Edgewood is Soon Saying Goodbye to Dr. Diakakis

If you’ve seen an administrator standing in the hall with soft eyes and a contagious smile, chances are you’ve seen Dr. Julia Diakakis. It’s easy to notice her due to the kind energy she gives off, and the singsong tone of her voice as she greets passing students. This year in November, this glowing figure of our school will be retiring. Her gentle smiles will be a memory that will forever be ingrained in the minds and hearts of Edgewood’s students and staff. But, instead of being sad, the small amount of time we have left to appreciate and celebrate her amazing career at Edgewood is calling.

“Happy,” was the word that Julia Diakakis used to describe her childhood. From a very young age, she moved around due to her father’s demanding job as a diplomat. Although she was never stationary, she emphasized that her parents showed her a lot of love and affection. She also contributed that through the experience of traveling so much, she faced a lot of cultural diversity. Therefore, opening her up to many different experiences and points of view. “I saw a lot of stuff at very young ages, which I feel kinda opened my mind up to being accepting and people are people,” said Diakakis. 

Photo courtesy of DSP

Due to all the experiences that Dr.Diakakis had, she was led into the journey that she took later in her life. She excelled in school during her primary and secondary education, allowing her to explore many of her passions and skills; thus giving her many choices in college. “I went from political science, to computer science, to music, to education.” Her ability to work well with children eventually led her parents and friends to encourage her to pursue the field of education. She was recommended as a student teacher and fell in love with teaching. In the mid-eighties, Julia Diakakis began teaching upper elementary, 5th grade more specifically. “Kids at that age are becoming independent, but yet they are still really excited about being in school and doing their best.” But although she enjoyed upper elementary, she found that as her career in education continued, the majority was in secondary school.

Prior to coming to Edgewood, she had the same position at Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School. Edgewood’s reputation drew her in, and Dr. Diakakis has wanted to venture out and explore new territory. She had been in Cocoa Beach between two different schools for 20 years and was ready to experience new things. That’s why when she was offered the opportunity to be the Assistant Principal at Edgewood, she took it. “I have no regrets,” She stated, “I’ve always felt like I belong here at Edgewood and for me that’s a big thing.” Which is why it is so hard to say goodbye. Through Dr. Diakakis’ six years at Edgewood, she has been a pillar for love and kindness. Many admire her for the light that she brings into the school when she walks through Edgewood’s front doors. Nick Stewart, Edgewood’s second Assistant Principal, said that from the beginning Dr.Diakakis took him in under her wing. He described her as, “Compassionate, caring, professional, and empathetic.” Admiring her work ethic and the caring way she goes about conducting her job, “She’s enjoyable to be around,” he cheerfully stated. Though, kindness is not the only recurring topic amongst her co-workers, “I’ve never felt uncomfortable going and asking her about something.” Ms. Kristi Cooper-Denton mentioned, Ms. Danielle Taylor agreeing as well as adding, “She’s easy to talk to, you could talk about anything with her.”

As a student who has had her fair share of interactions with Dr. Diakakis, I cannot disagree with any of the previous statements. Many times she has supported me and various other students when they needed someone to go to. Esha Savani, a student here at Edgewood has had her fair share of positive interactions with Dr. Diakakis. “I feel like whenever you just want to talk to someone and need advice, she’s the person to go to. And if you just want to hangout with someone, she’s the vibe,” said Savani (11).

That’s why it was very sad news to hear that Dr. Diakakis was retiring for many people. “It’s very hard. There is a part of me that is excited for the next chapter in my life. I already have plans, but there is so much I’m going to miss,” she said. Nick Stewart, Dr. Diakakis’ coworker and the assistant principal of Edgewood Jr/Sr high school said, “She is so good at what she does that it will leave a void.” When describing their feelings about Dr. Diakakis’ retirement Ms. Cooper-Denton and Ms. Taylor agreed on the statement, “Sad for us, happy for her.” With a smile. “We’re so happy for her, but we are going to miss her a lot.” Not only will the teachers and staff miss her, but many students will as well. Amy Hong, a fellow Edgewood student is also going to be left with a heavy heart after the retirement. “I feel absolutely terrible that Dr. Diakakis is retiring, I love her, she is actually the best,” said Hong. 

But Dr. Diakais will be uncovering a new chapter in her life. In retirement she will be letting her passion for computers and technology bloom. During the early and continuing on through the later years of her career, Julia Diakakis has always been an advocate for computers in classrooms. When asked the difference between her first and last year teaching, she explained the varied experience in having devices. In the late eighties and early nineties, she was one of the first teachers to advocate for and get a computer in her classroom for her students. On top of that, she had begun a web hosting and design company in the early nineties that had been put to the side once her daughter was born, but when she retires, she is planning on picking up the company and pursuing it throughout her years of retirement.

So although one of Edgewood’s favorite Assistant Principals is retiring and we are sad to see her go, it is in agreement that the students and staff of Edgewood are excited to see her take on a new adventure in her life and continue to thrive and prosper for many days to come.