Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Valedictorian and Salutatorian Infuences

Melinda Burns, Mrs. Karin Suzadail, Jonathan Arditi, Mrs. Jessica Brilla, Josephine Funaro (not pictured, Mrs. Laura George)
On Monday, May 21, 2018, at the Owen J. Roberts Board of School Directors Regular Business Meeting, the Class of 2018 Valedictorian, Jonathan Arditi, and Salutatorians, Melinda Burns and Josephine Funaro, spoke with full hearts about a teacher of significant influence.
Each student shared comments about what made a significant teacher important to him or her. Jonathon Arditi selected Mrs. Laura George. Melinda Burns spoke about Mrs. Karin Suzadail and Josephine Funaro applauded Mrs. Jessica Brilla. Those teachers, in turn, made statements about interactions and experiences in teaching and guiding the student. The audience learned a bit of how teachers make a difference to students, how students impact teachers, and how these students may have already impacted our world.

“If I didn’t mention the fact that she has helped collect over a 1,000 pounds of clothing and toys for the Boys and Girls Club of America, while taking 9 AP courses during the past three years, or the fact that she un-selfishly volunteers her time as an Sunday School teacher at her church I would not be bragging about the right Josie [Funaro],” shared Mrs. Jessica Brilla, adding “if I didn’t mention the fact that Josie has been involved in raising money to purchase over 1,000 chickens for under-developed countries, I would be missing the opportunity to talk about the type of person a Salutatorian can be at OJR.”

“Witnessing Aeneas appear out of thin air and come back from the dead- that’s what it’s like to step into Mrs. Suzadail’s class,” said Melinda Burns, who added, “in 7th period AP Latin, for 45 minutes a day, Rome is not gone. Rome rises from the pages of translations and stares me in the face. It didn’t really cross my mind that I should be learning Latin for its own sake until Mrs. Suzadail taught me otherwise, and I need to thank her for that.” Mrs. Karin Suzadail said, “Melinda is a dynamo in class – she is always on top of her work, always a model to others, a ready volunteer…” 

Mrs. Laura George was never a classroom teacher to Valedictorian Jonathan Arditi, but acted as a mentor three years in a row to his ambitious and award-winning science research projects. Jonathan believed that “many in my graduating class cite Mrs. George as their reason for pursuing science after high school, and I am proud to count myself among that group. Mrs. George is truly a pillar of personal strength, compassion, intelligence, and wisdom that I am blessed to have had as a mentor.” Mrs. George thanked Jonathan for the opportunity to be his mentor. “He helped me to grow as a science mentor and educator,” she stated.

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