Optima, la Meilleure, the Best: A Thank You to Mrs. Aleiner


Julien Amsellem, Editor-in-Chief

Some call her Madame. Others know her as Magistra. And most of us just say Mrs. Yet, regardless of her title, Mrs. Veronika Aleiner is one of the most beloved teachers in Hastings High School, and she has clearly left her mark on the students, teachers, and the district. Aleiner is known for her uplifting spirit, her welcoming Russian accent, and her fondness for the blackboard. Her work at Hastings High School has spanned 12 wonderful years, bringing innovation and brilliance to the school’s Latin and French programs, and she will be greatly missed as she leaves for San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, California 

Although her departure at the end of this school year has deeply saddened her students and colleagues alike, Aleiner’s lasting legacy and impression on those around her ensures that  her zeal for excellent teaching will echo throughout the school’s hallways long after she leaves. 


Aleiner began teaching in Hastings in 2010, following a three year stint at Hunter High School in New York City and one year at Dobbs Ferry High School. Her fervor for education stemmed from a young age, and by the time she was 10, she was certain she wanted to become a teacher. Despite her early dreams to pursue elementary school education, once Aleiner began teaching high school, she never turned back. 

Year after year, she has constantly strived to make her classroom a hub for engaged  learning, and through her time in Hastings, she has gone above and beyond to push the classroom experience further than the monotony of lecturing. 

In fact, Aleiner shared that one of the most rewarding aspects of the job  has been creating projects that are “fun to work on” and are “something out of the box,” so as to stimulate creative thinking skills. Aleiner has gotten to see her students “using all the skills they have that they didn’t have four years ago,” a testament to the incredible job she’s done. 

Aleiner also described the “click” or “ohh” moments — the second a student finally grasps a new concept — as the highlights of her job, truly emphasizing the dedication she has to her students’ learning. 

“When they happen,” she said, a smile gleaming across her face, “that’s just pure pleasure.”


This infectious passion for education has been best seen by the students that Aleiner has spent so much time around. Fiona Pugh, a freshman in Aleiner’s Latin I class, found Aleiner’s teaching to be influenced by her unfettered love for the topic. “It’s very clear that she’s enthusiastic about the subject,” she said. “And I think that comes across in her teaching.” 

Aleiner’s excitement in the classroom is palpable, and according to Fiona, this “always makes classes more fun and makes it more interesting to learn.”

 Of Aleiner’s many great qualities, her eagerness to have students succeed is what makes her a uniquely amazing teacher in Fiona’s eyes, and it shows a level of unmatched dedication to both the subject and her pupils.

 Unsurprisingly, many students listed this attribute to be among Aleiner’s best, including senior Joey Abrizik, who had Aleiner in 9th and 11th grade. “She was very passionate about kids actually learning,” Joey said, adding that Aleiner “cared a lot” and “really wanted kids to do well and succeed.” 

Outside the academic realm, Joey found that Aleiner was “like a mom figure to all the kids in the class,” always showing concern for her students. Joey noted  that Aleiner would constantly take time to simply talk with students, providing emotional support and sympathy to all who came to her. 

For Liam Painter, a junior who took Aleiner’s French class in 9th and 10th grade, Aleiner’s ability to talk with students about their everyday lives was just as valuable as her teaching skills. “Some teachers, they teach, and that’s all they do, but Madame was also like a person and that was really great to see because it was so easy to talk to her,” he said. “And I felt that made learning really accessible because of how easily approachable she was.” 

As for his classroom experience, Liam found it incredibly informative and accredited his success in the subject to Aleiner’s willingness to let students explore their own interests. 


Beyond the students, Aleiner’s ardor to teach and and promote academia has been keenly noted by her fellow world language teachers 

Arriving in the same year as Aleiner, Mrs. Katie Paz has been a close friend of Aleiner  over the years and strongly reiterated what students had said.

 “She is, I think, everything that you’d want in a colleague. Pretty much everything you’d want in a teacher. She’s really passionate, and professional, and consistent. She knows her stuff. She’s sort of the go-to person in a lot of ways for us, as the department.” 

From their initial days together, Paz has felt that Aleiner has had a rigor and a passion to explore further and keep learning. “She has this work ethic that is super admirable,” Paz said, and it has really “rub[bed] off” on people around her. In describing how Aleiner has also come to represent a source of reliability and guidance for the World Language Department, Paz exclaimed,“This is a slight religious reference, but in a Catholic school you had the bracelets that said, ‘What would Jesus do?’ We laugh and say we should have bracelets that say, ‘What would Veronika do?’ because she just seems to always have the answer for a myriad of things.” 


Although those who surround Aleiner value her for various reasons, they all shared one common feeling: their sadness to see her leave. From students, closing remarks included,  “We’re very much going to miss Mrs. Aleiner,” “We will miss her dearly,” “She will be tremendously missed.” Mrs. Paz, too, is upset by Aleiner’s departure, saying, “I absolutely think of the world of her and I’m going to miss her immensely.” 

So Madame, on behalf of us all, you have meant the world to every student and faculty member whose day you’ve brightened, and though we hate to see you leave, we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Nous vous adorons et vous nous manquerez beaucoup.