Heather Abrighach
Early childhood education major

In remembrance of Heather and her wonderful personality, energy and caring spirit.

Albert Einstein believed "it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

Known for inspiring students of all ages, Lourdes education students and alumni are enlightening the minds of individuals across the globe. More than 550 alumni have taught over 10,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in public, private and charter schools in 19 states and 2 countries.

Student Teacher in Brazil

During the 2014 spring semester, early childhood education licensure student Heather Abrighach will travel to Porto Alegre, Brazil to complete a portion of her student teaching experience at the Pan-American School (PAS). During her time abroad, she will benefit from an enriching academic and cultural experience that will allow her to apply and hone the skills she has learned from her Education professors.

A world traveler, Heather enjoys immersing herself in other cultures. Her travels include touring 7 European countries in 21 days, studying abroad at the University College Cork in Ireland, trekking across the "Emerald Isle" on her bike with a tent and sleeping bag in tow, working as a Fulbright scholar at a German high school, teaching pre-school at a US Army base located in Deutschland, and finally, marrying her husband Abderaouf Abrighach in his home country – Morocco.

 Heather biking

"My goal is to become an international teacher – to educate children of the world," notes Heather. "My husband and I would like to return to Germany – where we lived. Hopefully I could teach in an international school or on an Army base, and our children – Teelilly (age 5) and Saoirse (age 3) – could be educated as children of the world, rather than only children in Toledo, including exposing them to their own American, Irish, and Moroccan heritages.

"It is through my own study-abroad experiences that I made amazing friends from Germany, the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Morocco. It was incredible to be in Morocco and hear the call to prayer, since in the Western world we are so accustomed to hearing bells ring to call people to church.

"It was one of those things that made me realize how interesting and different things are around the world."

Heather marriageA native Toledoan, Heather, who already earned her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from another institution, decided to pursue her licensure at Lourdes because "of how the professors approach education – it is so different than other schools in this region.

"At Lourdes, students are taught to approach the educational process from a developmental perspective. Rather than try to make the student meet the standards, Lourdes has taught us to adapt the standards to reach the children where they are."

Heather says that in the beginning of her Porto Alegre experience, "I will learn the best practices from not only Brazilian and American teachers but teachers from around the world. As the experience comes to a close, I will have learned many different teaching techniques, and philosophies to blend with my American experience and education.

"It will make me a very well-rounded teacher, able to adapt to the variety and diversity of students I hope to teach."