By Ayan Saynai, Assistant Editor, Community and Culture
As Payton welcomes the class of 2026 into the building for the first time, it also welcomes a new cohort of teachers. This year, there are 22 new staff members joining the WPCP community! I met with Ms. Seter, a new science teacher at Payton to hear her story.
Paw Print: Firstly, why Payton?
Ms. Seter: I chose Payton because of the students and school culture. I admire the academic drive in students, as well as their ambition to be involved in extracurriculars and explore non-academic interests. The school culture is energetic and feels refreshing when I walk through the doors in the morning.
Paw Print: Why your subject?
Ms. Seter: I’ve always loved science and learning about the nature of the world. Physics is a unique subject where you can describe every part of the world, on the biggest scale–like the universe, and the smallest scale–like quantum. It’s always fascinated me that we’re able to describe these physical phenomena through the language of mathematics.
Paw Print: What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?
Ms. Seter: My favorite thing to do in Chicago (in the summer) is go to the beach on a hot day. My favorite thing to do in the winter is to be downtown while it’s snowing, I just think it’s really beautiful.
Paw Print: What do you believe are the most important challenges for high schoolers and biggest obstacles they face?
Ms. Seter: I think one of the biggest challenges for any high schooler is learning how to create a school-life balance that minimizes stress. Being academically driven is important, but so is learning about yourself, exploring your interests, and spending time with friends and family. Finding a healthy work-life balance is a life-long effort–but it’s in high school when most people first grapple with that challenge. And I don’t want to sound like another adult complaining about the effects of social media, but I think high schoolers today feel unnecessary pressure to have their entire identity figured out at an early age. Instagram is full of people that seem so sure of themselves, broadcasting the message that they have their whole life together — and that’s so misleading.
Paw Print: How do you plan on supporting students through academic endeavors?
Ms. Seter: First and foremost, I hope my students know that I will listen to them. Whether they are struggling in class and I can provide extra help, or their curiosity is sparked and they want to pursue something further, I’m happy to listen and do what I can to facilitate their growth.