Patrick Bufano • Economics/Civics • John Dickinson High School | Teen Ink

Patrick Bufano • Economics/Civics • John Dickinson High School MAG

March 22, 2019
By AwkwardManatee SILVER, Wilmington, Delaware
AwkwardManatee SILVER, Wilmington, Delaware
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Growing up, I progressively became more and more anxious, which led me to be significantly more quiet than I once was. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk; I was happy to. I was just afraid of saying the wrong thing or being an annoyance. Throughout middle school, I was viewed as the quiet kid who just didn’t like talking. That view on me changed when I took ninth grade Economics and Civics and met the closest real life version of Santa Claus I had ever seen – Mr. Bufano.

When I first met him, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But he had a kind aura that emanated from him and affected the students he met. My first few classes were just like the middle school days I had gone through, but then he started reaching out to me. It started with having me answer small questions that were easier and not as lengthy as other ones. Then, he started making small comments – saying he liked my doodles – which pulled me into conversations.

I had a breakthrough when we started doing projects that were extremely visual and artistic. I didn’t put much effort into the first project, but on the second one, I had gotten new colored pencils, and decided to use them to make it look really nice. It was honestly a jumbled mess of gradients from a whole range of colors. I was a little embarrassed and worried it would be too much, but Mr. Bufano proved my anxiety wrong. He praised my work and, with my permission, decided to use it as an example for other classes. It had been a long time since I felt that proud of a piece of my work. The act of giving praise is so often overlooked.

From then on, I continued to put forth my best effort on the projects assigned, rather than just doing enough to get a good grade. Mr. Bufano continued to praise my work and use them as examples. He does not know it, but the pride he instilled in me was taken to heart. He not only praised me, but other students as well, and made sure to interact with everyone on a daily basis. That kind of thing can really brighten the day of a student who might have been trapped in a haze of dark days. I can assure you that he brightened mine much more than he needed to. He went out of his way to give everyone a piece of positivity in their day.

Even after I stopped having him as a teacher, Mr Bufano still greeted me kindly when he saw me in the hall or at school events. His patience with my anxiety was extraordinarily amazing. He didn’t rush me or shove me into the spotlight. He got me to peek out of the shell I had built around myself with a gentle nudge, and I could not thank him enough for it. I am sure he will continue to make other students’ days brighter, just like he has done for me.



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