What do history, law, education and psychology have in common? The female force of the history department includes Mrs. Chandler, Mrs. Dividu, Mrs. Fluegel, and Mrs. Gomez, who all teach a variety of history courses and love the study of people.
Mrs. Chandler and Mrs. Gomez went to school for history and psychology – both subjects that study people. “In college, I started as a double major – psychology and history. I thought psychology would be my career, but those history classes had me hooked!” Mrs. Chandler said.
At UNF, Mrs. Chandler focused her studies on Latin American history, specifically in Bogota, Columbia. In Bogota, Mrs. Chandler went through the archives and “dug through the sources and read these letters that were written in the 1500s to try to piece together what these people’s lives were like, how they navigated,” Mrs. Chandler explained.
As well Mrs. Chandler is interested in a subject known as “historical silences.” A historical silence is information that was left out of history normally due to the fact that history is written by the winner. “That’s my favorite part – uncovering those silences. History isn’t finished. There is always more to uncover and to understand,” Mrs. Chandler recounted.
For the last fifteen years Mrs. Chandler has taught a variety of world history classes. Now, she teaches Ancient World History and AP Comparative Government and Politics. “I really like AP Comparative. Ironically, what I like is that it’s not a history class. It gives students a chance to see what’s going on in the world right now, with a focus on 6 countries (China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom) they might not otherwise study,” Mrs. Chandler said.
But for Mrs. Gomez, the passion to study history flows through her bloodline. “My dad, he majored in history, so I ended up following in his footsteps,” Mrs. Gomez revealed.
Mrs. Gomez also received her undergraduate degree in psychology. “I feel like they must all be interrelated in some way and maybe the bottom line is that we’re interested in human stories and people. There’s a psychological element in all of these different disciplines,” Mrs. Gomez explained.
At UNF, Mrs. Gomez received her masters degree in history and soon began teaching at Bolles. Currently, she teaches U.S History and Yoga. Together, Mrs. Gomez and Mrs. Stam applied for a grant that allowed them to develop a yoga class. “We wanted to help students with stress management,” Mrs. Gomez explained.
However, Mrs. Dividu and Mrs. Fluegel were more interested in law as high school and college students. As a high school student, Mrs. Dividu participated in mock trial, which led her to begin coaching a mock trial team in New York and later here at Bolles.
Once in college Mrs. Dividu went on to study education and worked part time as an advisor to student athletes. At her first teaching job, Mrs. Dividu recalled, “I taught US history, AP and honors for juniors, and then I taught economics and personal finance for seniors.” At that same time she coached mock trial and kickstarted a law class – which she described as “an extension of mock trial.”
When Mrs. Dividu made it to Bolles, she started as an advisor and then a history position opened up. She teaches 9th grade Ancient World History, while working as an advisor and helping Mr. Dickson with mock trial. “Last year, I took over the team, and I have been coaching mock trial for eight years,” Mrs. Dividu explained.
Before becoming a teacher Mrs. Fluegel worked as an attorney at Barnett Bank for 13 years. Coming from a family of teachers, and graduating during an era in which every career was truly open to women, Mrs. Fluegel did not see herself as a teacher. “Teaching had been one of those traditional careers that my mother, my aunt, my grandmother had done, so I decided I was going to do something different,” she described.
After working as a lawyer for 18 years, she decided it was time for a career change. “ I thought I love my job, I love the people I work with, but I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life,” Mrs. Fluegel explained.
So, Mrs. Fluegel went back to school, received her Master’s in history, and went on to teach at Bolles and UNF. Now, she teaches ninth and tenth grade world history. “‘I’m really happy teaching what I teach, but I have a particular passion for modern European history, which is why I love my sophomore class,” Mrs. Fluegel explained.
When reflecting on her experience in Mrs. Fluegel’s class, junior Ananya Sridhar said, “I love Mrs. Fluegel’s sense of humor. My friends and I always looked forward to history class to hear her jokes and her light hearted personality. Mrs. Fluegel is always there for her students and does various projects to make history interesting to learn. She also gives former students candy, which is a plus!”