OLCHS Alumna Joins Staff: Ms. Melvin


Grace Tynski, Staff Writer

Every school year brings a fresh crop of wide-eyed students, but few remember that it also brings new faculty. OLCHS staff has grown with additions this year, including a new speech pathologist. Ms. Melvin, beginning her first year as a speech pathologist, has returned to OLCHS after graduating years prior to work alongside people who she once knew as her teachers and coaches. 


When asked about speech pathology, Ms. Melvin says, “Speech pathologists work with students who have speech impairments. That could consist of fluency disorders, language disorders, and pragmatic disorders. I’m really just a support for the students that need a little extra help as far as targeting those areas.” While she’s there to help students with speech and social skills, it’s also clear Ms. Melvin cares for her students on an emotional level. 


She recalls a quote from Mrs. Wargin that has stuck with her during her first weeks at OLCHS: “[Mrs. Wargin] said that I’m like a big blanket for the kids. I’m a big safety blanket; if they are struggling and they need help, they’re able to come to my room. I’m gonna help them and give them that safety blanket.” This warm sentiment is proved by Ms. Melvin’s friendliness, not to mention the stash of snacks she has for students in her room. Her room is comfortable and inviting, as if she’s been at OLCHS for more than just a few weeks. This is true in a way, considering she attended OLCHS as a student not long ago. 


After graduating Oak Lawn and attending St. Xavier University,  Ms. Melvin ended up back at her former high school through a coincidental turn of events that could only be chalked up to fate. When wrestling with the idea of what she wanted to do after high school, Ms. Melvin looked into speech pathology after learning that her aunt was in the same field. “I remember I was sitting talking with my mom, and she mentioned that I have an aunt who does this. […] It interested me so I looked more into it. Sure enough, I started taking the classes, loved it, and that was my path,” she recalls. Landing back at Oak Lawn was an involved process beginning with A.E.R.O., a special education cooperative, which held an interview with Ms. Melvin and informed her of an open speech pathologist position at OLCHS. “It was just kind of a coincidence that A.E.R.O.’s open position was Oak Lawn High School. It was kind of meant to be,” Ms. Melvin says. 


Although admitting it has been strange to start calling her former teachers by their first names, Ms. Melvin laughs and explains that OLCHS has welcomed her back with open arms. “It was great. […] It was nice to run into the teachers and catch up. They’re all super supportive of me, so it’s worked out great.”


Looking toward the future, Ms. Melvin expresses that she’d love to stick around and be present for the students she’s working with in the long run. “I would love to be here [in the future]. There’s been a lot of speech pathologists in this office over the last couple of years, so I would love to stay here and be consistent for the students. […] I would love to be here for quite a few years to be a consistent person, a consistent face, and a consistent support system for the kids so they’re comfortable for many years to come.” 


Ms. Melvin is located in Room 208, settling into her new position at OLCHS. She’s eager to make a difference and be a positive influence at the school that once shaped her, and there’s no doubt she’ll do just that.