Sarah Cross’ path of life

Cross shows appreciation for a student's hard work. Photo credit: Andrew Wetmore

By Diana Gomez ’19, Dania Herrera ’19, and Styles Pinkston ’19   

The whistle blows and the piercing sound of it bounces off the walls of the gym. Right away, students sprint across the gym. Again, the whistle fills the gym, but this time students are met with Sarah Cross’ encouraging smile. “Keep going, come on, you’re almost there,” she yells as the students push themselves to work hard ,despite the sweat dripping down their faces. Cross keeps on encouraging students, and it may seem like she always planned on being a teacher but that wasn’t always the case.

Growing up, Cross aspired to be a chef. In fact, she even studied to be a chef. Cross says that in the beginning of middle school, she took an interest in cooking. Cross asked her mom if she can cook for their family, and she continued practicing like that. “I was spending my own money on groceries because it was my passion,” said Cross.

But as Cross went into school, and continued to study to become a restaurant manager and chef, she realized that maybe that wasn’t the life she wanted afterall. “The more time that I spent in the restaurant the more I was like ‘oh, I don’t think this life is for me’ because it was a lot of weekends and a lot of nights,’”  said Cross when asked what stopped her from becoming a chef. Cross added on by saying that she didn’t get to celebrate holidays or have any time to see her friends or family while she was pursuing her career in becoming a chef. “I rather have a job that allows me to also see my family or do things that I want to do,” said Cross.

Apart from studying to be a chef, Cross also took classes to learn how to be a massage therapist. By doing that, Cross was able to to learn how to do Chinese massage and Thai massage. Cross’ skills come in handy because she says that whenever a co-worker is sore, she would give them a “Quick, five-minute massage between classes.”

Outside of school, Cross does lyra and static, which are two types of trapeze. Static trapeze is when the user is allowed to move around, meaning there is no flying involved, but a rope or a bar hung from the ceiling are involved. Lyra trapeze involves those huge hoops where the body fits into, and the user is allowed to move and do tricks within the hoop. Both acts require the user to be as flexible as a paper clip.

It all started when Cross was traveling and she saw a person, “Messing around with silks,” and right away, Cross was intrigued. Cross added on by saying her thoughts were “That’s so beautiful! I don’t know exactly what that is but I want to do it.” From there, when Cross returned to Chicago, she started to research trapeze and attended a performance in Olaft school, and once again, Cross was left in awe. Cross then signed up for classes the following week.

When Cross is not working, she also enjoys taking care of her niece and nephew. “I like to babysit and then I also hate to babysit, you know?” said Cross, she added on by saying, “There’s a certain point where I’m like ‘Okay, um, when’s my sister coming home?’”

Charles Rosentel, a sophomore World History teacher who is very close to Cross, describes Cross as,”{…} a multi-talented, fun-loving, flexible, smart person who loves to take a bite out of life.’’ That explains why Rosentel has experienced many memories with Cross. They have traveled a lot together, but one of his favorite memories with her is when they went caving for eight hours in Puerto Rico. He said they both went ziplining and climbed mountains.

When Cross is not doing trapeze, babysitting, giving massages, or traveling, she is one of the four P.E teachers at Pritzker. Being a teacher for many years has led Cross to develop many relationships with her students and other teachers. Although being a teacher isn’t always what she planned, Cross says, “I find myself doing something I never thought I would be doing and I like that everything is different, and I like that I have so many different relationships with coworkers and with students,” said Cross when asked what she likes about her job.

As a teacher, Cross is supportive and enthusiastic. She always yells out things at students, during physical education, like, “Go! Keep going,” or “Nice work!” When she sees students starting to give up or  getting tired.

Yomaira Herrera, a junior, said that she feels Cross’ support when in P.E, “When a student is struggling Ms.Cross is willing to help them in order to get better.”

To keep her students interested, she plays music and dances along to it to make students realize that hard work can also turn into something fun.

Alison Lifka, Cross’ co-coach for cheerleading, who has known Cross for only 2 years, feels that “I [Lifka]was lucky to have her [Cross] become my assistant coach this year because of the kind of person that she is, and I felt honored that she was the person I got to coach with, and that is one of the reasons why the cheerleading season was successful.”

Emily Driessen, one of Cross’ coworkers and friend, thinks that Cross is, “A caring, hard working individual who cares about doing the right thing.” Driessen also feels that Cross has taught Driessen many different methods to teach kids that she normally wouldn’t do.

Apart from being supportive, Cross is patient. Rosentel says she listens to people before she says anything. Instead of interrupting, Cross waits and listens to what the person has to say before she speaks. This ties into being a teacher, because a teacher answers a student’s questions, and patience is key.

Cross has impacted Pritzker in so many different ways. She has shown that obstacles can be easily handled by how you look at them. Although Cross is currently, “Uncertain about the future,” She is still happy at Pritzker and is always open to finding new adventures.