Where Are They Now?
Our popular feature looks at Missy Sachs-Kohen, Pikesville High School, Class of 1985.
Debra Roth Kane
Voted “Most Athletic”by her Pikesville High School classmates, Missy Sachs-Kohen, class of 1985, says that peoplestill ask her what sports she is playing. But her life revolves around other things now, including a job that she loves as a school social worker in the high school program at Rosedale Center, an alternative school for students with behavioral challenges. Today, Missy lives in Pikesville with her partner, Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen, and their two children, son Manny, who turns five this month, and daughter Noa, age two.
iNSIDER: What earned you the title of “Most Athletic”?
Sachs-Kohen: I played lacrosse, field hockey and basketball. Senior year, instead of playing basketball, I ran indoor track. I suppose playing sports every season did it.
You were captain of the varsity lacrosse team. How did the team do?
I can’t remember. I know we won more than we lost.
What did you study in college?
I got my bachelor’s of science in recreation from the University of Maryland. My plan was to work for a summer camp all year round. Instead, I got my master’s in social work and Jewish studies; it was a joint program of the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Baltimore Hebrew University, called the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service at the time.
What are the challenges you face working at Rosedale Center?
The center is a placement for kids who demonstrate behavioral issues when they are in mainstream programs. They get suspended from school or expelled, and the county places them in this program.
These students are used to behaving in unacceptable ways. That’s hard to change, like any bad habit, especially when nothing else in their lives is changing — only the schooling has changed.
But there must be unique satisfactions as well?
There are, like knowing that I’ve had an impact on a young person’s life and seeing him or her be successful. Comprehensive high schools often have 25 kids to a class, which leads to behavioral problems. Our program has 75 students total, with some classes that have only 6 or 8 kids. We can give them lots of academic support, so they have academic success, not just behavioral success. I love my job. I feel lucky.
What about the original plan to work for a summer camp?
I worked at Camp Louise for two weeks this summer, helping with programming. I started going there in 1979 and have spent part of at least 15 summers there. I’ve stayed very connected.
I’m guessing that Noa is a bit too little, but does Manny play anysports?
Yes, Manny plays baseball and loves it.