Walk the halls of Immokalee High School (IHS) and you may think you are seeing double. Identical twins, Samantha Burtch and Ashley Wippel, joined the staff of IHS just this year after teaching English at Immokalee Middle School (IMS) for six years. Have a conversation with them, and you’ll quickly learn that they are the quintessential example of twins. They dress alike, they teach the same subject, they went to the same college, they are both married to teachers at IMS, they had children just months apart, and they live in the same neighborhood just one street away from each another.
Another thing Burtch and Wippel have in common is their love of Immokalee. “The town’s meaning of ‘My Home’ really resonates with us because we feel as though we’ve found our home working in Immokalee,” shared Burtch.
Together, the twins came down from Central Michigan University in 2014 to intern at IHS. Central Michigan University has a partnership with IHS and has sent interns down to Florida almost every year for the last 10 years. “When we came to Immokalee, the people were extremely welcoming and friendly, which made us want to stay,” adds Wippel. “We decided to accept positions at Immokalee Middle School and worked there from the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2020.”
Burtch and Wippel explain that their move to IHS this year has been really exciting and rewarding. “We knew a lot of the people already from our previous experience, and seeing so many of our former students has been truly heartwarming!”
Meeting a teacher who has such love, compassion, and enthusiasm for their students, school, and community is always gratifying. Multiply that by two and it’s even better.