Making A Difference: A Conversation with Felice Schachter
Felice Schachter is making a difference.
Most of us remember her as the wholesome brunette Nancy Olsen from the first season of Facts of Life. I personally remember her as Bernadette from the movie "Zapped!" where she played the class president and was the only one who wanted Scott Baio's character Barney to use his newly acquired power of telekinesis for the good of mankind.
In an environment where nerdy science student Barney (Scott Baio) and rich jock Peyton (Willie Aames) promote recreational drug use and freely drink alcohol on school grounds, Felice's character was the voice of reason - even telling Barney not to use his new-found ability to cheat at gambling!
In addition to the ridiculous antics, we as viewers also get to see the seed planted for what will become Felice's future in real life.
In one of the later scenes, Felice's character is shown setting up for the high school prom while wearing a Brown University sweatshirt. Normally, a movie about high school students wearing a college sweatshirt might not be all that big of a deal. But in this case it means much more. Felice had already committed herself to take a break from acting and pursue college and asked producers to wear this particular shirt for the scene. Wearing the shirt made a statement about where her life was going.
Today, Felice is making a difference in the lives of children by teaching those with special needs and helping them reach their fullest potential.
It was a pleasure for me to speak with Felice and find out what she's been up since the "Facts of Life" days and "Zapped!"
gJg: I guess the first big questions are: How are you and what are you doing now?
Felice Schachter (FS): I'm doing really well! I'm a special education teacher working with children from 2 to 10 years old.
My job now is to work with children with special needs, especially children with autism. I use ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) to help these children learn social and language skills. I also work with the typical population, teaching them skills that raise their IQ's, enabling them to gain acceptance into the elite private schools of New York City.