As mentioned in TNCS Teachers and Admin Share School Memories a couple of weeks ago, with the 2015–2016 school year almost over, it’s a great time to reflect on all that The New Century School does for its students as well as all that education has given us. Prompted by TNCS Head of School Alicia Danyali’s questions, “What is your fondest memory of school? and What teacher/school event influenced you the most in your educational experience?” here is another round of teacher and staff responses that provide a window into who they are as people, as educators, and as friends.
Emma Novashinski, Executive Chef & Master Gardener
Chef Emma draws on her love of growing things and the importance—and rewards—of practicing environmental sustainability.
My fondest memory at the school was actually this year’s Earth day. I have always wanted to watch a weeping willow tree grow, and I bought one to donate to the school as they are too large for a conventional garden. It was a little bittersweet.I heard they were going to plant it on Earth day and got a call during lunch to join them. When I got out there the whole school was there! They all clapped and thanked me for the tree! To put roots into the Earth on Earth day was so fulfilling. My heart burst with love for everyone at the school. So thoughtful and meaningful and kind!!
Dan McGonigal, Elementary STEM Teacher
Mr. McGonigal shows us where his drive for protecting the environment began to develop and also that sometimes you just can’t take yourself too seriously.
My most influential teacher was one of my high school teachers, Mr. Shearer. He taught Environmental Issues. I remember him because he was so passionate about what he did, and it really hit home with me. I always had an appreciation for the outdoors, but he made me look at our environment in a different way. He discussed things in his class that came true later in my life, such as climate change, population problems, and even the flooding of New Orleans. It was a very memorable class for me and has impacted my own teaching.My most memorable school moment was also my most embarrassing. I was called to the foul line during our assembly in the gym to show how I used routine to help me shoot a foul shot for our basketball team. I started my routine and heard some people laughing, and I continued and made the shot. I was asked to do it again, and more people laughed, but I made the shot again. The third time everyone was laughing and I didn’t realize why. But as it turned out part of my routine was sticking my tongue out! It was something that still makes me smile when I think about it.
Johanna Ramos, Pre-Primary Lead Spanish Immersion Teacher
Sra. Ramos gives some well-deserved props to a colleague and probably speaks for many in so doing.
I could say that the teacher that influenced me the most in my educational experience is Mr. Warren because of his hard work and dedication toward the school and the students.
Kiley Stasch, Elementary Language Arts & Global Studies Teacher
In her recollection, Ms. Stasch demonstrates the undeniable value of service learning and of mixed-age activities—two core TNCS elementary values!
One of my fondest memories of school was when my school had what they called “Stewardship Day.” On this day, we were split up into groups from K–12th grade and assigned different tasks to help improve our community. Not only was this a fun time to have the chance to climb on top of school buses to wash them, go on long hikes to pick up trash, and clean up community gardens, but it was also one of the few times
out of the year that we were able to interact with students of all ages that attended our school!
Elizabeth Salas-Viaux, Pre-Primary Lead Spanish Immersion Teacher
Sra. Salas’s takes a different approach and gives a shout out to the awe-inspiringly involved families of the TNCS community.
One of the things that have inspired me as a teacher is to see how families and communities work along with teachers in order to provide the best positive learning experience for our students.
It’s true that the educational environment works best when all stakeholders are invested both internally and externally. The TNCS community is a beautiful synergy in the truest sense of that word, as the students who go on to enter the world as kind, compassionate, caretakers of it will reveal.