By Maggie Cornejo
Students love Paul VI so much that many have come back to teach, including Mr. Kiechlin (‘97) in Math and Mrs. McClellan (’00) in Options. These new PVI faculty members have a unique experience—working with some of the teachers that taught them!
“I like working with Mrs. Johnson, who taught me!” says Mr. Kiechlin, who is working in the same department as his high school math teacher. “At the time, I thought Mrs. Johnson was being picky in math class,” said Kiechlin. “However, without her rigorous teaching, I would not have succeeded in my upper level math classes at college.”
Mrs. McLellan also has had the opportunity to work with a previous teacher—“Mrs. Hanley’s fashion class was my favorite memory of high school, especially going to the mall fifth period.”
Paul VI celebrates its strong legacy with families. Mr. Kiechlin describes PVI as his home: his older brother, Brian Kiechlin ‘89, and many nephews and nieces have attended the school. He is honored to be able to teach at PVI, after dreaming of it for many years.
Mrs. McLellan has had a special connection to the PVI Options program, as her sister Shannon was a student. Shannon is with God now, after passing away suddenly three years ago. McLellan has used this experience to inspire her teaching at PVI: “Needless to say it has been a struggle, and I have had many days where I prayed to find a purpose in her death. That’s why I was thrilled to see a position open up within the Options Program. I applied, and I was offered the job! Not only was I offered the position, but it was on the anniversary of the date we lost Shannon—almost to the minute. I believe God had a plan for me, and Shannon was the angel guiding me.”
The Options Program began when McLellan was a student: “I wasn’t sure that my classmates would respond well to these kids, but I underestimated them greatly. This program just lit a light within the school, like nothing I had ever seen.”
Although PVI has integrated numerous things into its education, Kiechlin remarks, “Here at PVI, our faith is at the center of everything we do. I love being able to pray with my students and to celebrate the Sacraments as a school community. That, of course, hasn’t changed—it is the heart of Catholic Education.” McLellan says, “The spirit of PVI is still here, and it will stay with the school no matter its location.”
McLellan and Kiechlin both extend advice to students at PVI: “It may be cliche, but enjoy every single moment of it [high school],” says McLellan.
“Don’t be afraid to get involved and active in the school community,” says Kiechlin. “Be open to new people. You never know who you will meet that could end up being your friend for life.”
Paul VI prepares students for college and a career, Kiechlin says. “While I don’t enjoy having to write thesis papers, I am able to do so, and do it well because of my PVI English teachers. In graduate school, all of my classes involved writing papers—sometimes 5–6 papers per semester.”
Kiechlin and McLellan join other alumni in the Paul VI community, who share both a student and teacher perspective. #PVIforever
Read more about McLellan in the Arlington Catholic Herald.