Staff members say final goodbyes to students

Although their time on campus this year was cut short, four Diamond Bar High School staff members prepare to say goodbye to the classroom and say hello to retirement. 

Wellness Center adviser Sandy Davis, English teacher Daniel Roubian, Chinese teacher Pei-Ying Chai, Algebra 2 teacher Kent Neil, as well as instructional aides Avin Lin and Sheryle Pillars will retire at the end of this school year. Earlier this year, DBHS also said goodbye to art teacher Coleen Gee and office assistant Nancy Horton. 

Neil has been teaching at DBHS for 33 years and has previously helped coach baseball, soccer and football. 

Davis has been at DBHS since 2002 and is also in charge of Peer Counseling. Over the years, she has contributed to many on-campus activities such as DBHS’ annual TEDx Talks, Kindness Week and DB Forum events. Davis worked as an English teacher before she helped launch and then head the school’s Wellness Center.

“It feels surreal to be leaving DBHS,” she said via email. “Due to the pandemic, it seems strange not to see my kids [students] daily and I miss interacting with them and [I’m] missing out on our end-of-the year activities and events.”

Before coming to DBHS, Davis worked at three different schools: Polytechnic High School, Edgewood Middle School and Holy Name of Mary School. Despite having various positions at previous schools, including Associated Student Body adviser as well as Dance Team adviser, she always had an interest in psychology.

“I always wanted to teach or become a psychologist,” she said. “My two passions ended up blending together in the last 15 years of my career.”

After retiring, Davis wants to continue to help others by creating her own social and emotional learning consulting business and eventually train a therapy dog.

Roubian has taught at DBHS for 25 years and currently teaches English 1 and English 1 Honors and 2 Honors. Over the years, he also served as the adviser for both Journalism and Peer Counseling.

“Being Journalism adviser and Peer Counseling adviser enabled me to get to know students on a deeper level which was very rewarding,” he said via email. “These students were not only excellent academically but they were [also] high quality human beings.”

Before coming to DBHS, Roubian worked in the advertising industry for non-profit organizations such as The American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club, Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army and Help the Children. 

“I worked in advertising for a number of years for the non-profit industry, and I could not see myself through the years doing this type of work so I went into teaching,” he said.

After he leaves DBHS, he plans to pursue beekeeping since he has previously taken classes for it and wants to spend more time with his grandson.

Although his time with his students this year was shortened due to the pandemic, Roubian is trying to see the positives of retiring at this time.

“I wish I could have said good-bye in person to students and some staff members,” he said. “Yet one good thing is that I do not have to engage in any retirement activities as I just want to leave quietly.”

Meanwhile, Chai has been teaching at DBHS since 1995, shortly after DBHS announced the school would start having Chinese classes in 1994.

In 1992, after my family moved to California, I started to teach at Diamond Bar Chinese School to keep my children [her students] company on Saturday morning,” she said via email. “DBHS decided to start Chinese classes in 1994 and I was able to start teaching there in the spring of 1995.”

This school year, she taught Chinese 1, Chinese 4, AP Chinese and IB Chinese. Along with teaching, Chai also served as adviser for the Culinary Club from 1998 to 1999.

“I enjoyed working with hardworking club officers to serve schoolmates and provide an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow,” she said.