Brooke Thaler ‘92
teaches journalism and media studies and coaches varsity girls’ lacrosse at Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. She graduated from Dickinson College in 1996 with a degree in American studies and a concentration in mass media. While coaching field hockey and lacrosse at Denison University, she earned an internship at a nearby television station, where she later became a reporter and anchor. She also worked in public relations and as a freelance writer before going into education.
Many high schools don’t teach journalism or digital media. Why do you think it’s an important skill for students to have?
For so many reasons. Nowadays, we’re getting our media from so many different sources, many of which aren’t verified or reliable. It’s important for kids to understand where their news is coming from, and how to look at it with a critical eye before believing or sharing it. That’s what we examine in Media Studies, and we look at the history of American media, so that we have a better understanding of how the media has evolved into what it is today. As for journalism, students are learning how to present stories that are written, reported and more than just a photo and a caption. We do a lot of “getting to know you” pieces about members of our community, so it’s important for our writers to reach out to people, interview them and accurately tell someone else’s story—and to understand that there’s something interesting about everyone around them, sometimes they just have to uncover it. We also make videos, which help with public speaking and presentation skills. Meeting deadlines is also important. Our publication goes out every Friday, so there’s no leeway.
What are your proudest accomplishments from working in education?
Easy—connections I’ve made with students. That leads to success in the classroom and on the field.
Were there any experiences at Tower Hill that you think shaped your outlook and career?
Yes! Every single thing I do at school, besides work on a laptop or use a cell phone, are things that I did in one way or another at THS. Now I’m just the adult instead of the student. The well-roundedness (or “many things done well”) has turned me into a multi-tasker in all aspects of my career and my life; and the drive and determination I learned playing sports at THS have also had a huge impact on me. One important story in particular, though, was varsity lacrosse Coach Pierson yelling at me from the sidelines. One day, I asked why he always seemed to be yelling only at me, and he said, “Because I know you can do better.” It’s one of the most influential things anyone has ever said to me. He was right, and I constantly remind myself of that when I know that I have more in me. He taught me perseverance and how to push myself and strive to be better. I am so grateful for Tower Hill, in ways I can’t even begin to express. I was a lifer who went from kindergarten through 12th Grade, so it truly made me the person I am today.