Viva! Mrs. Olstad: One Click and a Flash Away From Retirement


Sierra Blaser, Editor

Another teacher leaving the Sahuaro family this year is Mrs. Olstad, our Yearbook (Viva!) and Graphic/Web Design teacher. The beloved teacher started here at Sahuaro in 2014 and has decided to make the 2021/2022 school year her last. “I have enjoyed learning and creating a whole new curriculum for Photography and Graphic Arts,” she said. “Photography has always been a hobby, which I began developing skills in on my High School Yearbook. To be able to do something I love for the past eight years, learn and create a new curriculum, has been a great opportunity. I have enjoyed being the yearbook advisor for the past two years. That experience really gave me an opportunity to connect with the Sahuaro community.”

Mrs. Olstad began her teaching career at Fickett Middle School in 1989, where she taught math and computer science while running the dropout prevention program. “I used to volunteer and help coach swimming, and I realized that I was a natural teacher and really enjoyed it.” After teaching at Fickett, she moved on to Pueblo High School for a year, followed by four years at Townsend Middle School, teaching Math, Science, and Boys PE. “I took two years off when my daughter was born and returned to University High School, where I taught Chemistry for 17 years.” She is now closing her final chapter here at Sahuaro.

“A proud moment that impacted my teaching was when I received the Governor’s award for supporting students with developmental disabilities. Early in my career, I supported a severely disabled student in my class and set up a training for my students who then volunteered in the morning PE program for our special needs students.” She later continued, “Several years later, the brother of that student was in my class at UHS. He and his family remembered what we did and let me know how grateful they were. At the time I remember thinking, “doesn’t everyone do this as a part of their job?” Sometimes what we think is normal can be extraordinary for those around us”

After retirement, Olstad plans to continue coaching swimming and building her family’s aquatics business, South West Aquatic Sports. “We offer programs in swim teams, diving, synchronized swimming, and swim lessons as well as aquafit and master swimming for adults. I look forward to having more time at home with family and friends and all of our animals.” Olstad is excited for this next chapter in her life and hopes to eventually be able to build an aquatic center for the family business.

“I really have enjoyed our kids,” she said. “I think our kids are a great, diverse population that does a good job representing Tucson. To get to know the students on such a deep level, and really learn about them and see where they’re at, it’s really cool. I’ll probably miss the kids the most.” We here at Sahuaro will miss Mrs. Olstad greatly, however we wish her well in her ventures during retirement.