Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

She’s Our Pal-ek

Posted 12/19/2017 by Maia Freedberg

Lauren Palek helps student Molly Little with her classwork. photo by Maia Freedberg

Lauren Palek is an important part of the Spartan community.

TJ has been blessed with an outstanding staff. Lauren Palek stands out amongst her peers and is an asset to the English department at Thomas Jefferson High School. Her students enjoy learning from her positive attitude, her love for literature, and her passion for teaching.

Palek grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where some of her personal favorite traditions come from. She then moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, in between 7th and 8th grade, and had to adjust more than expected due to Albuquerque’s unique schooling system. In high school, Palek was the captain of the dance team, ran cross country, and was studious, but had yet to find her now pronounced passion for literature. After graduating high school, she was off to college without a clue about what she wanted to do.

She began at the University of Colorado, Boulder as a dance major, then later decided to double-major in English and Philosophy with a minor in dance. After graduating with a a double major in English Literature and Philosophy, Palek moved from Boulder to Denver and was preparing to go to law school. After interning at a law firm, she realized that being a lawyer was not what she truly wanted to do. Palek decided to apply for graduate school after taking some time to soul search, with the help of her husband. After finishing graduate school with a Masters in English Literature, Palek taught at Red Rocks Community College, then later went on to teach at a non-traditional high school. Eventually, Palek decided it was time for a change. “The first time I came [to TJ], I knew it was a good fit. The students are so kind to each other, which is very rare at a high school,” Palek explained. She decided to join the TJ staff three years ago and has loved it ever since.

Palek teaches AP Literature, English 3, and Concurrent Enrollment CCR092, and also coaches TJ’s Speech and Debate team during school hours. Palek loves her students and her students love her. Junior Jack Thibodeau explains, “She is a great teacher because she always maintains control of her class while making everyone feel comfortable when sharing their ideas in the classroom.”

Positivity and encouragement radiates throughout Palek’s classes due to her enthusiastic attitude, which the students appreciate immensely. “Mrs. Palek always brings positive energy to the classroom. She truly knows how to teach, utilizing a variety of techniques to engage students,” mentioned senior Conner Side, “she understands how different people learn and continuously caters to everyone in the classroom.”

Although it may not seem like it, teachers participate in other activities besides school. Outside of the classroom, Palek obviously loves to read and spend time with her family, which consists of her husband John and her dog Jersey. Because they don’t have children, Palek and her husband like to travel around the world. They recently visited Ireland and Palek had a blast following the footsteps of the famous Irish novelist James Joyce. Besides traveling, she also practices a variety of different types of yoga. She used to do Vinyasa yoga, but is now participating in a class at her gym which is half cycling, half yoga.

Palek’s amazing personality creates a great learning environment in her classroom. Her commitment shines through the work her students produce and the positive feedback she receives.