Ms. Sweeney Retires After 28 Years of Service to Belmont Hill

After 28 years of service to Belmont Hill, Mrs. Sweeney has taken the difficult decision to step down from her post of science teacher and retire. Mrs. Sweeney has been a stalwart of the science department for almost three decades, and her contributions to the school cannot be understated. Mrs. Sweeney’s career at Belmont Hill has been full of unexpected surprises, from meeting her future husband, Mr. Sweeney ’83, another longstanding member of the Belmont Hill faculty, to her involvement in AP Biology, the class she is now famous for, which she originally never wanted to teach.

In the summer of 1996, Mrs. Sweeney had a decision to make. After leaving her previous job as an administrator at Worcester Academy, she had the option of interviewing for the vacant position of Head of Middle School, or as a science teacher at Belmont Hill. For nearly three decades, Mrs. Sweeney has served as a science teacher at Belmont Hill, teaching a wide range of subjects from Introductory Physical Science (IPS) to AP Bio to hundreds of Belmont Hill students. 

Mrs. Sweeney tries to improve her classes every day, and her love for the profession comes from the relationships she forms with students in the classroom: “Even if it’s been 15 or 20 years, when you are able to still have a meaningful conversation with a student, it’s very rewarding.” From her first day at Belmont Hill, Mrs. Sweeney wanted to teach sophomore biology, and she was able to achieve her goal through her constant dedication to teaching. The generations of students who have had the privilege to step into her class appreciate her enthusiasm and creativity as a teacher. Her inventiveness has led to her adopting practices such as organizing a CPR class with her students at the end of the year, and following Daniel Slakavitz’s ’25 saving of a teammate last summer, her teaching is literally life saving. 

Mrs. Sweeney’s drive to engage students initially drove her away from the AP Biology course, which she is now famous for teaching, believing the curriculum to be too restrictive. However, when she was asked to teach the class, she enthusiastically accepted and has become a staple of the course. Mrs. Sweeney’s classes provide a unique blend of rigor and personality, and she possesses an uncanny ability to bond with and understand students. One of her students, Nathan Zhang ’26, remarked, “She really cares about us. You can tell that she wants us to succeed and does everything she can to make sure we can fulfill our potential as students.” 

Her prowess extends beyond the confines of her classroom, as she has served as a crew coach for all but one year of her illustrious Belmont Hill career. This spring, a Belmont Hill middle school 8+ racing shell was named in her honor. Reflecting on her career and what she will miss, Mrs. Sweeney explained, “I think what I’ll miss most is the extra help time with students, or when students just pop by to say hello. I feel like the more kids that stop by, the more energy I get.” The Belmont Hill Community already misses Mrs. Sweeney and hopes that she will stop by often to say hello. The Panel wishes her luck in her retirement and thanks her for her outstanding service to the school.

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