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2019 Teacher Appreciation Week Contest

Though we like to say every week is Teacher Appreciation Week at ACIS, today kicks off the national celebration of educators who dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of their students. They put in immense work before, during and after school (and weekends and holidays and) to guide inquiring minds through to their full potential, and whether on tour or in the classroom, it’s inspiring to see in action. Take time to reach out to a teacher who has had an impact on you and let them know how much their work means!

Want to show your appreciation even more? Nominate them for our annual Teacher Appreciation Week contest!

Add a comment to this blog or post a photo on Instagram with #aciscontest and describe a teacher who has made a difference in your life.  On Thursday, we’ll pick 2 teachers with touching tributes to each receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Comments must be posted by May 8 to be considered for the contest.

Happy posting, and to all of the teachers out there, thank you so much for everything you do!

 

30 Comments

  • Nathan Lutz

    May 06, 05 2019 04:11:45

    I fondly remember Mr. Barber from Baton Rouge High School. He taught in the history department and I took both logic and philosophy from him. He was such a kind soul – but moreover, he was real. He challenged us to do our best thinking. Mr Barber had a tremendous wit, but also got super serious when we needed it. . .like when we were seniors and close to graduation. He lectured us on the existential void that we would be facing. Mr. Barber recently passed away and I was so saddened to hear this. He was still teaching at the time – and I’m 47, so that made me do some rudimentary math and have the realizaton that he was really old, way beyond retirement – and still at his craft. R.I.P. Mr. Barber.

    #aciscontest

  • Elena

    May 06, 05 2019 04:27:39

    I would like to celebrate my favorite teacher, my mom! She is a Spanish teacher for Worthington City Schools in Ohio and has been in the same district for over 30 years! She has shown immense dedication and love for her students, the Spanish language, and all of the cultures that speak this language. More than anything though, I appreciate the teacher that my mom has been for me throughout my life. As I embarked on my own journey as a teacher, my mom was always ready with a listening ear and veteran advice. I do not think I would have survived my first few years of teaching had it not been for her wisdom and her empathy. Additionally, my mother went to graduate school and completed her Master’s degree while raising two young children, keeping a home, and working full time. As a graduate student pursuing my Master’s currently I have a new-found, deep respect for all that my mom sacrificed during that season of her life.

    – Elena

  • Cesar Rodriguez

    May 06, 05 2019 04:56:04

    I would love to take the opportunity to talk about a teacher who has definitely made an impact in my life since I was in elementary. His name is Mr. Nunez from Santa Teresa High School in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. When I was in the fourth grade, his teachings lectures and superiority helped me understand what being a great student meant. I was constantly active in his after school programs such as SEMAA and DEMAA which were extremely motivating to pursue an education higher than a high school diploma. For Mr. Nunez to have incorporated the thought of pursuing a college education since I was young is very important to me. I am very fortunate to be taking a class with him my senior year in a computer science course. He has continued to motivate me to do my best in and out of the classroom and continues to mentor me. Mr. Nunez is truly an amazing and fantastic teacher with excellent intentions of making his students successful.

  • Hailey Jones

    May 06, 05 2019 05:35:48

    My yearbook teacher, Mrs. Chestnut, has completely changed my life. I’ve only known her for three years, but I also can’t imagine high school without her. My mom was diagnosed with endometrial cancer my sophomore year of high school. She was always a listening ear when I needed to vent. She shared in every minor successs and every devastation. When my mom passed away my junior year, she was so supportive of me. She went above and beyond to make sure that I was okay. I knew that no matter what happened, she had my back and that was so comforting. Even into my senior year she has pushed me to realize my potential. She has helped me figure out college stuff since my mom isn’t here to help. She isn’t really a teacher to me; she is an adoptive mom and a best friend.

  • Kristen Vithoulkas

    May 06, 05 2019 05:46:40

    Shout out to my Mom who is finally taking a year off of teaching at age 74! Her passion for French language and her students has motivated her to keep teaching! Over her 42 years of teaching, she has touched a countless number of lives with her enthusiastic teaching style, caring personality and exciting ACIS summer trips. She has positively impacted her students and my life in so many ways. She modeled the involved and loving mother that I strive to be and encouraged my curiosity to understand things around me and explore the world. She taught at my high school, and I was proud to have her there-especially since all of her students loved her! She took me on my first ACIS trip which I was so excited to share with my husband and four children. Thank you, Mom, for being the ultimate teacher and mother!

  • Susan Bucher

    May 06, 05 2019 07:22:36

    Kris Dickey from Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, California taught both of my children art. My older son worked really hard to get A’s in her class and my youngest son just had a good time and learned a lot. My children were surprised to find out that she remembered both of them years after they graduated. Since my children graduated, I have taken painting classes taught by Kris. She and I have become friends and I even went to France with her on an ACIS tour last month.

  • Brianna Pagnani

    May 06, 05 2019 07:55:43

    Mr. Wright from Bordentown Regional High School was hands down one of the best teachers I have ever had. In the classroom, he was engaging, funny, and knew exactly how to get all of his students to participate. He was very encouraging and always had the best attitude. I not only learned a lot about my studying style but he has prepared me for college, as most high school classes don’t. Mr. Wright also has been taking around 25 students after they graduate high school outside of the country for an amazing experience. I was able to go to Poland in 2017 and I had not only an eye opening experience but with the help of Mr. Wright, I was able to travel outside of the country for 9 days with my best friends. Mr. Wright is the epitome of what a true teacher is all about. He is Bordentown Regional High School, without him, it would not be the same.

  • Brianna Pagnani

    May 06, 05 2019 07:58:07

    Mr. Wright from Bordentown Regional High School was hands down one of the best teachers I have ever had. In the classroom, he was engaging, funny, and knew exactly how to get all of his students to participate. He was very encouraging and always had the best attitude. I not only learned a lot about my studying style but he has prepared me for college, as most high school classes don’t. Mr. Wright also has been taking around 25 students after they graduate high school outside of the country for an amazing experience. I was able to go to Poland in 2017 and I had not only an eye opening experience but with the help of Mr. Wright, I was able to travel outside of the country for 9 days with my best friends. Mr. Wright is the epitome of what a true teacher is all about. He is Bordentown Regional High School, without him, it would not be the same.

  • Thomas Silva

    May 06, 05 2019 08:18:25

    One teacher that is inspirational is my friend and fellow ACIS tour leader, Rachel Lisker-O’Reilly. I can not thank Rachel enough for always going above and beyond in school and when planning an amazing trip with ACIS, including all the necessary sights, things to do, and the best hotels around. If it wasn’t for ACIS (seriously), Rachel and I would not be as close friends as we are. In school, her love for the French language is admirable and she demonstrates her appreciation of the Parisian culture when designing her itinerary to travel to France. Her classroom is one constant French lesson with highlights of culture, using her own souvenirs purchased abroad. Thank you for being an amazing teacher and a dedicated French enthusiast. More teachers should strive to be like you!

  • Alexis Kane

    May 06, 05 2019 08:27:10

    I would like to extend my gratitude to a teacher who has touched the lives of many students at Bordentown Regional High School, including mine, Mr. Wright! I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to take Mr. Wright’s class and learn from his passion of history. After four years, I have never had an educator like Mr. Wright. He challenges his students to work hard and be the best version of themselves both inside and outside of the classroom. Mr. Wright never failed to add humor to all of his lectures and truly cares about his students. In addition, Mr. Wright’s passion for teaching goes beyond the classroom. Every year he devotes his time, energy, and compassion towards crafting an educational abroad opportunity for the graduating seniors through ACIS. Mr. Wright has taken students to Costa Rice, Iceland, Paris, and the list goes on! I remember waiting in anticipation my junior year of high school to find out our senior year destination because of the awesome reviews I had heard from students older than me! He has inspired many students to travel the world, learn about new cultures, and to never be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Thank you for everything Mr. Wright!

  • Dillon Hodes

    May 07, 05 2019 03:29:30

    Señora Rita Cruz de Duran, or as we lovingly call her, “Señora,” is unquestionably the greatest teacher I have ever met in the entirety of the seventeen years I have been on this Earth. Señora is our Spanish teacher. She actually went on our ACIS trip to Spain, with us. She taught herself English, and has been teaching for about twenty years now. Every day she goes out of her way to find each student she has, ask them how their day is, and make sure they have a smile on their face. She makes class warm, fun, and engaging. There isn’t a single student in our school who dislikes Señora. After having several years of Spanish with her, I can safely say her style of teaching is unique in that, she puts the student’s needs over education. If a student isn’t feeling well, she’ll let him or her lie down and rest. If the student hasn’t completed their homework due to complications at home, she is understanding and takes time to help the student understand the work. Often times our class will consist of us talking about our days and about how much we enjoy life, and Señora will listen. She takes an active interest in our lives outside of school, which is something that cannot be said for many teachers. The passion she has for teaching, the compassion she has for her students, and the way she presents herself makes Rita Cruz de Duran a teacher above all teachers.

    Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, Señora. I’ll never forget the times you took me out of the class just to talk to me, simply because you could tell something wasn’t right. We love you, and we’re going to miss you so much when we graduate.

  • Emma Devine

    May 07, 05 2019 03:40:53

    Charles Poore has had a tremendous impact on my life. When I first came to the Governor’s School, I was timid and confused and just generally not confident. I had one year of Spanish experience, but I was far from confident in speaking it. Señor Poore saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Halfway through the year, he talked to the school’s dean and had me moved to the next Spanish level. I was ecstatic. Señor Poore’s teaching style was the perfect balance of discipline with friendliness. He stood by his standards, but also never hesitated to help out a student who had a lot going on, or to spend extra time with them to make sure they understood concepts. Because of Charles Poore, I will be able to take AP Spanish Language and Culture next year, which I would not have been able to do unless I had advanced more quickly in the language. Señor Poore has instilled in me a love for the language. He has been more than just an academic mentor, but a personal mentor as well. I as for Señor Poore’s advice for whatever major decisions I am making. I know I can count on his advice and I trust his judgment completely. I feel comfortable talking to him about almost anything, and I genuinely have so much fun and am so excited to learn every single day in Spanish class, all because of Charles Poore.

  • Noa

    May 07, 05 2019 03:41:20

    My Spanish teacher of three years, Rita Cruz de Durán is the closest person to an angel I have ever met. It’s hard to find the words to adequately describe her integrity. She is often vocal about how important it is for her to treat others with kindness and compassion and urges us to follow her example. Some days in class, we don’t even get to a Spanish lesson because she spends the time importing words of wisdom to us as my class of seniors prepares to go off to college. Most days, when we have our Spanish lesson, the lesson is filled with laughter and joy. Señora also never wastes an opportunity to express how much she loves me and my classmates. Class is never over until everyone has gotten a hug and an “I love you”. Señora is the kindest, most loving woman I have ever met, and I want to be just like her. She is such an incredible role model for everyone, young and older alike. Everyone can learn something about how to treat others from Señora. I love her so much. I I know that I will never forget anything about life that she taught me. If any teacher is deserving of recognition for his/her hard work, I am so proud to say that it definitely Señora Cruz de Duran.

    Love,
    Noa

    • ACIS Blog

      May 16, 05 2019 11:08:07

      Hi Noa! If you didn’t see it on social last week, your comment was selected as one of the winners in our Teacher Appreciation Week Contest! We are following up in order to provide your teacher with their Amazon Gift Card. Please email sbichsel@acis.com and provide an email or standard mailing address that can be used to send your teacher their reward. Thanks again for participating!

  • Eliana T

    May 07, 05 2019 04:56:11

    I would like to nominate my teacher, Mrs. McCormick, for Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s not just because I can prank her all the time by giving her McCormick spices as gifts. I just think she’s a great listener and problem solver. She is always willing to empathize and somehow become a fifth grader like us and actually relate to everyone instead of yelling at the “annoying” or “loud disruptive” kids. I used those words because other teachers usually jump to conclusions and take the easy way out by using those labels. Maybe the person is being loud or bad because their having an issue somewhere else in their life. It’s nice to have someone who will listen and treat us as ewuals and that’s why I am nominating Mrs. McCormick of South School in Stoughton, Massachusetts.

  • Carmina Chua

    May 07, 05 2019 05:07:56

    I would like to nominate my wonderful captain, professor, and maestro Leo Eylar of the California Youth Symphony (CYS) for the special recognition. Maestro Eylar is not only a conductor, but he is professor emeritus of CSU Sacramento, as well as a licensed sea captain. The standards he holds for the orchestra are ones that I believe more professors/conductors should uphold for their ensembles and classes so that the students who desire to become better at what they do may rise to those standards. I learned a lot from being in his orchestra, particularly that ensembles require focus and individual practice time, that we should practice the way we wish to perform, and that we should perform from our hearts. He also supplies us with a plethora of information about the composers and pieces we feature at our concerts through his Conductors Corner website. On CYS tours, he provides fun facts about the countries we visit and holds trivia contests during the long bus rides. At CSU Sacramento, he continues to volunteer his time providing lectures to the Renaissance Society of Sacramento, a life-long learning community for retired adults. He has such bountiful knowledge of the history of music and composers, and I especially enjoy his funny stories and his sense of humor. He makes learning about music so much fun! I am also very thankful for the sailing experience he provides his friends, many from Sacramento State and CYS alumni, in San Francisco Bay. Anyone who has had the chance to sail on his boat surely soaked in the entire sailing experience – from learning how to tie knots, to steering the boat, and to saving someone who has fallen overboard (using boat fenders for props, not humans!). I am so infinitely grateful to him for showing his students the importance and beauty of knowledge that extends beyond playing the notes on the page, as well as beyond the small circle of music. He is an inspiration to me.

  • Sarah K.

    May 07, 05 2019 05:55:57

    I have had the pleasure of not only having Dr Booth as my AP Psychology teacher this year, but I also was fortunate enough to have him as a chaperone on our ACIS school trip to Europe! Not only does he have an incredible amount of passion for his profession, but he shows great compassion towards others and his students. He has been an amazing teacher this year and also an amazing role model who I can look up to. His students can always count on him to provide interesting content as well as hysterical jokes and puns all class long. He is a great teacher and human being and I am so thankful for all that he has taught me both in and out of the classroom. I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of recognition.
    #aciscontest

  • Alison Goldberg

    May 07, 05 2019 06:33:33

    The date was February 14,2019 and I was eager, yet very nervous, for my school’s Panorama Italiano trip with ACIS. I wasn’t too familiar with any of the teachers going and I didn’t really know any of the students all that well either. Upon arriving in Italy, I quickly became comfortable with one of the teachers, Mr. Drivas. Mr. Drivas had taught both of my brothers math, they both loved him, but I never got the chance to have him as a teacher. Mr. Drivas and I at first talked about math, since he overheard me discussing a math test we had took before departing. From there, Mr. Drivas made feel very comfortable and welcomed on the trip. While walking through the streets of Italy Mr. Drivas was not only very caring for each of us, he made everything more intriguing. We were all able to joke around with him while also being kept
    in line. Throughout the whole trip I knew Mr. Drivas was that one teacher I could go to if I needed anything. He made my overall trip experience 3000 times better and I’m looking forward to going on the next school trip with ACIS and bonding more with my favorite teacher!

  • Shaylee Wright

    May 07, 05 2019 08:02:07

    My 8th grade world history teacher, Mr. Sullivan at McCarthy Middle school in Chelmsford, MA is a very dedicated teacher. He does so much for us students, which means that he misses his own son’s activities. For the last 10 years, he has planned the 8th grade NYC trip and also volunteers his time to chaperone. He organizes a McCarthy Idol, which is a talent show for the students. He is the lead on Project 300, Middlesex county’s largest food drive. We collected and delivered over 30,000 cans this school year. He is a great teacher because he is fun and makes learning entertaining while educating us. He has bought class fish/supplies, school supplies and also spends his own money for us to send letters to students in Ireland. At the end of the day, he plays music, gives us fist bumps and tells us to have a good night. I am excited to go to his class everyday and will miss him when I move on to high school. I wish more teachers were like him since it would going to school never seem bad. Thank you Mr. Sullivan!

  • Shaylee Wright

    May 07, 05 2019 08:18:33

    My 8th grade world history teacher, Mr. Sullivan at McCarthy Middle school in Chelmsford, MA is a very dedicated teacher. He does so much for us students, which means that he misses his own son’s activities. For the last 10 years, he has planned the 8th grade NYC trip and also volunteers his time to chaperone. He organizes a McCarthy Idol, which is a talent show for the students. He is the lead on Project 300, Middlesex county’s largest food drive. We collected and delivered over 30,000 cans this school year. He is a great teacher because he is fun and makes learning entertaining while educating us. He has bought class fish/supplies, school supplies and also spends his own money for us to send letters to students in Ireland. At the end of the day, he plays music, gives us fist bumps and tells us to have a good night. I am excited to go to his class everyday and will miss him when I move on to high school. I wish more teachers were like him since it would going to school never seem bad. Thank you Mr. Sullivan!

  • Nadina Wright

    May 07, 05 2019 08:22:43

    My 8th grade world history teacher, Mr. Sullivan at McCarthy Middle school in Chelmsford, MA is a very dedicated teacher. He does so much for us students, which means that he misses his own son’s activities. For the last 10 years, he has planned the 8th grade NYC trip and also volunteers his time to chaperone. He organizes a McCarthy Idol, which is a talent show for the students. He is the lead on Project 300, Middlesex county’s largest food drive. We collected and delivered over 30,000 cans this school year. He is a great teacher because he is fun and makes learning entertaining while educating us. He has bought class fish/supplies, school supplies and also spends his own money for us to send letters to students in Ireland. At the end of the day, he plays music, gives us fist bumps and tells us to have a good night. I am excited to go to his class everyday and will miss him when I move on to high school. I wish more teachers were like him since it would going to school never seem bad. Thank you Mr. Sullivan!

  • Andrew

    May 07, 05 2019 08:34:41

    To me and the rest of her students, Madame Isabelli is more than just a teacher. She is like a mom who shows how to be an amazing person and love everyone like they’re family. She is the friend we can go to to help us through our problems, to rant, and to just talk to. She is the angel who tells us what’s right and what’s wrong. She was our tour guide through the streets of Paris. And finally, she is the teacher who has done her job so well that even the French II students who went to France were able to keep up with and take part in conversations with the natives.
    I nominate Andrea Isabelli, my French teacher at Woodstock North High School, because she goes above and beyond everyday to teach and makes sure you know what’s going on in class. She is kind to everyone and makes the atmosphere of the school so much more pleasant and tolerable.

  • Andrew Johnson

    May 07, 05 2019 08:35:28

    To me and the rest of her students, Madame Isabelli is more than just a teacher. She is like a mom who shows how to be an amazing person and love everyone like they’re family. She is the friend we can go to to help us through our problems, to rant, and to just talk to. She is the angel who tells us what’s right and what’s wrong. She was our tour guide through the streets of Paris. And finally, she is the teacher who has done her job so well that even the French II students who went to France were able to keep up with and take part in conversations with the natives.
    I nominate Andrea Isabelli, my French teacher at Woodstock North High School, because she goes above and beyond everyday to teach and makes sure you know what’s going on in class. She is kind to everyone and makes the atmosphere of the school so much more pleasant and tolerable.

  • Diana

    May 07, 05 2019 08:42:01

    I would like to nominate Dr. Manjula Guru. Dre Guru just recently took 18 students on an ACIS trip to Southeast Asia. She has been so patient and so supportive of me and everyone this year. She teaches AP microeconomic and AP US government at Brookfield Academy. She genuinely wants her students to succeed and is always willing to help you with your studies or even just to talk to her if you need to. She is the most amazing teacher I have ever had and am so luck that she is my teacher.

  • Jasmine Harris

    May 08, 05 2019 09:16:03

    Nominate my french teacher Mallory Bouchard, shes made a huge difference in everyones life, she goes way out of her way to make sure no one fails her class, she talks to us like we are more than just some students, she treats us like family, she always knows how to make us laugh, kids can go to her when they have problems knowing she will help make them go away, she knows how to help more than one student at a time. shes always in good moods even when we are a little naughty in the class, anytime you see her shes got the biggest smile on her face, shes always making students laugh and coming up with cool ways to learn instead of just quizzing everytime. she LOVES disney and paris, she took a few students to canada in april, and it was the best experience of my life, we all had so much fun. and shes just one of the best teachers ever, I’m in her french 3 class and ive learned so much from her, she teaches us at a nice pace for everyone and is always willing to help if you need it. shes been there for me when I’ve needed it multiple times, she will sit there and listen, shes such an amazing teacher and we just need more like her.

  • Bob Totra

    May 08, 05 2019 10:51:26

    When I think of passion, commitment, dedication and excellence I reflect and look no further than two Spanish teachers and Waterloo High School (WHS) in Waterloo, IL.

    Ms. Koeneman and Ms. Brown have created not only an excellent learning environment but more importantly an interactive experience for the students at WHS. Their methodology extends much further than a text book or a list of Spanish vocabulary words but into a world of Spanish culture, history, art and comedy. Yes comedy. These ladies teach with a sense of humor that would make the most uptight person leave the room with a smile.

    I have witnessed my student grow closer to the Spanish language based on his teachers passion and commitment to the Spanish language and for their style of education.

    Furthermore, both of these teachers have families of their own but make generous amounts of time to organize fundraisers so our students can further explore the education process through travel abroad with the students.

    They have also created Spanish language education opportunities outside of school for students starting in the 2nd grade. This program is a tremendous success and will create a foundation for mastering the Spanish language. Taking the time to personally facilitate the needs of their students and community further proves their dedication to their craft.

    On a personal note and unbeknownst to both Ms. Koeneman and Ms. Brown they have helped me to have engaging conversation with my 16 years son regarding school. He discusses their class, education style and recognizes the effort they contribute to his education experience. As a parent I am proud and grateful to have educators that give their all to further enrich our students.

  • Mary Mitchell Tucker

    May 08, 05 2019 01:53:57

    Señora Cruz de Durán has taught me Spanish for three years. To me, she is more than just a teacher and her classroom is more than just a classroom. Whenever I am a distressed mess and upset about something, I always like to talk with her about it. She’ll brighten your day up by making you feel like the most special person in the world, because in her mind, you are important. Whoever disrespects Señora Cruz de Durán or thinks not much of her, I want to pull them aside and give them a talk. When I graduate high school in a couple of weeks, I might call some of my teachers by their first names, but Señora will always be Señora. Calling her by her formal name is showing her respect because she is not only an extraordinary teacher, she is more. She is like family to us students.

  • Samantha Pagnani

    May 08, 05 2019 03:36:51

    Mr. Wright from Bordentown Regional High School is easily one of the best teachers I ever had. In the classroom, he is phenomenal. He is funny, relatable and enthusiastic about what he’s teaching. On top of learning about the issues in the world and it’s history, I grew as a person in such a positive way. He educated his classes on study skills and people skills. He gave you more knowledge on how to respect other cultures. Mr. Wright taught made his students into smarter and more respectable people. He has gone out his way to bring students on these amazing trips through ACIS for years now. From my experience on my trip to Ireland, I learned so much and had an incredible time and Mr. Wright made sure this would be how everyone felt about these trips. He goes ABOVE AND BEYOND for this students and anyone around him. He truly deserves to be recognized through this contest because of his hard work and determination inside and outside of the classroom!

  • Trinity Hancock

    May 08, 05 2019 10:34:24

    I would like to thank my teacher Mrs. Neely. She is truly the kindest person I have ever met. She goes out of her way to make sure her kids are taken care of. Some of the things she does are (but by no means limited to) calling them to make sure they are awake for school, making sure they’re okay if they miss school, helping them find places to live if they are in need, providing meals and snack to anyone who needs/wants them, giving free hair cuts, giving rides to wherever if needed and SO much more. She even sat and held me as I cried about my dad being sick. She is so patient with everyone and is so willing to give second chances. I have seen her get cussed out and still helping that same person out the next day. She’s spends so much of her personal money (which is already tight as a teacher) on all of her student’s wellbeing, she deserves this and so much more. I aspire to be half the women that Mrs. Neely is.

  • Wayne Brooks

    May 09, 05 2019 01:12:32

    I nominate Sherome Heaven. She coordinates the ELL program here at the school and teaches her students not only Spanish but life lessons. She works tirelessly to see the integration of all cultures. She is a great teacher and deserves recognition.

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