Dana Petrouski is the secretary at Fegely Middle School. It has been quite the ride for Petrouski as she has traveled the world and back, but through it all she has found herself right where she belongs, at Fegely Middle School.
“I have always liked being in and working in a learning environment with kids. Even though I have a love of biology and obtained a master's degree in aquatic ecology, I was always drawn to working with kids,” said Petrouski.
Aquatic biology is very different from being a secretary at a school of course, but there were many steps taken throughout Petrouski’s life that led her to her current role.
“In college, I made extra money by taking school kids out on Lake Erie and teaching them how to test for water quality and lake health. When I was in grad school, I was a teaching assistant and taught undergrad bio labs,” said Petrouski.
Although her passion was aquatics, something always led her to be around children in some way or another. Building a family of her own was when it really resonated with her that maybe, just maybe, her passion was for something more.
“After I got married, my husband's job took us to Eastern Europe for five years. I volunteered at my kids' school and worked with students who were learning English. I would read to them and they would read to me in English. It was incredible witnessing my kids experience that. They went to international schools and they actually got to meet kids from a bunch of different countries. It was very eye-opening and cool to see,” said Petrouski.
Living in Serbia and Slovakia during that time was a much different experience than being in Portage, Indiana. It is almost as if Petrouski needed the experiences in Europe to truly find what she loved in life.
“Upon moving to Indiana, I would volunteer in my daughter's school and I became a girl scout troop leader. I have also taught Sunday School at my church for almost 10 years now,” said Petrouski.
Working in a church allowed Petrouski to venture into a different area of education. Although she enjoys this, troubles brewed in the world around her which resulted in something very beneficial for her.
“When my daughter's were a bit older, I took a job as a preschool teacher at my church. Then the COVID-19 pandemic came along and the preschool was closed. The isolation and detachment of covid made me realize that I had to go back to work. My husband was not surprised when I started applying for jobs that once again brought me to a place of learning and around kids. I was blessed to find a home here at Fegely Middle School in Portage,” said Petrouski.
The truth is that Petrouski went through different life experiences and everywhere she went was the same result, she knew it was what she was destined to do. Petrouski was meant to give back to the next generation and teach them and be there for them.
“I enjoy interacting with the kids, I am 51 years old and they keep me up to date. I even know what emojis are now!” said Petrouski. “Honestly, just seeing the kids everyday puts a smile on my face. Not only do I get the interactions of over 600 kids, but I have amazing co-workers that make coming into work a joy.”