Monday, October 29, 2012

What Matters to Students

It is always great to hear back from alumni once they have left our buildings.  The feedback we sometimes receive provides us with a sense of whether or not we are doing a good job preparing them for success at the next stage in their lives.  Below is an email that I recently received from Amanda Howell, a 2012 graduate of New Milford High School.  Amanda's reflection on her time at NMHS put into perspective what really matters in an educational experience.

Mr. Sheninger,

            I just wanted to take the time to thank you for all of my experiences at New Milford High School. As I am embarking on my college career, I am thankful for all that I learned at New Milford. There are few people here who have had experiences as great as I had in High school, and I believe that much of that is due to the positive changes and environment you have created. The technology, the experiences, and the educators all play a positive role in the drive I have in furthering my education.

            I was able to take part in so many great experiences during high school. There were so many great opportunities I am glad that I took part in. I was able to attend a trip to the Liberty Science center to watch an open-heart surgery as a part of my AP biology course, and the S.T.E.M Academy. It was a great experience because the educators really ensured that we were taking everything we possibly could from everything presented to us. We traveled to the Google offices in New York City, which was a great learning experience because much of the technology I used in high school, and still do in college, runs with something from Google. I was able to sample and provide feedback on the Chromebook, which helped me choose the technology I wanted for college. I traveled to many competitions to work on my debate and public speaking skills through the Ethics Bowl and Mock Trial, where we had to research and formulate opinions and strategies on current issues. As I am getting involved in groups, clubs, and organizations in college I am learning just how important and valuable it is that I was immersed in those issues and I have to tools to become informed, formulate an opinion, and defend it.

            But beyond all of the experiences, and beyond all of the technology are the educators. The teachers of the school who encourage you to get involved, and make you want to be all you can be and do all that you can do. All of the teachers I had at New Milford helped to make me who I am today, but being a Biology major I need to point out Mr. Devereaux. His enthusiasm and passion for what he does really shines through in his teaching. He extended himself to be available to his students inside and outside of the classroom, always responding to e-mails and going out of his way to make sure all of his students were being the best they could be. He provided excellent resources, using social media such as twitter, to communicate with the students and provide them with further information beyond the topics covered in class. Even today in college, I still refer back to his notes and utilize his website, still enjoying his famous PowerPoint animations, to help me be the best I can be. Moreover, I know that if I ever have a question, or needed help with something all I would have to do is send him an e-mail and he would still help me today.

            My roots and New Milford are stronger and richer than most. I am extremely thankful for all that I was able to take part in during my time at New Milford. I am thankful for all that Mr. Sheninger has done to make the educational experiences at New Milford better, for I feel I was given to tools to reach my potential. I am also thankful for the educators who go above and beyond the call of duty and because of them I will forever be reaching for the stars!

Thank you,
Amanda Howell

1 comment:

  1. Letters like those are our greatest rewards. Thanks for sharing this, Eric.