Ally Guay comes from a long line of educators. During graduate school she enjoyed her time substitute teaching and now works as the school counselor at Biddeford Intermediate School. She has the passion and energy needed in her role, evident to her students and colleagues alike. 4th grader Jack shares, "Mrs. Guay is the funniest, kindest, and [most] caring person I've ever had the pleasure to encounter. Her kindness shows throughout BIS, and we hope she stays here for many years to come." Teacher, Sandy Levecque, reiterates how fortunate BIS is to have Ally on their team, "Every time! Every time a student needs Mrs. Guay, she is there. She never seems too busy, and I don't know how she does that. She helps so many students. It's just incredible. We are so lucky to have her here at BIS."
Read further to learn about Ally and why she’s a 2022 "Extraordinary Educator".
What is a mantra you live by?
I truly believe that a day without laughter is a day wasted. I always try to incorporate fun things into my groups, classroom lessons, and individual sessions. I have several students who start their day by telling me a joke. It's one of my favorite parts of the day!
In what ways have your students surprised you this year?
My students' resilience has surprised me this year. I always knew they were tough but to see them overcome the academic and social/emotional obstacles that the pandemic has thrown their way has been inspiring. They are some of the strongest, hardest working people I know.
If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
If I could pass on any wisdom, it would be that tough times don't last. The problems that they are dealing with may feel like the end of the world, but they have people in their corner rooting for them and things will get better.
Share a moment when you felt most joyful or inspired about the work that you do.
We have a mentor program with the University of New England that has been running for many years where first and second year medical students are paired with a BIS student. We had to pause the program the last two years because of the pandemic, but we were able to bring it back this year. We coordinated an end of the year field trip for the mentees to visit their mentors on UNE's campus and after the visit, a student told me it was the best day of their life. Moments like that make all the hard work worth every minute.
Is there a memorable JA moment that resonates with you?
Now that I've experienced JA in a day, my most memorable moment would be speaking with our students after the day was over. So many of them learned new things that they had never been exposed to, like taxes. Something so simple yet so important! Many of our staff members reached out to sing the praises of the volunteers in their classroom. Both our staff and students loved the day, and it was such a cool experience to bring it to BIS!
Over 300 3rd and 4th grade students culminated their College and Career Week with a one-day event where students learned about different money choices, taxes, entrepreneurial traits, and how to start their own business. Since this is the first year Junior Achievement has come to BIS and Ally was “really looking forward to our students experiencing a different kind of learning with the volunteers.”
Thank you, Ally for serving Maine’s youth and empowering the next generation! Learn how you can get involved as an educator, volunteer, or corporate partner and truly make a difference.
By following our Extraordinary Educators campaign on JA's social media platforms, you can help us honor Maine’s educators by showing your gratitude and appreciation for their tremendous service.