The Communicator

The Communicator

The Communicator

Amazon to Ann Arbor

Kate Groves

From boating down a river in the Amazon Basin to working with the Shipibo Conibo indigenous tribe, Rebecca Buell has been everywhere. But right now, you can find her in Room 315, working as a long-term FOS substitute.

Buell has traveled and worked in various countries, but between her adventures, she’s always looking for ways to put her teaching experience to use. After trying out several different schools, Buell found Community High School to be the perfect match for her worldly persona. The open-minded environment at CHS is unique, and Buell’s students are constantly inspiring her to keep learning and expanding her knowledge past the norm.

“Some of the conversations I had [with students] when I was here a few days last year, I went home and I was still thinking about them,” Buell said.

Teaching science at CHS allows Buell to pursue her life passion in a different way. While she spends lots of time traveling outdoors, there’s still more to learn inside the classroom. No matter where you are, Buell feels that science is all about exploration.

“Science lets us expand our perception of reality,” Buell said. “There’s universes within all of these things that seem quite mundane or boring.”

For Buell, one of the best parts about working with the Shipibo Conibo tribe is how different it is from her life back in Michigan. When she travels to Peru, Buell is living completely remote. Without electricity, she carries around portable solar panels and learns to live offline. Furthermore, Buell has learned just how sacred the Shipibo tribe is and she’s always aware of her place within their environment.

“[I let the] people I work with take the lead, and then I’m supporting things that they want to do and issues they care about,” Buell said.

Living as an outsider within the Shipibo Conibo tribe holds countless special moments — one of the most impactful memories coming at a time she least expected. Buell was on a walk with a few women from the tribe when suddenly, she noticed that they had stopped at a pond full of Paiche, a type of Amazonian fish. Curious, Buell watched as one of the women started singing to the Paiche, and in response, they began to dance. Astonished, Buell realized she would’ve missed that moment had she not stopped to appreciate what was right in front of her.

“I feel like here, you know, there’s so much of that pressure to go go go that sometimes we forget that magical moments happen when we’re not really paying attention,” Buell said. “Living with indigenous people is a constant reminder to slow down and be present.”

The Shipibo Conibo tribe is the gift that keeps on giving to Buell. They have invited her into their unique way of life, teaching her about the importance of seemingly insignificant moments. And through all this, Buell has come to see the beauty in difference. She feels that individuality holds tremendous value and is often overlooked, especially in high school. As a teacher, Buell has seen how painful the experience of being different is for kids but feels that those struggles help to shape you. Your originality is something to be celebrated.

“So many people have to fight so hard just for that right to be who they are,” Buell said. “Don’t take that for granted.”

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About the Contributors
Elle McCreadie
Elle McCreadie, Journalist
Elle is a junior at CHS and this is her first year on staff. Outside of room 300, you can find her playing guitar in her room, drinking a matcha latte, or contemplating buying concert tickets. Elle loves spending time with family and friends, swimming in lakes up north, and doing absolutely anything involving music. She is super excited to see what this year in Journalism brings!
Kate Groves
Kate Groves, Journalist
Kate is a Junior at CHS and is so excited to be joining the Communicator for her first semester on staff! In her free time, she loves playing soccer, participating in musical theater, reading, listening to music and being outdoors. She is an avid Taylor Swift fan and can be found re-creating her performances.

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