An Interview with Dr. Vastola

Caroline Palermo, Section Editor

As we come to the end of another great year at Bronxville High School, we are excited about our summer ventures, but are sad to say goodbye to a very special member of our community, Dr. Joyce Vastola, as she embarks on a new adventure in retirement. As our school psychologist for 19 years, Dr. Vastola has touched the hearts of many students and has brought her special brand of joy and energy to help the student community.

Dr. Vastola came to us after working in Ardsley, where she ran a special program for young children. Her main attraction to The Bronxville School came from her experience with a child who attended Bronxville School as well as the Ardsley clinic run by Dr. Vastola. Impressed by the thought and care shown in this young child, Dr. Vastola applied for a job in the Psychology Department and the rest, as they say, is history.

The information between patient and psychologist is confidential, but during our interview, Dr. Vastola vividly described the day to day experience of a school psychologist. As the telephone rang and students knocked on the door, she was able to continue to conduct the interview, while simultaneously attending to the students in need. Her love for her students has kept her motivated, she said: “To have a kid trust you, is a great honor. It’s a precious gift.” To Dr. Vastola,  the students are a life force, as she describes it, “Yes, they are stressed, but it’s a privilege to share a student’s journey through life.”

Stress has a tendency to plague the lives of Bronxville students, particularly as we approach final exams. In order to alleviate that stress,  Dr. Vastola recommends exercise and meditation, explaining that the combination of the two will relieve anxiety and help the student focus on the task at hand. Dr. Vastola advises that not only is it important to do well in school and focus on performing well, but it is extremely important to focus on oneself, and Dr. Vastola has provided guidance and assistance in this area for all students.

While speaking of the past 19 years, Dr. Vastola used the word “glorious”, to describe her many fond memories with teachers and students alike. While Dr. Vastola cherishes her work and recognizes the importance of serving the psychological needs of students, she also mentioned that she will miss the students of The Bronxville School and the atmosphere of our community the most during her retirement. Everyone who has had the good fortune to work with, or be assisted by Dr. Vastola knows her passion and exuberance is unmatched. She will be sorely missed by the Bronxville Community, and we wish her only glorious moments ahead as she embarks on her retirement.