Interview: Mrs. Procell, History Teacher and AP Coordinator

Interviewed and Written by: Cazandra Manuel

INTV: Hi Mrs. Procell. Could you introduce yourself and what you do here at Highland?

PROCELL: My name is Mrs. Procell, I’m a social studies teacher and I teach college prep U.S. history and AP U.S. history.

These are all Mrs. Procell’s own graduation tassels! Truly an inspiration for us students to hang in there~

INTV: We know you are a veteran teacher here – with many of your own graduating from Highland over the years. Could you tell us one of the most interesting things that have happened or still happens on campus?

PROCELL: Uh, most interesting things? That’s a tough one. So, something that has continued for a long time, would be the programs that we offer here. I’m a graduate of Highland also, the FFA program, and the AG program started my junior year in high school. And so, to have seen it grow into the magnificent program that it’s become is really, really fun to see. The music program too. I was a part of the band and orchestra when I was here so I’m happy That’s still around and I’m happy the marching band’s still around. It’s neat to see and stuff.

INTV: What did you play?

PROCELL: I played saxophone and violin.

INTV: Did you have a favorite?

PROCELL: Between the two? I preferred the saxophone! (laughs), definitely! The drama also! I was in a couple drama productions and so it’s fun to see that become what it is. So basically, it’s, you know, the programs that I was involved in when I was a student here have really grown tremendously during the time and so that’s very satisfying to see!

INTV: That’s good! And do you have a favorite production you were in?

PROCELL: Oh! I was in uh, Jane Eyre! I was actually playing the maid at the time but it was so funny because the director was like “No, you’ve got to make it into something!” So I was the man maid that stomped around the stage all the time, so that was fun! (laughs)

INTV: It’s great to see your performing arts background come through!

INTV: Speaking of traditions – every November we see you wearing a red poppy. Could you tell us when you started doing this and why?

PROCELL: So about, let’s see, three or four years ago I took a trip to Europe with my mom and my sisters and all around Europe are world war I memorials and one of the things that they do in Europe is to wear the red poppy, between Halloween and November eleventh, and so I really liked that tradition. So I decided I wanted to start doing it. And so, I bought myself a red poppy, and it stays in my car so when it’s time to wear it it’s right there and I’m ready to wear is

INTV: Interesting!

PROCELL: And so I guess it’s just a way to celebrate our veterans and the people that have died for our freedoms.

INTV: Could you describe your teaching style in a sentence or less?

PROCELL: I think most people would agree that it’s very sarcastic! (laughs)

INTV: Yes! 

PROCELL: I enjoy history because you can always make fun of it. You know hindsight, it’s 2022 and I think it’s fun to critically look at history and poke fun at it because then you can poke fun at yourself today because you know we’re doing the same things today as we’re doing back then.

INTV: Yeah, for sure!

INTV: What is something about you that shocks students when they find out?

PROCELL: (laughs) The other day a student was very shocked to find out I had kids! I didn’t realize that would be something so very shocking. But uh, probably the most shocking thing is when students find out I lived in Africa for 2 years.

INTV: Oh wow! Yeah, that is shocking! Did you enjoy it?

PROCELL: Yeah I did!

INTV: (points to a wall of memorabilia from Africa) Is that it?

PROCELL: Yes that’s it! Um, I was a peace corps volunteer in Mali west Africa and so when we get to JFK and the creation of the peace corps, I bring in all of my peace corps stuff and we’ll talk about it for a day!

INTV: Wow! I look forward to it!

INTV: Now, with being the advisor for Mock Trial, AP Coordinator, and a teacher, you have a lot of items on your plate. How do you do it all? (prediction: she will say Wine)

PROCELL: (laughs) BADLY! I do it all badly! No, I’m kidding! It’s a matter of prioritizing. I have to decide what’s the most important right now and deal with that and just keep moving on to the next thing. I feel like I never get done with everything but I just do my best and I don’t beat myself up about what I don’t get to because I work a LOT and I do try the best that I can.

(and trust us — we know just how valuable Mrs. Procell is. She really does it all and does it perfectly~)

INTV: That’s really good advice! On the paper, Jessie wrote that “prediction: she will say wine” 

PROCELL: (laughs!) WINE! She’s not wrong! There is a lot of that in my life I will admit!

INTV: What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?

PROCELL: Oh! That’s a good question! Um, probably I would say the moon landing. I think that would have been neat to have be around for. I mean, talk about a very pivotal time. I remember talking to my grandmother and I asked her what was the biggest transition that she ever saw in her life. She went to a one-room schoolhouse on horseback to get there and within her lifetime she saw a man walking on the moon on television. So yeah, that would be a thing I think would be really interesting.

INTV: And does she have any personal experiences that she can recall? I mean like her feelings about it?

PROCELL: About it? Um, just amazement at how amazing it was. How far technology-wise that we had come. She has passed away but I can’t even imagine what she would think about today with online learning and all of this kind of stuff.

INTV: I can’t imagine.

INTV: Speaking of History – we know that you used to teach French and were a Peace Corps volunteer. Could you tell us a bit about that – especially on FRENCH?

Mrs. Procell’s stories of Africa are very interesting; students wait eagerly until the end of the school year just to hear them!

PROCELL: So I learned french as a peace corps volunteer so I’m not credentialed in it and when I came back, the principal was the same one as when I was a student here and so she created a job for me with 3 sections of french and 2 of world history because I had my social studies credential. She was trying the French program since my French teacher had left and retired. The French program had undergone a couple of different teachers and was having a hard time getting going again. And so she hired me with the hopes of being able to restart it. So I spent three years as a french teacher. I could not get my credential because I’d have to go to school and I had little kids and was teaching five different classes. It was about ready to put me six feet under. So I said, “I need to choose and I have my credential in history,  I need to do that because it’s better for my family.” So I switched to history full-time. My principal was very understanding and she totally, totally got it. But I did keep the French program going! I did expand it which was nice!

Mrs. Procell in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer

INTV: So you taught French here?


INTV: If you could trade lives with someone in history for a day, who would it be and why?

PROCELL: Ou.. Wow! Ah, Theodore Roosevelt. I think he has done just a lot of amazing things and has been to a lot of different places. I think that would be very, very interesting! Yep, Abigail Adams would be the other one. Being around at the founding of the time would be interesting also!

INTV: For students taking the APUSH exam, what is the biggest piece of advice you can offer?

PROCELL: DONT STRESS! Don’t stress about it! The biggest piece of advice is being able to put events into the correct era. If you can do that, if you can tell the story by putting the events into the correct era, you’ll be able to answer any question that they ask or any essay. You can write on any topic if you’re able to do that.

INTV: Did you take any AP exams?

PROCELL: I didn’t. It wasn’t a thing. Well, apparently it was a thing when I was in high school. I didn’t know it. We did not have AP classes -we had honors classes and so you could take the honors class and then on your own, if you wanted to take the exam you could do it. I never did – I didn’t realize it was a thing and so I never signed up for them. I didn’t know anything about them at the time so I took honors classes!

INTV: Would you have taken the exam if you knew about it?

PROCELL: No, because my teacher was very focused on the Civil war and World War II and those were basically the only 2 topics that we learned, so I didn’t have enough breadth of knowledge to be able to pass the test. I would have never passed it based on just that class so I would have to do a lot outside studying and I wasn’t really into history at that time. It wasn’t until I was in college that I really decided that’s what I wanted to do.

INTV: Now – our final question before jumping into the speed round – what is Highland High School to you?

PROCELL: Oh? Highland is…my past, my present, and my future!

INTV: Speed Round! Answer in 30 seconds or less!

INTV: Pineapple on Pizza?

PROCELL: Yes. It’s delicious.

INTV: Cat or dog?


INTV: Rockefeller or Vanderbilt?

PROCELL: Vanderbilt.

INTV: Silliest US President?

PROCELL: Garfield.

INTV: Tea or water?


INTV: Speak French for us!

PROCELL: Bien sur tu est très gentille comme un poulet rôti! C’est comme ça, n’est pas? Ou, vrai. Est-ce que vous préfère du thé ou du café du lait?

(Translate: Good day, you are just as nice as a rosterrie chicken! It’s like that, right? Yes! Do you prefer tea or coffee with milk?)

INTV(Jessie): So, we’re as nice as roasted chicken? 

PROCELL: You are as nice as a roasted chicken! It’s the weirdest french phrase I know “says it again please help”

INTV: Is that a common phrase..?

PROCELL: It’s a french saying and it’s a compliment!

INTV(Jessie): Could I say that to Mme. DeLateur?

INTV: She’d probably laugh!

INTV(Jessie): Or be really mad…

INTV: Best American Time Period?

PROCELL: World war 2!

INTV: Cake or pie?


INTV: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

PROCELL: Go scots!

INTV: That’s all! Thank you so much for that!

PROCELL: You’re very welcome!

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