Olivia Pettengill has been a level 2 teacher for The New England Center for Children’s Westboro I residence for a year and a half. A colleague nominated Pettengill because “she is an incredible case manager and an overall wonderful addition to the West 1 family! Olivia spends her off hours making sure that her case student is set up for success, whether that be diligently working on her parent contacts, creating materials for his classes, and helping run his clinical programming. Olivia spends her hours on shift enriching the lives of our students, whether that’s through teaching them how to do chores, playing games, or helping them participate in specials. Olivia makes sure to run the classes that do not get as much attention, and helps the students be the best versions of themselves. Olivia always brings a positive attitude to shift and makes it a fun environment for everyone!! We are so lucky to spend every day with her!”
What is your favorite part of your job?
I have loved building positive relationships with my students and coworkers. I feel lucky to have such an amazing group of people to teach and work alongside of. It makes it easy to come to work every day.
Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?
Before NECC, I didn’t know a lot about autism. I had a basic understanding of what it might be like, but I knew there was more I didn’t understand. I watched Love on the Spectrum on Netflix after graduating college, and I remember thinking that I wanted to hang out with everyone featured on the show. So, when the opportunity came to work at a school for children/young adults on the spectrum, I thought it would be a great learning opportunity for me and I haven’t looked back since.
I connected with NECC through the career services department at Framingham State University. It seemed like an incredible school with a great work environment, and it was a full-time option while most places were closed from the pandemic.
What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?
I am super into board gaming! I find that it’s a refreshing and fun way to connect with other people.
Who is someone you look up to?
My older brothers have been amazing role models in my life, and who coincidentally both happen to be teachers!
What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?
I try my best to live mindfully; just being present, enjoying the moments I’m in and sharing that happiness with the people around me. It has made my life so fulfilling!