PHS Science Teacher, Ms. Quinn, Is Loving Retirement

Ranger Ledoux, Paper Clip Staff/Writer

Keen eyes might have noticed a friendly face missing from the halls of Portsmouth High School this year. Debra Quinn, a recently retired science teacher, ended her 42 year career at PHS, and is loving her retirement already. No longer are the days of beakers and test tubes for Quinn, but instead good reads and Floridian road trips.


“No alarm clocks, do whatever the heck you want whenever you want,” said Quinn in an interview with a Paperclip correspondent over FaceTime. “Retirement is awesome … It’s just like endless summer.”


When asked what she missed most about her time at PHS, Quinn responded with: “Students, the energy, and the awesome people I work with. The people I work with are the best part of school.” Quinn has a long history of making a good impression on many students with her no-nonsense personality and sharp wit, making both her co-workers and students laugh out loud.


“She is my favorite teacher I have ever had,” said PHS Junior Jackson Shackleford, who was in Quinn’s Honors Biology Class. He elaborated on this quote by explaining her “incredible sense of humor.”


“Ms. Quinn is a great human being and she makes learning fun,” said PHS Junior Maddie MacCannell who also had Honors Biology with Quinn, and noted the unique connection that Quinn was able to form with her students.


On the contrary, Quinn says that she does not miss working weekends, setting up labs, and preparing for classes. “Not grading papers is the absolute best,” said Ms. Quinn. She enjoys being able to have a lot of freetime to do whatever she wants.


With her new found freetime Quinn says “I read, I garden, and I talk with my friends” She has also been watching a lot of TV, one of her favorites being “Only Murders in the Building” starring Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short. “That show is hilarious,” said Quinn


She is also hoping to be able to travel the world soon. She said that she plans to join a classical Greek course at the University of New Hampshire which begins with the start of the UNH term on August 28. She wants to travel to Greece and hopes that learning Greek will help her on her journey.


Though retirement has not been all sunshine and rainbows for Quinn, as two weeks ago she had surgery on her elbow. While having dinner at a friend’s house she fell down a flight of stairs pinning her elbow under her body. “[I] crushed the distal end of my humerus and fractured the proximal end.” Despite an unfortunate injury Quinn says she is recovering “remarkably fast.”


When asked about how she felt about transferring to a new phase of her life, Quinn responded with “it felt a little weird, but I weaned myself [off of teaching] by coming in occasionally as a substitute teacher.” She did leave some words for students about retirement. “Don’t work towards retirement, play towards retirement.”