Former Hawks come back to the nest as teachers at Viera High


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Viera High School alumni Alex Breeden, left, Maggie Davis, Gina Fleites and James Aiani have returned to work at the school.

Carl Kotala

Viera High School alumnus Alex Breeden had a very special message for students in her economics class when school resumed last month.

“I tell my students on the first day that if you have a teacher that went to school here and has chosen to come back, that should really tell you how much we love this school and how great this school is and how much the people here care about you,” she said.

Breeden, a 2011 Viera High graduate and softball standout, made school history last year when she not only came back to teach, but took over the softball program and led the Hawks to their first final four.

Not only is she back for her second year at Viera, but Breeden has been joined by three more fellow alumni Maggie Davis (2012), Gina Fleites (2012) and James Aiani (2013).

Davis, who also is the new girls basketball coach, is teaching physical science, while Fleites teaches government and world history and Aiani is serving as a technology specialist.

“It’s great to be back,” Davis said. “It’s definitely a full circle, especially with basketball. Once a Hawk, always a Hawk. It’s just kind of an example of how Viera shaped us.”

After graduating, Breeden played softball at South Alabama while Davis played basketball at Valdosta State. Fleites went to UCF and Aiani graduated from Eastern Florida State College.

Viera High principal Mike Alba believes having a number of alumni on the staff can only help increase school spirit.

“We have a stronger culture when we have former students who want to come back to their former school and give back as either an instructor or coach,” Alba said.

“It’s phenomenal. They’re able to have a unique connection with their students with them knowing they were in their shoes not too long ago.”

Of course, there will be some things that will take getting used to. Instead of being the kid in the back of the room talking to their friends, they’re now in the front of the room trying to keep the student’s attention.

And then there is seeing their former teachers and trying not to refer to them by their last names as they did when they were students.

“I have been so welcomed by all my old teachers,” Davis said. “It’s literally like coming back to your family. There’s just nothing better.”

Breeden, who has tried to take what her favorite teachers did well and incorporate them into her own teaching style, was happy to see more former classmates come back to Viera and could certainly understand what they were going through.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s been amazing to be back. It’s been amazing to have other people who were at Viera kind of at the same time I was (back here now). It’s crazy to me how, in just a year, all of the anxieties that I had are gone, and I see it in them, so I’m trying to help them out now.

“There’s just so much you have to learn, and so much you’re learning on the fly. It’s hard if you don’t have people who can help you and are a soundboard for you. It’s been good. It’s allowed us to help each other. They’re helping me with things I didn’t know.” 

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