Ms. Julie Farkas This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 30, 2010
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Walking into my first day of ninth grade English, I felt as though I had entered a foreign country. I was new in school, and the thirteen other freshmen in my class were essentially strangers. Yet, it was Ms. Farkas’s first day at North Shore Hebrew Academy too, and she arrived with an air of eagerness and motivation. Little did I know how this teacher would change my high school experience. Little did I know how she would change my life.

I came into high school knowing one thing for certain about myself: I was a math person, through and through. Ms. Farkas, however, showed me otherwise. Before long, I found myself working all night on one simple English assignment, determined to show her how creative I could be. My classmates and I were not content with just turning in our homework; rather, we felt compelled to deliver. This drive can be explained, in part, by Ms. Farkas’s commitment to reaching students on a personal level. Whether with supplemental music, graphic, or poetic assignments, Ms. Farkas strove to arouse the passions within each and every one of us—passions we had never fully known we had. She helped us recognize the importance of individuality, of finding ourselves and realizing our distinctive potentials.

We were an eclectic bunch, consisting of representatives of varying circles, haphazardly put together in one classroom. Undeterred, Ms. Farkas approached this challenge with gusto, working to have our newfound zeal encompass interpersonal aspects of learning as well. We experimented with AIM-based collaboration and out-of-the-box group projects. Most telling of Ms. Farkas’s initiative was our midterm, in which we found not only grammatical and essay questions, but also a topic far more meaningful: each other. By then I had learned about my peers in a way that was natural and pure, facilitated by Ms. Farkas’s gentle prodding and unaffected by life outside room 112. In time, fourteen separate elements of our English class developed into one complete entity.

Ms. Farkas’s dedication to her students extends beyond the classroom, manifesting itself in all the co-curricular activities that she oversees. For example, when my friend Lizzie and I approached her in the tenth grade with the idea of forming a creative arts and literary magazine, Ms. Farkas immediately jumped on board. She advocated on our behalf to get our brainchild a budget, and when we lost it due to the economic downturn, she helped us revamp our vision. The start of my senior year marked the launch of THE SITE, The NSHAHS Online Creative Arts & Literary Magazine, which was received enthusiastically by the student, faculty, and parent communities. Inspired by Ms. Farkas’s philosophy of inclusiveness, Lizzie and I made every effort to feature the voices of previously undiscovered writers and artists in our midst. We brought new ideas to light, and revolutionized the idea of a student publication. Working with Ms. Farkas through it all, I felt the value of a continuing teacher-student relationship, watching her role in my life evolve from teach and mentor, to confidante and friend.

Ms. Farkas has the talent to create bonds, strengthening individual links while pushing us forward as a whole. Walking out of our last period of ninth grade English, a classmate of mine said: “I’m going to miss that class—we really were a family.”

As far as Ms. Farkas is concerned, we still are.





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Valentinefrog said...
May 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm
this is a very good story and as elfiewrites said you did potray you treacher very well
 
elfiewrites said...
May 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm
Great job! You portrayed your teacher in such a nice, creative way. If you have yet to show this to her, I think you seriously should. Please, if you get the chance, give me some feedback on my article, "My Mentor." Thanks so much, and keep on writing!
 
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