Each semester, before the holiday break, I write you all letters expressing my gratitude for having you in my class. I also include a brief commentary on the successes and struggles of your time in my class during the past semester. This semi-annual letter writing tradition is important to me because it culminates my own semester reflection while offering each of my students their own sincere, thoughtful evaluation. Unfortunately, this marks the first semester in my full-time teaching career where I failed to deliver letters to my students. I deeply regret not having the time, but time is not an excuse. And excuses only fuel future failure. Nevertheless, during this 2011-2012 holiday, I wish to offer at least one sentence of gratitude to each of my students. And I will guarantee you the full letters you deserve at the end of May.
Dear Alex Adami,
Thank you for giving an excellent academic output even while being out of school for almost four weeks (and for always listening reluctantly when I ask you to stop shooting the basketballs in class!).
Dear Kyle Kimmelman,
Thank you for always submitting every blog and assignment on time every time (and for inconveniently scheduling doctors appointments during my afternoon class!).
Dear Nico Bucspun,
Thank you for putting you sincere pride and energy into the projects and assignments for my class (and for showing up just barely in time to perform your quarterly project debate!).
Dear Jerome Ryan,
Thank you for writing the most entertaining, quality blogs of the year (and for feeding me peanut butter and jelly when I get hungry!).
Dear Logan Dennin,
Thank you for taking a sincere approach to learning about business for your senior project (and for learning that it's much easier to sleep in for school and succeed than to sleep in for business and succeed!)
Dear Gabriel Babka,
Thank you for organizing an original senior project that focuses on your passion of soccer (and for completing your missing work to earn a stronger grade in humanities!)
Dear Geena Capitini,
Thank you for always giving your best effort when completing your humanities projects (and for always coming in to ask your teachers questions about the projects!).
Dear Julian Penagos,
Thank you for bringing such a strong business approach to your senior project (and for shaving at school when asked to clean up!).
Dear Mauricio Cepeda,
Thank you for stepping up your effort in humanities and government to earn the grade you deserve (and for reminding me to "chill" whenever I seem to get worked up over something!).
Dear Alex Stettner,
Thank you for stepping up into a leadership role at a new school in your senior year (and for proving that the hand jive and twist can be more difficult than honors government!).
Dear Mikayla Posk,
Thank you for always producing such terrific writing pieces (and for allowing me to continue joking about your Italian adventures last spring--it never gets old!).
Dear Jane Sallen,
Thank you for showing me that it's possible to balance 80 billion things at once and still succeed (and for always baking for your favorite people!).
Dear Renan Scarpa,
Thank you for always giving your best effort on all of your humanities projects (and for teaching us all about Brazilian culture.)
Dear Gleb Joutchenia,
Thank you for always giving your best effort in both government and humanities (and for taking time to Skype your favorite teacher from halfway around the world!).
Dear Casey Gates,
Thank you for achieving new heights in your academic accomplishments when many seniors take their foot off the pedal (and for discussing the ridiculous adventures of our mutual adult friend!).
Dear Jose Carballo,
Thank you for always giving your sincere effort when completing your humanities projects (and for keeping Logan in touch with A period humanities when he was sleepy-- see above!).
Dear Matt Ramirez,
Thank you for showing genuine interest in your big projects for both humanities and government (and for showing that you know nearly all the answers to government jeopardy!).
Dear Daniel Garga,
Thank you for taking on a senior project that is both challenging and rewarding to those around you (and for making my classroom more than just a learning environment when you nap there every single afternoon!).
Dear Abel Roman,
Thank you for supporting everything about our school from my class, to fine arts events and sporting events (and for teaching me more about Fencing than I ever thought I could learn!).
Dear Ruth Sanders,
Thank you for always addressing your presentation panels with a "hello, good morning" before presenting (and for getting as excited about a Cookie Monster cake as I do for a Redskins win!).
Dear Giovanni Pecorari,
Thank you for always giving a great effort on all the of the humanities projects this semester (and for continuing to improve your Presentation skills!).
Dear Anny Fabris,
Thank you for writing the most interesting, intriguing research papers of the semester (and for being a good sport with an air mattress on the senior trip!).
Dear Robert O'Gorman,
Thank you for making such an amazing effort to learn about a history that you had no clue about before (and for giving your best effort debating about Presidents you've never heard of!).
Dear Eric Mance,
Thank you for continuing to excel in history class by doing well on all of my tests (and for displaying less obnoxious behavior than you have in the past--but we still have work to go!).
Dear Kathy Ramirez,
Thank you for making a valiant effort to debate with U.S. Presidents you have never heard of (and for admitting that you could do even better in my class than you have so far!).
Dear Sean Walsh,
Thank you for always getting all your work done and making up everything you missed (and for representing Honest Abe so well even when you were out sick!).
Dear Marisa Samaniego,
Thank you for always trying your best to do well in my class (and for standing up to the obnoxiousness of Eric Mance--see above!).
Dear Margaret Dickey,
Thank you for continuing to rise to the academic challenges of my class (and for showing that you can be just as successful in U.S. History as you were in World History!).
Dear Cole Jones,
Thank you for showing how awesome a student you really are with that last test and U.S. History exam (and for bringing a big Texas smile to my class every day!).
Dear Jonathan Adams,
Thank you for sharing your academic passion for U.S. history in my class this semester (and for providing the class with quality entertainment with your passionate debate outbursts!).
Dear Lucy Smith,
Thank you so much for putting up your best academic performance to date in my class, you deserve it (and for being such a wonderful sport when I played that cruel little debate joke on you!).
Dear Katelyn Swanson,
Thank you for proving to me, yourself, and everyone else that it is possible to get a 93 in my class (and for teaching your classmates and teacher how to make a website with Tumblr!).
Dear Nick Capitini,
Thank you for being a patient, helpful observer during the final weeks of my public speaking class (and for being a helpful assistant for your classmates' "how to" projects!).
Dear Katie Rogers,
Thank you for always having a positive attitude in my public speaking class (and for making an effort to raise your grade the week of exams--better late than never, right?!?).
Dear Karolina Strasser,
Thank you for writing a poem that reminded us all about the true importance of a best friend (and for freaking out a little less every time you had to get up to perform--you've come a long way!).
Dear Vionise Pierre-Louis,
Thank you for never quitting in my class by continuing to perform great work and write essays against your will (and for letting me know whenever "I suck" at explaining things!).
Dear Julia Cournoyer,
Thank you for honestly opening up and sharing a poem that is both personal and emotional (and for never hiding your sarcasm even with your teachers!).
Dear Dresden Peters,
Thank you for taking the time to write a sincere poem and memorize it in short notice (and for being a brave soul dressing up for your monologue!).
Dear Brandon Campos,
Thank you for always pouring authentic energy into your performances for public speaking (and for entertaining us all with your alien noises-- zeep zeep!).
Dear Jake Westerfield,
Thank you for being so respectful and understanding as you experience educational acting like Napoleon in the classroom (and for annoying everyone by the fact that you knew so many correct answers to the exam review!).
Dear Kai Darling,
Thank you for providing the class with genuine laughter with your performances and improve (and for figuring out that it's never too late to start completing your blogs!).
Dear Ashley Arinus,
Thank you for proving that students can mess up, edit, and correctly complete entire quarterly projects with success in the final 48 hours before it's due (and for creating non-verbal communication when you need to use the restroom!).
Dear Nick Francese,
Thank you for always making your classmates laugh with your fun, energetic improve in public speaking class (and for always stepping up in class when no one else would!).
Dear Sandy Satullo,
Thank you for your outstanding effort in my classes this semester (and for reminding us all not to take for granted the legs we have to walk with!).
Dear Neydja Petithomme,
Thank you for always making the effort to attend extra help when offered (and for learning to become a leader in the class and on the court!).
Dear Mitch Posk,
Thank you for always giving your best effort to succeed in my classes, both public speaking and history, (and for having one of the best tasting, surprising snacks at our quarterly project feast!).
Dear Dani Caudill,
Thank you for always sharing your honest emotion about a project, test, or assignment in my class (and for realizing that you can kick butt in geography when you study!).
Dear Alyson Langley,
Thank you for always taking diligent notes and posting them on Facebook for your peers (and for reminding me on my test that Rene Descartes is the father of philosophy!).
Dear Jenny Bovold,
Thank you for sharing your worldly talents, like music and art, as part of our Modern World History class (and for understanding that it's actually okay not to be perfect ALL THE TIME!).
Dear Elsa Blix,
Thank you for bringing such a high standard of achievement to my Modern World History class (and for proving to everyone that it is possible to get 100% on the Africa Map test the first time around).
Dear Tristan Alarcon,
Thank you for always showing up to class with a positive attitude (and for always giving a little laugh when I'm joking around with Kaitlin Conrad--see below).
Dear Kaitlin Conrad,
Thank you for having such a good attitude every time I joke around with you and your gift for the gab (and for practicing not to say "like" every 3 seconds on the way to basketball games!).
I am truly lucky and thankful to have you all as students. Happy Holidays and I'll see you all in 2012, if not sooner!
Thank you again,