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Mrs. Astrida Rudolph, forming connections for life

Mrs.+Astrida+Rudolph+enjoying+her+weekend+off+outdoors+among+nature.
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Mrs. Astrida Rudolph, forming connections for life

Mrs. Astrida Rudolph enjoying her weekend off outdoors among nature.

Mrs. Astrida Rudolph enjoying her weekend off outdoors among nature.

Astrida Rudolph

Mrs. Astrida Rudolph enjoying her weekend off outdoors among nature.

Astrida Rudolph

Astrida Rudolph

Mrs. Astrida Rudolph enjoying her weekend off outdoors among nature.

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“It was right here in this pod that I decided that I wanted to become a teacher,” said North Penn English substitute Mrs. Astrida Rudolph.

Rudolph’s passion for English began when she was a little girl. Ever since she could read, she took a book with her everywhere she went. Perhaps it was her love for reading books, such as Anne of Green Gables, that led her to pursue the passion as a career.

“My dad was a preacher at our Latvian church in Ohio, so we’d always spend long hours before church and after church, and I’d always go everywhere with a book. Reading was like breathing to me. It was my favorite thing to do” explained Rudolph. 

Reading was like breathing to me. It was my favorite thing to do.”

— Mrs. Astrida Rudolph

Tess of the D’urbervilles

After moving to Lansdale when she was thirteen years old, Rudolph began in the North Penn school district. She loved English class because of the creative thinking, and the freedom that literature provided to think, analyze and discuss topics.

“I remember I was sitting in Mr. Martin’s AP English class. We read Tess of the D’urbervilles and I always loved that book and that name, and I named my daughter Tessa because of that. My daughter reminds me of that English class every day, because I named her after a book I read while I was here” reflected Rudolph.

During her time at North Penn, Rudolph was involved in chorus, National Honors Society, The Knight Crier, and the drama program. Outside of school, Rudolph was deeply involved with the Latvian community center, as well as her church.

“It’s still the same things I love now: singing, acting, writing, academics” chuckled Rudolph.

College Soulmates

It was that same passion and love that she experienced in her high school English classes that led Rudolph to pursue an English major at Bethel University. It was also that same passion and love for singing that led Rudolph to meet her husband through the college’s chorus.

“I was a sophomore and he was a freshman when we met. We started dating and we’ve been together ever since. It’s the kind of story that doesn’t happen often nowadays. I truly believe that there is a plan for everybody. With him, it was instant. Right when we started talking to each other I knew we would be together forever. We have been married twenty two years now,” Rudolph said with a smile.

After graduating college, Rudolph was fortunate enough to immediately begin a full time teaching job at Philmont Christian Academy, where she worked her way up to being the head of the English department.

“I started in sixth grade teaching Language Arts for three years and then a position opened up in the high school, and I did that for seven years. I was in charge of the yearbook, some of the drama things, prom, the class trip. All of the things I loved doing as a student, I was able to do as a teacher. It was awesome,” exclaimed Rudolph.

Astrida Rudolph
Mrs. Astrida Rudolph

Only Connect

More than just the passion of reading and writing, Rudolph adores teaching so much because of the connections she is able to form with students. The thread that is constantly playing throughout her life is a quote from E.M. Forster: “Only connect!”

“One of the most important reasons why we’re here on this earth and one of the things that makes life worth living is our connections with other people. Really looking people in the eye and seeing them for who they are, what they’re going through, appreciating them. When I think about the different stages of my life I think about the connections that I’ve made with different people. I know even now, where I am in life, it’s the connections and relationships that I’ve made with people that have allowed me to be successful but also find joy” said Rudolph. 

I know even now, where I am in life, it’s the connections and relationships that I’ve made with people that have allowed me to be successful but also find joy.”

— Mrs. Astrida Rudolph

When Rudolph teaches, she looks forward to analyzing literature because it is an opportunity to discuss the important things in life.

“That’s what I remember the most. The students that I talked to after school, and the things we talked about in class, all of the discussions. My last year I was there they dedicated the yearbook to me. Those connections, that’s what I remember. I remember the time I spent with my students,” explained Rudolph.

One of Rudolph’s most memorable moments during her time as a teacher happened just before her maternity leave.

“My novels are always filled with Post-it notes. At the end of the year when I came in my seniors had filled the entire classroom with posts. Literally, it was like thousands of post its! They had written little quotes and notes to me. I was eight and a half months pregnant and I walked in and saw that. I thought that was really sweet,” Rudolph recalled.

While teaching has always come easy to Rudolph, one of the most important things she had to establish first was her voice.

“I had to figure out who I was going to be as a teacher, and how to use the strengths that are unique to me in order to make my classroom a great place to learn. You have to really stay genuine to who you are as opposed to copying what works for someone else,” explained Rudolph, “I believe this about teaching and in life: if we know who we are as a person it makes it a lot easier to stay true to ourselves, as we’re teaching and as we’re living.”

I believe this about teaching and in life: if we know who we are as a person it makes it a lot easier to stay true to ourselves, as we’re teaching and as we’re living.”

— Mrs. Astrida Rudolph

Banana Republic “Fashion Stylist” 

Teaching was Rudolph’s dream job, but as her family continued to grow she was forced to take a step back and become a full time mom.

“For me, time was more important than a paycheck, so I walked away from my dream job. My family was time rich in the sense that I had time to go to the park every day with my kids, read stories” added Rudolph.

During the day she was mom and at night she was the Banana Republic “fashion stylist”. Starting as a sales associate, Rudolph decided that she would do her job with all the passion that she taught her students, which led her to creating her own position.

“We realized financially we did need to have a bit more money coming, so that’s when I took on a night and weekend job. That experience as working as a fashion stylist, I believe opened up my eyes about the nature of work and the value behind working at everything no matter what position you’re in.”

Rudolph began to conduct style classes and traveled to other Banana Republics where she taught the employees about how to speak to customers and how to style outfits.

“I actually ended up on the Banana Republic web page for one of my outfits! I saw that as an opportunity to connect with people, and those connections allowed me to be the head stylist with absolutely no fashion training at all,” Rudolph explained.

Even though she wasn’t in her normal environment of a high school classroom, Rudolph still carried over her drive and hard working ethic into Banana Republic.

“Don’t ever have such specific expectations for your life that you don’t allow fantastic surprises to occur. My time as a fashion stylist taught me so much about people, I became a better teacher, and that all work has value. Also, it was really fun” exclaimed Rudolph. 

Don’t ever have such specific expectations for your life that you don’t allow fantastic surprises to occur.”

— Mrs. Astrida Rudolph

Rudolph Behind The Curtain

Outside of the classroom, Rudolph puts all of her time into the things she loves: reading, family, shopping, singing, and travelling.

“One of my favorite things to do is to go to Barnes and Noble on a Friday night with my entire family. I love shopping. The KOP mall is my second home. People call me the sale queen. I sing a lot in my Latvian choir. My family and I also love travelling to all of the national parks” added Rudolph.

One of Rudolph’s favorite things to do is chase sunsets. While visiting Acadia National Park in Maine, Rudolph and her family were able to capture a “sunset chasing” moment at the top of the Cadillac Mountain. 

Astrida Rudolph
Mrs. Astrida Rudolph during one of her “chasing sunsets” moments at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

As she continues to live her life, Rudolph strives to not only connect, but also instill hope in her students and everyone that she meets.

“As long as we are willing to work hard and build relationships, we will find success.”

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Mrs. Astrida Rudolph, forming connections for life