Gaby Macera graduated from Delaware Valley Friends School in 2012. At DVFS, Gaby was an athlete - playing basketball for the school and participating in an international tournament in Amman, Jordan with the girls team. She was also active in the Diversity Committee, representing the school at two national diversity conferences in Colorado and Philadelphia. Gaby expressed her creativity and imagination as part of DV's Improv Acting Club. She graduated from Immaculata University in 2016 with a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing her Master's in Counseling Psychology at Temple University.
When did you come to DVFS, and from where?
I came to DVFS in 8th grade from a parochial school. I remembered I hated being there and I could not wait to go back to a Quaker school. Before attending DV I went to another Quaker school. I have always enjoyed the Quaker values such as Simplicity and Peace.
Can you tell us a little bit about your learning difference and struggles in school?
I have a math, reading comprehension, written expression, and anxiety disorder. When I was younger being in school was a nightmare. I felt that none of the teachers understood me or how to teach me. I thought I could never understand math; I thought I was dumb. I would spend countless hours crying and pulling my hair out trying to understand a passage I was reading or a concept in math.
Do you have any special memories from your time at DVFS?
Every time I think of DV I remember the feeling of being part of a community where people understand each other’s struggles. I also remember feeling and believing that anything is possible. Mostly, I remember playing basketball with Tom Lees and going on the trip to Jordan to play basketball with the Girls Varsity Basketball team in 2012. Playing basketball, representing DV at the tournament, and being in and learning about another culture was one of the best experiences of my entire life! I also remember Diversity Club [now a student government committee] with Roz Turner. Going to the Diversity conferences in Colorado and Philadelphia opened my eyes to learning about different groups of people, supporting each ethnic community, and how to be a leader. I’ll never forget any of the English classes and the fun discussions about the books whether it was with Bill Keeney or Bill Dawe. Participating in Improv club with Bill Dawe was a favorite after school activity that fed my creative and imaginative side. However, my favorite special memory is having a one-on-one math class with Steve Cooney, who really taught me the skills I needed to understand math and never gave up on me. I remember LC, who was also a terrific math teacher who believed in me. Thanks to Steve and LC I can do math now!
What are you doing now? If in school, where and what are you studying? What do you plan to do upon graduation?
I graduated in 2016 from Immaculata University, where I obtained a BA in Psychology. I am currently attending graduate school at Temple University, where I will be getting my Master's in Counseling Psychology. I have also been working at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in the Children’s Behavioral Health Services. I am working as a Direct Support Professional for children and adolescents with extreme behavioral issues.
What do you think the long-term value of a DVFS education has been for you?
My DVFS education has taught me that you can conquer any challenge if you have the right mindset, you try your hardest, and never give up. Another long- term value that I have never forgotten is public speaking and being a leader in the community. I was afraid and hated public speaking when I was at DV, but thanks to Roz Turner, I was able to find my voice and now I do public speaking all the time at school. Being at DV taught me to have self-confidence and to advocate for myself; the teachers always pushed me to be positive and do my best. I remember being amazed that I could actually complete a math problem and get A’s on math tests! Now I take this “I can do it attitude” and apply it to many areas of my schoolwork and life today. Also, the Quaker values have taught me to treat everyone with respect and to take care of one another.
Anything else you would like to share about your DVFS experience?
My experience at DV has made me realize how much I have a love for human behavior, which is why I decided to pursue a degree in psychology. Since I have a learning difference, I have always been fascinated with how the brain is wired, what makes us do the things we do, or think the way we think.