Influencer of the Week: Trisha Pabon, Summerlake Elementary

The second-grade teacher has set up an Instagram page so her students' parents can see the daily learning experiences.

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Trisha Pabon not only teaches second grade at Summerlake Elementary but is the grade-level team leader. She serves on the school’s Best Practices Committee as well. She feels blessed to be teaching face-to-face despite the pandemic and is grateful this year to have been given permission from Orange County Public Schools and her students’ parents to share their daily learning experiences on her Instagram page, @pabonsparadise.

“It’s been a wonderful way to keep the parents involved and share with them all fun and exciting learning that takes place in our class,” she said. “Our classroom theme is a tropical learning paradise; that’s where the name came from.”


What brought you to your school?

A few things brought me to Summerlake Elementary. First, I had the pleasure to open my previous school. Although it’s a lot of work, I enjoyed the challenge and excitement it brings. Therefore, having the opportunity to open another school was appealing to me. Second, it’s within walking distance of my home, and it’s exciting to know that I’m helping to mold the school that my own children will attend someday. 


What do you love most about your school?

What I love most about Summerlake is the school community. Everyone is so welcoming and enjoys being there. Also, the principal, (Delaine) Bender, goes above and beyond to make her staff and students feel recognized and appreciated.


What is your motivation?

My motivation is my students. I believe that all students deserve the best education possible. In order for that to happen, I have to give them the best of me. They motivate me to keep learning myself, keeping up with the best practices, creating exciting and engaging learning experiences for them.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I’m making an impact on our future. It’s also very rewarding when you have a student who may have been struggling, but with continued encouragement and support, they have their aha moment — there truly is no greater feeling as a teacher. 


What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my 2-year-old daughter. We enjoy going to Disney and hanging out at the pool.


Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why? 

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Jan Peter. She has had the biggest impact on my life. In first grade I was a struggling reader and was placed in a remedial reading program. Mrs. Peter was my reading teacher. She was kind, patient and caring. She believed in me, and because of her I learned to become a successful reader and began to love school and learning.


When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Since age 6, when I was placed in Mrs. Peter’s reading class, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and help struggling readers and make the same impact on my students that Mrs. Peter made on me. At the time I was already a Disney lover and told my parents that I would be an elementary teacher and live close to Disney. I have been living my dream life for the last 13 years.


What is your favorite children’s book and why?

I love books and have a very extensive library of children’s books. If I had to pick one all-time favorite, I’d choose “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch. I don’t want to give it away in case you haven’t read it, but I love how it reverses the princess and dragon stereotype.


What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include, crafting, baking and golfing.


If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

If I could have any superpower it would be to teleport. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and most of my family still lives there. It would be nice to travel and see them whenever I want.


If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

If I could only listen to 3 bands/artists the rest of my life, I would choose Billy Joel, Michael Jackson and Dave Matthews Band. I have loved Billy Joel since I was a child; I remember listening to his CDs with my dad. Michael Jackson is a classic, and our daughter, Cooper, enjoys his music as well. DMB brings back great memories from high school and college.


How long have you been at your school and with OCPS?

I have been teaching for 13 years. My first seven years I taught in Osceola County. This is my sixth year teaching for OCPS, and this is the inaugural year for Summerlake Elementary.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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