• 2022-2023 CSPA Crown Award Finalist
The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Patricia Naylor-Lawson: from first graduating class to substitute teaching nearly 50 years later

Patricia+Naylor-Lawson+in+the+1972+Fife+%26+Drum+yearbook+%28left%29.+Naylor-Lawson+substitute+teaches+during+sixth+period+on+Mar.+8+%28right%29.
Photo by Elizabeth Mehler
Patricia Naylor-Lawson in the 1972 Fife & Drum yearbook (left). Naylor-Lawson substitute teaches during sixth period on Mar. 8 (right).

Over 50 years since its opening, it’s hard to imagine Wootton was ever a brand new school. But substitute teacher Patricia Naylor-Lawson not only saw the school when it first opened, she was a part of the first graduating class.

Naylor-Lawson graduated from this school in 1974 and has been a part of the community ever since. Moving from Arlington, VA, as a sophomore, she came to the school as a brand new student. “I had moved from Arlington. That’s where I had attended elementary and junior high school. They were older schools, I guess, but [Wootton] was a brand new school,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Moving to a new area, she settled in quickly and enjoyed her time at school. “I lived in Rockshire, a good development, and I met a lot of friends who lived in my neighborhood. We walked to school together, it was really great,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Naylor-Lawson also became involved in the school community, joining the French Cuisine club. “It was a lot of fun. We went to different peoples’ homes and prepared different kinds of menu items,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Despite the popular hangout spot, Fallsgrove, not opening until 2002, Naylor-Lawson participated in similar activities as students do today. “After school, sometimes we would go shopping with friends or we went out to eat. Someone who could drive would take you,” Naylor-Lawson said. But, just as it is today, students in the 1970’s “weren’t allowed to leave at lunch.”

Being a part of the community for nearly 50 years, Naylor-Lawson has seen how the school has changed over time. Unlike today, where biology is the standard class for freshman, in the 1970s the education standards were different and biology was taken later on. “When I first attended school here, I took a biology class. I was the only ninth grader in the class. I got teased, I kept being called ‘punky ninth grader,’ they really teased me a lot about that. Things are different now, it’s more fast paced with education,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Naylor-Lawson notices changes not only in the education system, but also the building itself. With an addition built in 1988, the school looks different today than it did when Naylor-Lawson attended. “[Wootton] was small, very small. The media center wasn’t as large or upscale like it is now. We didn’t have so many halls. It wasn’t a myriad maze like it is now,” Naylor-Lawson said.

After graduating from this school in 1974, Naylor-Lawson attended Montgomery College for her associates degree and University of Maryland for her bachelors degree in psychology. Then, she owned and operated three large daycare centers for 13 years. Naylor-Lawson got married at around 40 years old to her husband who was a, now retired, army Lieutenant Colonel and middle school guidance counselor. Naylor-Lawson stopped working when she got married and had a son who also attended the school, graduating in 2006.

Since Naylor-Lawson sold her daycare business and no longer needed to work, she decided to be a substitute teacher for enjoyment and now subs at primarily this school. While P.E. classes are no longer divided by gender, Naylor-Lawson says her favorite class to sub is “boys phys ed because we all want to get outside and play. Boys really like that, everyone does what they’re supposed to do.”

Naylor-Lawson has had a positive experience returning to her high school as a substitute teacher. “Everyone really likes me, more so than when I attended here I think. Students know me, like say I’ll have subbed for a physics class and then weeks later subbed for another class, a student will walk in and say ‘Oh hi I remember you.’ They’re all really friendly,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Naylor-Lawson saw substitute teaching as a way to contribute. “I thought it’s kind of like giving back to my community by doing this. So I do boys P.E. and that’s hard to get a sub for because most individuals don’t want to sub for boys P.E.,” Naylor-Lawson said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Common Sense
$2000
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Thomas S. Wootton High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Elizabeth Mehler, news editor
Senior Elizabeth Mehler is an Editor-in-chief in her fourth year on Common Sense. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with friends. She hopes you find Common Sense to be both engaging and informative. You can find her on IG @elizabeth.mehler
Donate to Common Sense
$2000
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Common Sense Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *