Jennifer Divasto: The Unsung Hero of Pennridge


Belle Chelton

DiVasto teaching her class

Jennifer DiVasto is one of the most integral parts of Pennridge’s music department but often does not get as much credit as she deserves. DiVasto is the chamber strings and orchestra director at Pennridge and teaches both Rock Band 1 and 2. However, this does not nearly cover how much DiVasto does for the music department and the Pennridge community.

DiVasto had worked at Central Bucks East High School and Holincon Middle School, but in 2021, she joined the Pennridge staff and has become an essential part of the music department. DiVasto is known throughout the music department for her incredible problem-solving skills. If there is ever an issue, students know they can count on DiVasto to have a well-thought-out solution. After all, “there’s no problem too big for DiVasto,” as Bryanna Nase, a chamber orchestra member, stated.

She also loves to try new things in the classroom. “I think the things I love most about my job are when I get to be creative, and I get to give the students a chance to be creative and see what it develops into,” said DiVasto. She started the Rock Band course at Pennridge High School, a place where students of all musical backgrounds could jam together. Through Rock Band 2, Divasto has been teaching the students to write music in various genres, even allowing a couple to learn how to DJ. She is always ready for innovation and creativity, which is one of the reasons so many students have grown to love her as a teacher.

Nase praises DiVasto, saying, “DiVasto makes it easy to explore new skills and new styles through her ever-evolving repertoire. It’s made me a better and more confident musician.” Nase has worked with DiVasto for two years now, having had multiple other directors in the past. “There have been times with other teachers in other programs where I’ve felt like I wanted to scream because we kept playing the same few pieces over and over again until they were absolutely perfect,” said Nase. “There is merit in learning to play a piece perfectly, but I think it’s also important to be able to pick up a new piece and be okay with not playing it perfectly.” DiVasto gives musicians a safe space to try and fail, which gives room for students to succeed.

When asked to give advice to future music teachers, DiVasto said it is important to “have thick skin and be flexible.” DiVasto is constantly changing her plans and trying new things. She also is willing to help at a moment’s notice but also confident enough to say no when necessary. DiVasto is a role model to many students, leading many after-school activities. This year, she helped direct the pit orchestra at the beginning of the musical and also played in the pit for the show. She also helped host regional band this year, helping get the food for the students, staying overnight in a hotel, and staying at the school late at night to help.

DiVasto sends this message to all future music teachers: “Don’t let your creativity be stifled.” DiVasto is always developing and evolving her curriculum and is always willing to learn new things. She is a great asset to the Pennridge community. She continues to help students develop their talents as musicians and develop themselves as humans. DiVasto is an innovative teacher who will continue to change music education for the better for years to come.