October 2022 - Susan Manzello-Ivas
Full Name: Susan Manzello-Ivas
Former High School: Holy Name
Graduation Year: 1973
Job Title: Retired and caring for my three grandsons; Director of HN Guidance (1993-2017)
Who influenced you the most during your time at Holy Name? Why?
While a student at HN, I was influenced by several people. Mr. Brady, the music teacher, introduced me to music and theatre Hermanita Bedard showed me that learning another language could be fun. Sr. Carol Proetti taught me the fine art of writing. Mrs. Popawicz introduced me to Biology, a science that I loved. Mr. Bibeault introduced me to Chemistry, a science I hated, but also one that required me to really work hard. There were many other teachers and staff members that added to my life as a student at HN.
What life lessons did you take away during your time at Holy Name?
I learned so many valuable lessons at Holy Name...how to work hard, the value of academics, how to face challenges, the importance of friendships, how to be self-confident, but most of all how to be a good person.
How did your education at Holy Name prepare you for what you did in college and are doing today?
My education at Holy Name prepared me so well for college. Academically, I could write term papers with little difficulty and enjoyed the research and writing. I knew how to study, which is a key to academic success. I learned how to get along with people which was beneficial when living in a dorm setting.
Where did life take you after graduation?
I was a Special Education major in college. Since my dad had been a Special Education teacher for many years, I had some knowledge of the field. I had also liked kids and always enjoyed school, so being a sped teacher seemed like the perfect job. I taught Special Ed at Fitchburg High School for 9 years and had earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology to supplement my work in the classroom. When a guidance counselor in Fitchburg retired midyear, I decided to try for the position. I became a guidance counselor for the next few years and ended up leaving that position in 1992 when my third child was born. It was during that next year that Fr. Madden contacted me and asked me to come to HN.
What activities or sports were you involved in at Holy Name?
Theatre and student government were the key activities I enjoyed in high school. Although I did not participate in sports directly, I was an avid sports fan. Throughout my years at Holy Name, our boys’ basketball team was stellar. They provided so much excitement culminating in winning the state championship my senior year.
What advice would you give current high school students pursuing a similar career path to your own?
My advice to students is to pursue a major you are passionate about. Never look for a career just because of the money. Life is too short, and you should love what you do for a living. It will make you happier and more productive.
Have you stayed connected with your former high school?
Holy Name was such a huge part of my life as both a student and a professional. I have stayed connected to the Holy Name community through family and friends. My brother Jim continues to be the athletic director there. My dad was the first president of the parents’ association. Myself, my three brothers, many cousins, and my three children are all graduates of Holy Name. Currently, I am reconnecting with many of my former classmates and preparing for our 50th class reunion next year. I guess I will always be a Napoleon!