By ERIN KIM
Ah, the iconic Peggy Skulsky. Often spotted in her colorful outfits and her signature curly hair-do, Mrs. Skulsky is one of Uni’s most beloved substitute teachers. Though many students recognize Mrs. Skulsky for her frequent visits to UHS and her bold personality, few know her story and its influence on her approach to education.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Mrs. Skulsky grew up surrounded by skyscrapers and the constant noise of the city. She attended Mumford High School, an academically rigorous institution with about half as many students as UHS. “In high school, I was very shy,” recalled Mrs. Skulsky. “I was very studious, and I loved current events, so I gravitated toward classes that emphasized that kind of subject.”
Her passion for current events and learning persisted, leading her to begin her Master’s Degree in history at the University of Michigan and complete it at the University of California, Irvine. Though she enjoyed studying history, she regrets not having pursued law. “If I had my life to live over again, instead of getting this MBA, I would have gone to law school. I would have liked to practice law but I don’t have the opportunity now. But it still interests me.”
Upon her father’s request, Mrs. Skulsky also obtained a teaching degree. “In those days, girls were expected to go into teaching or nursing,” said Mrs. Skulsky. She acquired years of teaching experience in Michigan and Florida by teaching classes ranging from English grammar to psychology. When her daughter started school at UHS, Mrs. Skulsky began substituting at IUSD schools and almost exclusively at Uni after a few years. She has been a substitute teacher at UHS for 28 years.
Despite the long span of her educational career, her interest in learning has not faded in the least. Like her high school self, Mrs. Skulsky continues to study current events at every possible opportunity. “I love politics. I get the OC Register for the conservative point of view and I get the LA Times for the more liberal point of view. I watch CNN, MSN, and FOX to get the whole conglomeration, and every four years when there’s an election, it’s like an Olympics time for me because I love to follow it.”
Mrs. Skulsky revealed another side to her that many rambunctious teenagers don’t get to see. “You know, really deep down, I’m not as mean as some people think I am. Deep down, I really do have a heart,” she said with a chuckle.
At the core, Mrs. Skulsky has a love for the UHS community that is ever-growing. She explained why she chooses to be such an active part of UHS: “At my age, some people are already retired, but when I get up and I have a place to go… I feel like I’m doing something. And when I see the kids I feel like there’s a reason for me to be here…It gives me a purpose to get up in the morning.”