By Javier Morales
Renee Hango has officially retired.
After 16 years as counselor here at Riverside, Hango has left Riverside and was loved by many Riverside students. Hango started out as an assistant principal at Riverside in 2003 and transitioned to a job as a counselor due to family needs.
“I had a five-year-old daughter who needed my attention,” said Hango. “I made that decision for her. My daughter was going through a hard time in her life and occupied some time that I could not afford to give as an assistant principal.”
Despite having difficulty balancing her career and motherhood, Hango has made Riverside her family. She has made lifelong bonds with teachers and students at Riverside.
Catherine Sebring, a counselor at Riverside, recalls memories from when Hango was a ninth grade counselor. She recalls the friendship Hango has with another counselor, Taheera Blount.
“You never saw one without the other and they were always having fun while serving their kiddos,” Sebring said. “I’ll miss her as I did Ms. Blount when she left us several years ago.”
In addition to creating close relationships with the students and staff she worked with, Hango pushed students to excel in academics. She helped many of her students to graduate and surpass their goals to achieve their dreams.
Senior Maritza Mercado is one student that has achieved her dreams with Hango’s help. Hango’s guidance helped Mercado pursue her post-graduation plans.
“Mrs. Hango helped me personally with my path to college,” Mercado said. “She understood my passion for marine biology and helped me with my college selection. Her guidance was phenomenal and it got me into High Point University with a scholarship.”
Hango believes that, like Mercado, every student can make a difference if they work hard.
“I don’t care where anyone comes from, they can make a difference where they want to go,” said Hango. “The only way to make a difference is you decide what you think, what you want to do, and figure out what you are willing to do. Are you willing to change your friends? Are you willing to wake up early to go to the library instead of the party? Are you willing to give those up, so you can forge yourself in the future? I believe everyone can do it.”
Hango believes she has had an impact, as former students would come back to thank her. When Hango announced her retirement, kids immediately questioned her reasons for leaving.
“They told me, ‘Oh no, Mrs. Hango, wait till June,’ ‘You’re not going to be here for my graduation,’ and ‘Why are you leaving us, Mrs. Hango?’” she said. “I feel really blessed that students feel this way.”
Mercado is one of those students who will miss Hango.
“Hango strikes inspiration and motivation for her students,” said Mercado. “She would guide us and believe in us. Mrs. Hango is one of those counselors that you’d be lucky to have.”
“I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye”- Edgar Guest