Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Paresky fellow: Christine Parzych Vigneux ’91

650_Vigneux Christine 2When she was a freshman at Wheaton, Christine Parzych Vigneux had already planned out her career. After she graduated, she figured, she’d go into politics.

But a funny thing happened. The political science major, who even interned at the State House, began to tutor students at nearby Norton High School.

“I remember working with kids who were really struggling,” she says. “And then there would be that moment—that ‘aha,’ where they’d suddenly get it.”

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Vigneux felt she was directly impacting the students, helping them on a tangible, individual level. Parents of Norton High students began to seek her out to tutor their kids.

“I loved the excitement of politics,” she says. “But I had found my calling.”

She decided to get her master’s degree from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, where she received a Paresky Fellowship.

From there, it’s been a whirlwind: she taught social studies in Belchertown,  Mass. Four years later, she was promoted to assistant principal. Then, at only 28 years old, she was named principal of Belchertown High School. She was one of the youngest high school principals in Massachusetts. But she jumped into the challenge headfirst—and she’s been there ever since.

She loves shaping the education students receive, and she credits her professors at  Wheaton for being role models in how to treat students.

Education is a family affair in the Vigneux home. Her husband is an English teacher at Belchertown High, where, fortunately, he has a good relationship with his boss.

In May, Vigneux attended the reception for fellows at Susan and Joseph Paresky’s home.

“I am grateful to both of them, for what they’ve allowed me to do in my career,” she says. “I hope I’ve made them proud.”