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Teachers Face Long Commute

Technical drawing, architectural drawing,and digital visual teacher Benjamin Tripp works on his computer. Tripp makes an hour long trip from North Carolina to Virginia every week. Photo by Shelby Hayes.

Screeching brakes, honking neighbors, and morning coffee on the way to work is the daily norm for teachers Beth Andersen, Benjamin Tripp, and Sarah Warwick.

Andersen, who is an English teacher at the high school, commutes to work from Richmond everyday, which usually takes her about 38 minutes to get to the school in the morning. Although that is a significant amount of time, Andersen used to live in Williamsburg where it took her an hour to get to work.

“Out of all this [Prince George] has been the shortest commute, and I think that 38 minutes is not a lot to sacrifice in order to be able to teach at my own alma mater,” Andersen said.

As Andersen said, living in Richmond is not the longest trek to school. Tripp, a technical drawing, architectural drawing,and digital visual teacher, makes an hour long drive to work every morning and another hour back home to North Carolina.

Tripp was a teacher for 40 years and retired in North Carolina.

After retiring he still wanted to pursue his life long career as a teacher and came to work in Virginia where he has been teaching at Prince George for 2 years. Tripp likes the school system and comes to work every morning because of the friendly atmosphere here.

“I’ve had jobs where I’ve lived closer to home,” Tripp said, “But my wife is from Petersburg so its like close to home for her.”

Along with Andersen, Warwick, a US History teacher, makes a daily commute of 45 minutes from Richmond.

“Depending on traffic, sometimes it’ll take about 50 minutes or more to get to work,” Warwick said.

Warwick, although she works and lives in Virginia, grew up in Florida where she had to drive 40 minutes to get to high school.

“[Driving this far] it’s nothing to me; I’m used to it,” Warwick said.

Long distances, aggressive morning and afternoon drivers, and leisurely traffic does not prevent these teachers from coming to teach their students here in Prince George.

These three teachers all have their own reasons behind why they commute as far as they do each day.

Andersen, not only an English teacher, but she is also the Gifted Education Supervisor and teaches independent study which is an honors class for seniors or any student in a gifted program such as PACE, SAGE, SOAR, and PASS.

“I have the privilege of working with some of my best friends, working in a place where I’m really invested, and where I very much care about making an impact on the place that impacted me,” Andersen said. “I wouldn’t change that.”

Andersen enjoys her everyday commute to work and says that in a way it helps her prepare for the day.

“Afterall, I don’t know what I would do with a 10 minute commute,” Andersen said.

Warwick enjoys the distance and the life of living in the city, and because she is still young, she wishes to stay there until she’s ready to settle down.

“Prince George was where I got hired, but I also still liked living in Richmond,” Warwick said. “I have my friends in Richmond and I’m young; I want to stay in Richmond.”

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