The Secret Life of Sonia Olchyk


Sonia Olchyk has worked as a Spanish teacher here for years. Whether or not you had her or heard about her, you probably know that she has lived a very interesting life. In class, she has told snippets of fascinating stories about her life. However, when asked to elaborate on these stories, she would return to teaching the class about the Preterit and Imperfect tenses.
Olchyk was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and was the only one in her family who wasn’t born in Cuba.
Olchyk has been speaking a variety of languages since her childhood. Growing up, Olchyk attended Jewish day school, where they spoke Hebrew half of the day and English the other half. At home, she spoke Spanish.
“I really wanted to be either a teacher or a pediatrician when I was growing up,” Olchyk said. “I knew I always wanted to work with kids.”
Olchyk attended a magnet school for science when she was in high school. “It was really challenging attending such a competitive school,” she said. “It was very similar to the rigor you may experience here. While it was difficult, it made college very easy.”
Olchyk attended college at the University of Texas at Austin. There, she was a Longhorn cheerleader. She majored in psychology and double minored in radio broadcasting and television and film.
Olchyk’s Jewish heritage still is important to her. In addition to attending Jewish day school, she was also bat mitzvahed when she was 13. Also, she was a team leader on a Birthright trip to Israel, sponsored by BBYO. She lived in Israel for six months in college, and served in a medical unit in the Israeli Defense Force.
Growing up, religion was important to Olchyk. Olchyk received her masters in bilingual education from North Texas State University and finished her doctoral dissertation on how one can use film to teach language.
Olchyk has always loved to travel. A couple of years ago, she took a trip to South America and visited Machu Picchu. During the trip, Olchyk suffered an injury that led to two broken legs.
Recently, Olchyk spent her spring break in Poland, participating in the March of the Living at the former Auschwitz death camp. There, she joined over 10,000 Jewish youth to honor those who died in the camp.
“While she does give a lot of work, she truly does care about each and every one of her students. I consider myself lucky to have had her for years,” junior Nabila Okudo said.

Julia Stern

Social Media Editor