The Beat

The Beat

Martina Santos 26 (left) hosts Nieves Gomez as an exchange student from Madrid.
Meet Nieves Gomez
May 27, 2024

Be nice to your waitress- she might end up as your English teacher!


and Isabella Perez-Compres ‘25

Ms. Allison Pujol has done it all: a line cook, a governor’s employee, a curator of an art exhibit, and now a teacher.

Ms. Pujol, book in hand, style ready, and prepared to debate, arrived at Carrollton this year from college in Ann Arbor Michigan. She lived there for 4 years in a small college town while pursuing her bachelor’s degree, and she said that the town was “cold but fun.” One of her complaints about Michigan was that “there was not as much Cuban food – which is sad.” She also said that before she became a teacher, she worked at a restaurant for a year, first as a waitress and then as a line cook, which taught her how to be assertive since she was the only young woman in the kitchen. “In the kitchen there is a lot of yelling going on because there is a lot of noise. So if you want to be heard, you have to yell … after a month I was laying down the law,” said Ms. Pujol of her kitchen transformation.

When she was a senior in college, Ms. Pujol worked as a researcher for the food security council under Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She focused on how to expand social programs addressing food insecurity, researching what drives poverty and what prevents people from accessing nutritional food. She also worked briefly in college for the Michigan Daily as a reporter, so this is not her first encounter with journalism students. Ms. Pujol says that the most interesting thing she has ever done is receive a grant to create a virtual art exhibit for the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art. This exhibit centered around art from Russian and Eastern European immigrants in the United States from 1846-1940, and can be viewed here

Ms. Pujol graduated from Carrollton in 2017, and her favorite Carrollton tradition was and still is  goûter. “Conge is, like, OK – you can quote me on that,” said Ms. Pujol when speaking about the more popular tradition.

Ms. Pujol said that the biggest difference between being a teacher and a student is being on the other side of the homework divide. “You are assigning the homework, but also you have to grade the homework. Your homework is to make the homework, then your homework is also to correct the homework, then your homework is to develop the lesson around the homework, and then your other homework is to make a test about the homework,” said Ms. Pujol of her new responsibilities. She also told the Carrollton Post that she struggles with deciding what homework to assign, as she thinks that homework “should be purposeful and meaningful and should contribute to your learning.”

Ms. Pujol said that an interesting aspect of coming back to Carrollton as a teacher has been meeting and befriending the people who taught her back when she was a student. She told the Post that one shock for her was having a friendly lunch with Ms. Baker, who used to be her English teacher. Ms. Pujol also discovered a new surprise in the faculty lounge that she had not realized as a student. “There are a lot of snacks in the faculty lounge, so I’m happy about that. You can quote me on that. I’m normal, what do you want me to say?” 

Ms. Pujol has come to be known at Carrollton as a fashion icon among the students.“I literally got on a feedback form… ‘Please keep wearing combat boots,’ and I was like: ‘ok, this is not helpful feedback,’ but I’m glad they’re liked,” she said of the famous combat boots- her fashion trademark. When the Post asked Ms. Pujol if she had any style inspiration for her fashionable outfits, she said that she has no style icon, “but there are different ways to build your own style that are fun.” Ms. Pujol says that if students want to develop their fashion sense, they should “invest in pieces that you love that can be worn with other things and that can last a while,” since these sorts of pieces can be mixed and matched instead of having to shop for individual outfits. She also said that one strategy for shopping sustainably and finding cool pieces is going to thrift stores, although she acknowledges that, “there are not a ton in Miami, which is tragic.” Ms. Pujol’s advice for the Carrollton students is, “You don’t need a style icon, be your own style icon. Do that. That’s it,” She also shared one of her go-to stores – “I shop at TJ Maxx a lot – gotta give them the shameless plug.” 

Besides teaching 9th grade English, Ms. Pujol also helps the debate department, assisting the debate team during weekend-long tournaments. She says that her least favorite debate argument is called the Baudrillard Critique, which claims that all information is dissuasive since people can’t effectively communicate with each other. Baudrillard claims that this is because we are overloaded with information from different forms of media and filled with so much distraction, it makes understanding and discerning the truth impossible. Ms. Pujol disagrees with this argument because although there may be too much conflicting information, she still thinks that most people can process information and communicate with each other. She also has a particular distaste for this argument because as an English teacher, she is a person who teaches people how to communicate. When asked what her favorite debate argument is, she said that it was the Politics Disadvantage, which argues that we should not pass any controversial legislation in preparation for a certain bill, since controversial bills will drain the political capital of the president and prevent him from passing new bills after that. 

Ms. Pujol says that if she could live anywhere in the world besides Miami, she would live in Chicago. This is because of the stellar public transportation system there, and the fact that it is populated with hundreds of thrift stores. She has visited Chicago for extended periods of time, but has never been able to live there. Ms. Pujol told the Post that she would choose California as a place to live if it were not for the fact that it is “kind of on fire at the moment.” She decided that if given the opportunity, she would time travel back to the 70s in California, since “that would be such an experience.”

Ms. Pujol’s favorite book is “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. “It does so much, it’s so rich, the writing is beautiful, there are a lot of different styles of writing in the book,” Ms. Pujol remarked. She told the Post that she appreciates the intensity of the book, as it requires a lot of analysis to fully understand it. She also appreciates the inclusion of a ghost, since “the ghost is a baby.” She says that having a dead baby haunting its mother is “such an interesting concept, to have something haunting you, but both physically and emotionally.” While on the topic of favorite books, the Carrollton Post Editors just had to ask Ms. Pujol’s opinion on Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, and she told us that she prefers Percy Jackson due to her love of Greek Mythology. She also enjoys musicals, and she recommends Hades Town “if you are into Percy Jackson,” since it is a musical which also adapts a Greek myth to modern life. 

If she could be friends with any famous person, Ms. Pujol said it would be Meryl Streep. “She’s been in everything- she is such an A list, bombshell, high power actress that I kind of want to learn from her to see what it’s like being Meyrl Streep,” Ms. Pujol gushed. Her favorite movie with Meryl Streep is The Devil Wears Prada because she feels it represents her as a young college graduate. The protagonist in the movie is a young woman who just graduated from college and started working, and she deals with people who want to take advantage of her naivete. Mama Mia is another Mery Streep classic she likes, since “the soundtrack [is] chef’s kiss.” 

One of Ms. Pujol’s hidden talents is that she is an excellent baker and cook, which is not surprising considering her experience as a line cook. She told the Post (in a French accent) that she makes macarons from scratch and various gluten-free treats. One of her favorite creations was the strawberry mascarpone cake that she made for her 21st birthday, which had homemade strawberry jam filling. When asked the color of this impressive creation, Ms. Pujol said “it was pink, obviously.” 

Ms. Pujol also shared that her two goals for this year are to, “develop a sense of personality… and confidence as a teacher,” and to decide whether she will continue on as a teacher at Carrollton. She has already met the latter goal, as she told the Post that she would like to continue working at Carrollton.

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About the Contributor
Daniella Roos
Daniella Roos, Entertainment Editor
Daniella Roos is a senior at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. This is her third year as a Beat staff member, and she is the  creator of "Off the Shelf," a book recommendation column. Besides writing for the newspaper, Daniella also enjoys participating on the debate team, traveling to Model UN conferences, and watching indie films.