Jennifer vividly remembers second grade, an immigrant from Ecuador with almost no English, uncaring classmates and a teacher who spoke no Spanish. Helped by Google Translate, she never missed completing an assignment. “Giving it in on time” Jenn wrote in her essay, “made me feel accomplished, even as the grades were low.” That drive has continued. One of her teachers has taught her in different years and shared, “Now teaching her for a second time, it’s wondrous to see the progress she’s made in both her writing and, more important, her thinking.” With that change, Jenn has become a student leader, helping new students transition into high school and as the soccer team’s captain. There would be more activities, but Jenn has responsibilities at home. Her mother frequently works a seven-day week, and double shifts, so Jenn gets up at 6:30 to do her schoolwork, then prepares lunch for her fourth-grade brother and wakes him at 8:30. She also learned to cook, and, she said, “I feel like I grew as a person, helping my little brother and putting food on the table for our mother when she comes home after a long day of work.” Jenn’s college goal is to study civil engineering and business.
Jennifer’s choice as her Teacher Who Makes a Difference shows how lasting an individual educator’s impact can be: “My fifth-grade teacher, Matthew Friedman, has always been there for me since the beginning!”
Many thanks to Ernest and Kathleen Abrahamson for supporting Jennifer through her college journey.