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28

ARTS, MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT

Did your upbringing or family history have an influence on your career choice?

Yes; my mom was a teacher, and as a child I always wanted to emulate her teaching skills. I went to a

sleepaway camp as a camper and then became a counselor for 4- and 5-year-olds. I found that I loved

working with these young children in a 24/7 capacity. Those years at camp became the influential factor in

my deciding to declare education as my major in college.

Do you have any hobbies or side ventures that provide enjoyment or fulfillment?

I am currently practicing yoga six days. I am also learning tai chi and am part of a weekly reiki healing circle.

I am also learning the ancient craft of making mica clay pottery bowls. I still enjoy designing jewelry, mainly

bracelets, using knotting techniques and semi-precious stones, and I make sure to continue honing my

passion for writing by involving myself in that practice daily.

T

hough she hadn’t envisioned herself becoming

an educator someday, Renee Danette Petrola

certainly excelled in that role for more than

40 years as a teacher in the Mount Sinai School District.

More than just a talking head delivering rote material in

front of a classroom, she made a sincere effort to nurture

the literary talents and communication skills of sixth-grade

students in her creative writing classes. Beyond teaching

key elements of literature, Ms. Danette Petrola helped

her students to discover and develop their individual

strengths, encouraging them to enter poetry and writing

competitions. In addition to working in an academic

capacity and collaborating with special education teachers

on occasion, she also served as a conflict mediator for the

district before her recent retirement. Since leaving the

education field, she’s taken her life in a new direction and

followed a passion that lay dormant for years.

Under the name Renee Danette, she has penned and

published three books of poetry, the last two of which are

available online for purchase. Her debut, “Woman on the

Edge of Time,” was self-published in the year immediately

following her retirement and preceded the March 2015

release of “Primitive Dancer.” Her latest work, “The

Healing Tree,” is a deeply personal collection celebrating

growth, spirituality and the beauty of discovering one’s

shared humanity. In this book she states, “Through the

writing of poetry I am able to recognize my indomitable

life-force and pass some of that encouraging energy on

to others.” It is this spark of inspiration, this inexplicable

connection to both the human and divine elements within

that has been a cornerstone of her success. To read more

about her background, visit her on the Web at www.

reneedanette.com

, and head over to

www.amazon.com

to

pick up your copy of one of her books.

Renee

DANETTE PETROLA

Author

Mount Sinai, NY