Local Middle School Teacher Embraces Venue Change | Working for a Living

Sonni Shupe. Courtesy photo.
Sonni Shupe. Courtesy photo.

Sonni Shupe, 39, was nominated by her peers and named Teacher of the Year at Myrtle Beach Middle School for the 2014/2015 school year.

Originally from Downingtown, Penn., she moved here with her parents in 1990. Her stepdad, Lou Mascherino [a.k.a. Mash] used to come down on golf trips, but he and wife Rhonda Mascherino [Shupe’s mom] decided to open up a deli here and make Myrtle Beach home.

“They had Mash’s Deli when we first moved down here,” she said, adding that the business was on Lake Arrowhead Road, two doors down from Bimini’s Oyster Bar. The Mascherinos currently own Veterans Café and Grill in Myrtle Beach.

Shupe graduated from Myrtle Beach High School, earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education and physical education at the College of Charleston. She holds a master’s degree in instructional technology from Coastal Carolina University.

“I went to school to become an athletic trainer,” she said. “I put myself through school working many jobs, and I thought the best way to get my hours [1500 hours of required clinical time] was to come back and work under Dr. Jim Berry at Myrtle Beach High School.”

Berry was head athletic trainer there for many years as well as Shupe’s former teacher. She decided to pursue a teaching degree in order to work with Berry.

"But my plans changed when I fell in love, married, and we started a family right away."

When she graduated from college, Shupe moved to Wilmington with husband Don Shupe, and she taught there for a year and a half before taking off for a few years to start her family. She has three sons: CJ [13], Brendan [12] and Andrew [8].

She started teaching at Myrtle Beach Middle School in 2004.

“I was there for 12 years and did a little bit of everything for the first six years. I taught South Carolina history, health and careers – whatever they needed me to do. For the last six years, I taught 6th Grade science.”

Shupe recently made a venue change and will now be teaching 8th Grade science at Ocean Bay Middle School.

“I wanted a change of pace,” she said. “Sometimes you feel like you could learn from new people, and I felt like the best way for me to do that was to change schools. I thought I was only changing schools but I am also changing grade levels, which I am excited about.”

She is currently doing curriculum work.

“I am working with the district [Horry County Schools] and other science teachers on the curriculum maps – planning for the coming school year.”

This move also changes her routine for the better.

“I feel like it will be a little bit easier for me because two of my boys are at Ocean Bay. They are going into 8th and 7th grade – so it is going to make my life a little bit easier in terms of dropping off, getting to work and being prepared,” she said. “That was one of my major pushes as to why I wanted this transfer. I really didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

The Shupes are very involved and active with sports and other activities for their sons.

“Andrew has been doing coach-pitch baseball and we just got back from a tournament in Summerville. CJ does travel baseball and plays B team baseball and football for Ocean Bay – and possibly basketball – and then Brendan does Boy Scouts and played rec-league baseball and football this year.”

The family has season passes for Myrtle Waves, and her sons love mini-golf.

“We take our river boat out on the Waccamaw and out into Murrells Inlet. They love to go fishing and they will go bush hooking for catfish.”

What about date night?

“We are kind of homebodies when we are able to be home, but movies and King Kong Sushi usually,” she said.

And are the Shupes planning on staying put here on the Grand Strand?

“We hope to own our own business in the coming years – my husband does – and eventually I will probably segue into that,” she said. “We kind of have dreams of moving to the country and having more open space, but we’re happy.”

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