Bethel High School’s dedicated science teacher Amanda Baghdady has a secret: her younger sister is the award-winning news anchor for WTNH News 8, Sonia Baghdady. Wildcat Word caught up with Ms. Baghdady to chat about everything from her famous sister, to her funniest school moment. Here’s what she had to say:
What is it like having a famous sister?
I’m very proud of the excellent work my sister does and being a public figure or tv personality is so totally different from my profession. It’s interesting to hear her talk about her job and it’s exciting for me when we are together and she gets recognized.
Do you keep in touch with her often?
Yes, we’re very close. Our work schedules are completely different, so I don’t get to see Sonia as much as I’d like. Since I wasn’t able to see her last weekend, I am looking forward to seeing her tomorrow. Which reminds me – I have to call her to confirm our lunch date!!!
Were you two very different growing up?
Yes, I’d say we were different.
What made you two go into such opposite directions for careers?
Ever since she was a little girl, she loved the field of communications. It was evident from early on that Sonia was destined to be on TV. She was much more outgoing as a little girl where I was more shy. I still am somewhat shy. Just ask my students. I don’t even like my picture taken!!! So, I greatly admire my sister. When she was around seven or eight years old, she loved to interview people in our old neighborhood. Most questions centered on the weather or how they were feeling that day. We taped some of her segments and I enjoy watching them to this day. She had unbelievable confidence and charisma in front of the camera. She was amazing and still is. For as long as Sonia has been interested in communications and journalism, I have loved science and teaching. So, yes – very different careers.
Are there any advantages for you having someone famous in your family?
I do get a lot of little gifts and trinkets that she gives me whenever I see her. A couple of necklaces I get compliments on are from her. The gifts are nice, but she is the true gift. I love my sister.
When did you decide to become a science teacher?
I decided my senior year in college. I participated in an Upward Bound program that gave me the opportunity to work with high school students. Helping them with their homework was very rewarding. It was then I decided to combine teaching with my love for science.
Was science your strongest subject throughout high school?
Both English and science were my strongest subjects.
What drew you to Biology?
I loved biology in high school. My teacher had a lot of energy and it was evident he loved his work. He made an already interesting subject much more enjoyable. When I got to college, there was no question that I would declare biology as my major.
What are your favorite things about teaching?
The ah-ha moments I get from my students when they understand something. I also feel like I made a difference when students visit me the next school year.
How long have you worked at BHS?
This is my 13th year working at Bethel High School. Wow, it has gone by so fast!
What challenges do you face daily with students?
Probably getting students to always work to the best of their ability. Hard work is something to be proud of.
What’s some funny situations you’ve been in with other student’s?
I was a judge in the Mr. Wildcat competition last year. I enjoyed that. I have participated with other teachers in school musicals and talent/variety shows. I get nervous, but ultimately I have fun.
What things do you enjoy about working at this school?
I love the people here at Bethel High School. My colleagues and students are the best part of my day.