¡Adiós A La Sra. Dirda!


Adam Serpa, News Editor

Although Sra. Dirda’s time here at North Hills is coming to an end, her journey is just beginning. She contributed greatly as a teacher and a mentor to the student body. She had a passion for Spanish and showed it through her hard work. Sra. Dirda dedicated much of her time to her students—of the 33 years she has been teaching the French and Spanish language, 29 of those years have been here at North Hills. Now, let’s see what she is all about…

Question: Why do you love to teach the Spanish language and culture?

Answer: I was so inspired by my high school Spanish teacher, Josie Pusateri, and loved the energy she brought to class every day. I love the Hispanic music, art, customs, and the food! I tell my husband every time we return to the States after visiting Spain, “They know how to enjoy life!” The Spaniards, as well as the Italians, are much more relaxed and spend hours talking while enjoying tapas and dinner.

Question: What interesting life experiences have you had prior to your teaching career?

Answer: I studied in Valencia, Spain, and after graduating from college, I lived with a group of friends in Cape May, New Jersey. The following fall, I met my husband, a math teacher in Burgettstown, while substitute teaching. We were engaged after dating for three months and celebrated our 37th anniversary in November. He is my rock! He is the best husband, dad, and Pappy.

Question: What is your most memorable moment teaching at North Hills?

Answer: I set the bar high for students and insisted on a certain climate in the class, where we must all work together for learning to take place. There have been many memorable moments, but I say that when a student realizes I truly care about every one of them and try to help them grow and prepare for a productive life.

Question: What are your plans after retiring?

Answer: I want to spend time with my precious family, making more beautiful memories and traveling off-season!! Also, I might even take German and Italian classes.

Question: Do you have any advice for future Spanish class students?

Answer: Do not be afraid to speak, have fun with the language, and spend at least a semester studying abroad. You will reflect on that experience for the rest of your life.

Question: What is your funniest teaching memory?

Answer: I would have to say one of the funniest moments was when one of my students raised his hand and said, “Sra. Dirda, I don’t think you taught us those words because I didn’t understand one thing you said.” I had been speaking French for 10 minutes, thinking it was a French class. For several years, I taught Spanish one period, then French the next period.

 Question: What was your greatest motivation throughout your teaching career?

Answer: This was probably the easiest question to answer! My inspiration was always the young people that I stood in front of every day. I have loved working with and learning from our students. I always took my job very seriously. After all, that was someone’s precious son or daughter in my class.

Question: What will you miss most about North Hills?

Answer: I will miss the incredible staff, some very dear friends, and all the young people who helped me become a better person and keep me young at heart. I have been blessed, and I will never forget my long, wonderful career at North Hills.


  • Favorite Food: Seafood or fresh pasta
  • Favorite Song: “Memories from Cats and Miracles” by Jefferson Starship
  • Favorite Movie: It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Cape May, Italy, Germany, and Spain
  • Favorite Hobby: Reading, walking, and traveling
North Hills alum Maggie Marciniak, Sydney Brown, and Sra. Dirda enjoy the sites in Barcelona during their trip abroad last summer.
North Hills alum Maggie Marciniak, Sydney Brown, and Sra. Dirda enjoy the sites in Barcelona during their trip abroad last summer.