Humans of LQHS: Nevertheless, Joann Monachello-Prahl persisted


Photo courtesy of Joann Monachello-Prahl; design by Kennedy Garman

Kennedy Garman, Multimedia Editor

A young woman takes a seat outside an office for a job interview. She’s nervous but excited at the prospect of a new opportunity: ready for her interview with her potential new boss, a school principal. 

By the end of the interview, the principal declared that there was nothing special about the 24-year-old and that she will never become a teacher.

Joann Monachello-Prahl is a teacher at La Quinta High School, who has been teaching dance and physical education since 1994.

And yet, despite being told that she wasn’t good enough to become a teacher early in her career, Prahl is a well-respected teacher and mentor in the Blackhawk community. 

“I never dreamed I would be a dance teacher or a cross country coach,” she said. “Those are two things that I was not good at all of my life.” 

Design by Kennedy Garman

Prahl had never danced or coached when she became a dance teacher and coach. She first coached football, despite not knowing what she was doing.

“If I can learn how to teach football,” Prahl said, “then I can learn how to teach dance or do anything in life.” 

Her passion for fitness and staying active motivated her to become a dance teacher. “I like to be active and I’m very kinesthetic. I don’t think I could sit in a classroom,” said Prahl. 

Even after 31 years of teaching, her students are the ones who still inspire her to keep teaching. “They’re the ones that keep driving me to keep doing what I’m doing because I feel like I’m making a difference, a little bit,” she said.

She also credits her faith as motivation to not listen to the principal who told her she would never become a teacher. “It wasn’t God’s plan for me and my life,” she said, “and I had to just trust Him and know not to give up.” 

It all worked out in the end. 

“If I would have listened to the principal that told me there was nothing special about me,” she said, “I would not be sitting here in this interview with you.”

Humans of La Quinta High School is an ongoing series featuring Blackhawk students and staff. Follow us on Instagram @humansoflqhs and Twitter @lqhawkview