Laryssa Schmidt teaches political citizenship, government, and civics classes in the Upper School. She is also the yearbook advisor and girls’ golf coach.
The founding of the United States especially intrigues Schmidt, who enjoys exploring with students the various viewpoints of the country’s founders, the loyalists to King George, and the many decisions that laid the groundwork of the United States just a few centuries ago. “There were some brilliant minds working out this agreement, the first of its kind in history, and I love when students get fired up realizing the magnitude of the sometimes conflicting ideas as these people created a new system of government.”
Schmidt believes that students better understand current issues and events when they have a strong foundation in history. “If they know our current system of government and how we got here, they can better understand the complexities of it and the possibilities for the future,” she says. She admits experiencing “goose-bump moments” when delving into a topic in history and knows her students have these moments of insight and exhilaration, too.
As a complement to her teaching of history, Schmidt co-leads Charles Wright’s Model United Nations Club and especially appreciates its role in helping students develop critical-thinking and speaking skills as they advocate for the viewpoint of the nation they are representing. She has taken Charles Wright’s team to several Model United Nations conventions, including Harvard’s, considered the “Super Bowl” of Model United Nations.
“I could talk all day about government and politics,” Schmidt admits. Fueling her love of these topics is her appetite for reading history books, primarily biographies in which she can learn more intimately about the lives of those who shaped our nation.
Schmidt balances her intellectual pursuits with teaching fitness classes and running. “For myself and for students, developing lifelong fitness habits helps us feel better, and clears the cobwebs so we can be at our best,” she says.
Her community service interests include volunteering with the Prison Pet Partnership Program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.