The Wondrous Life of Juliana Huegerich

East High School’s roaring new Science department teacher.


Finn Robertson

During the 2021-2022 school year, East High School went through an extreme teacher shortage, specifically in the Science department. Students were being put in the release room because there was a biology teacher missing, and eventually existing classes were made twice as large so that kids could learn in a real environment instead of being put into an empty room. Right before second semester, Juliana Huegerich was introduced as a biology sub to help solve the issue of the overflowing classrooms with more students than they could fit. Huegerich surpassed expectations for her students. Unfortunately, she’s no longer a sub here. But you’ve seen her standing in the science department? Huegerich is now a full-time teacher at East.

“The students made me want to stay,” Huegerich said.

Huegerich spent most of her schooling career in Norwalk. Norwalk is a bedroom community, where most of the schools are named Norwalk Elementary, Middle, and High School, and the people who work there travel to Des Moines for work. Norwalk is a small community, and it only has a grocery store and a few places to eat. Huegerich later went to the University of Northern Iowa to study teaching and to get out of the small community that she had grown up in all her life.

“There’s nothing to do there,” Huegerich said.

Growing up, Huegerich’s mother and father divorced when she was very young. She also has an older brother and an older sister. Some of her pride and joy consists of her pets who are named Ron, a beta fish in her classroom, and her three cats Bill, Ted, and Cattarot. Huegerich describes growing up as “chronically lonely” because of trouble making friends in early childhood, but things turned around in college and she found people that she clicked with and that she truly felt she had close connections with.

“I would never have described my childhood as ‘tough,’ but I would have described it as chronically lonely,” Huegerich said.
Dungeons and Dragons and gaming are a huge part of Huegerich’s passions. She really enjoys the finer art of what a game can bring to you, and it’s something she enjoys doing in her free time. She even has a steam deck so that she can play more games and bigger games on her computer. Because of her beta fish Ron, Huegerich has also started a hobby in keeping fish. Huegerich is into all sorts of music from pop and indie to rock and alternative music. She even said that she listens to a mix of those genres at one time.

“I don’t really listen to a specific type of music, but I listen to music that makes me happy,” Huegerich said.

Huegerich has always wanted to teach. Her fifth-grade teacher really inspired her and pushed her to be better, and that helped her along her teaching journey. Huegerich went straight from college to teaching as a long-term substitute at East High School because of the teacher shortage East was going through at the time. She was very nervous about starting because it was a new place, and she was teaching biology which is not Huegerich’s teaching specialty. Despite these worries, Huegerich quickly found her place in East.

“I was really nervous to start…I just clicked with certain students,” Huegerich said.

Since starting at East, Huegerich has made a variety of improvements. She is now a full-time teacher and teaches both physics and biology. Though Huegerich still feels that biology is not the right class for her, she feels that she has made tremendous improvements this school year. Huegerich has also been running gardening club since she started teaching at East with fellow colleague Owen Hernandez. Huegerich is also the new GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) advisor.

“It’s all happening pretty fast,” Huegerich said.

Huegerich’s coworkers and friends talk about her in a positive light. One of the other science teachers, Jeffery Mowitz, is very excited about her and her teaching.

“Juliana is passionate and is constantly trying to get better…She’s a very good teacher,” Mowitz said.

Students are constantly excited for Huegerich’s classes. They think that she’s a fantastic teacher, and some students are taking her class again this year.

“She’s a cool teacher,” Bryan Alvarez Ceballos.