By Freddy Gradillas and Axel Rosas
Ms. Julia Raykin is new to the Pueblo High School staff this year as a speech and language therapist. Even though she is new to PHS, she has been working as a speech therapist in high schools for more than 14 years.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Raykin would find herself moving with a group of other Jewish immigrants, who moved to Austria, then Italy—and then from Italy to the United States.
During her high school years Raykin was very interested in languages and how people talked—so she decided to learn more about her fascination for linguistics and languages. She completed an internship through her high school at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. After high school, she studied in Israel for a year. She came back to New York to pursue a degree in Communication Disorders and earned her Master’s degree at Long Island University, graduating with a Master’s of Science in 2004.
“I was really interested in languages and wanted to help people out,” Raykin said. This love of languages probably had to do with the fact that she was bilingual. Her mother was a speech therapist in Russia, but speech therapy was very different there. She said that she is able to communicate fluently in English and Russian and can converse in Hebrew and Spanish.
Like most teachers and staff members at Pueblo, Raykin said that she has been challenged working via Zoom this school year.
“The amount of work, sending numerous emails every day and returning assignments to students is very difficult,” Raykin said. She added, “Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to connect with students when they want to have their cameras off because I can’t really tell what’s going on with them.”
Raykin said that she would return to Pueblo when the TUSD School Board decides when it is safe to do so.
“When I do return, I will certainly follow all of the proper safety precautions,” she said.
Raykin said that she enjoys focusing on her students’ strengths and weaknesses—to determine what they need to continue developing their positive attributes and how to improve areas that need to be developed.
She stated, “I really want to focus more on students’ careers and how schools can help them with their futures.”
Raykin added that self-discovery is one of the most valuable lessons a child could learn in school.
“Getting students to know themselves is the life-long journey that I want to help them begin,” she said.