Cassity uses past experiences for teaching at OHS


photo courtesy of Connor Cassity

Ms. Cassity on the medal stand her senior year of high school when she and her partner won the state tennis doubles championship for Clayton High School.

As a high school student, Ms. Connor Cassity went through a difficult period of her life that caused her to go through many changes. This included moving schools and homes for personal reasons. 

After transferring to Clayton High School, many of her teachers knew about the situation and chose to help her as much as they could. Teachers would have Cassity stay after class to see how she was doing, send emails to check in, and always let her know they were there for her. 

“By them doing that,” Cassity said, “I was able to maintain a strong support system at school, which helped me stay up with my grades and not let what I was experiencing outside of school affect what was happening at school.”

Their impact ended up playing a major role when it came to deciding a major during her first semester attending the University of Missouri. Choosing between engineering and education, Cassity ended up deciding to become a teacher because she wanted to be the same support system and advocate for students as her teachers were for her.

“High school is not the easiest of times no matter who you are, and I knew that my experiences could help me be a better teacher for my future students,” said Cassity, now a math teacher at OHS. 

“She always offered to come in before or after school to help with whatever problems we were dealing with,” one of her students, Emily Looker (12), said. “She’s the type of teacher you would feel comfortable talking to.”

High school is not the easiest of times no matter who you are, and I knew that my experiences could help me be a better teacher for my future students”

— Connor Cassity

Due to Cassity’s high school experiences, she understands that many students are going through difficult circumstances of their own. She has learned from her past by knowing how to be an approachable adult that can help students stay motivated, feel positive and keep pushing through those hard times in order to get to where they want to go.

“When we were hiring for a math position, Ms. Cassity taught a class for us and it was amazing to see how fast she formed relationships with students and introduced a topic to them,” said Mrs. Ronda Brown, OHS math teacher and co-department chair. “Her dedication to students is something I hope we have at OHS for a very long time!”

Along with being able to teach, Cassity was given the opportunity to use one of her other passions at OHS. At the age of 3, Cassity began playing tennis and continued it through high school. 

“As soon as I knew I was going to study being a high school math teacher, I knew I wanted to get involved with the tennis program in any way I could,” she said. “Tennis has been a huge part of my life ever since I can remember.”

One of Cassity’s best memories was her senior year of tennis when she and her doubles partner won state. After getting second her sophomore and junior year, she was determined to get first place her senior year. Cassity and her partner worked extra hard during the season to be ready to compete in the state tournament. 

“I remember I hit an overhead winner on match point and it was one of the best feelings I have ever had — all of our hard work and determination finally paid off,” Cassity said. 

This experience wasn’t only just a feel-good moment, it also prepared her for coaching tennis.

She taught me that even if the opposing team is ‘better’ when it comes to skill level, that doesn’t mean I can’t win”

— Nina Mruckovski (11)

“Since my road to winning state was definitely not a one and done thing,” she said, “I always like to remind the players on the team that you have to be committed during your practices and dedicated to improving if you really want to see results.”

Her finals match also helped her relate to the players when they started to get into their head during their match. According to Cassity, tennis is a very mental game so being able to strategize and get her players to stay positive is very important for the team. 

“She taught me that even if the opposing team is ‘better’ when it comes to skill level, that doesn’t mean I can’t win. I just have to put my mind to it,” said Nina Mruckovski (11).

After starting teaching during the 2019-2020 school year, Cassity has felt lucky to have been given the opportunity of teaching at OHS even with the changes the school has endured. 

“Even though things have been hectic, I still have gotten to experience the rewarding moments of being a teacher as well as supporting my students,” Cassity said, “and I would not trade that for any other job.”