2002-07-13 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Celebrations Are Busting Out All Over
By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Celebrations Are Busting Out All Over

This is the time to honor our heroes and heroines, adults and students for their outstanding achievements, which affect the lives of all around them, making this a warmer, richer and more wonderful world.

One group, the Board of Regents, recently honored were teachers, saluting them for their contributions to the future, their guiding and developing our students of all ages to take their place as productive citizens of the 21st Century.

Each year the State Education Department seeks nominees, statewide from parents, colleagues, and students to receive the New York Teacher of the Year Award. Nominees compete in a rigorous process for selection: they present their educational philosophy in writing; are interviewed by a selection committee in Albany and are observed at work in their own classrooms.

The 2003 Award went to Carol R. Fries who overwhelmingly was selected for her knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, dedication and commitment.  The Committee was unanimous in recognizing Carol's talent for "Making History Come Alive" for her social studies students. 

According to State Education Department officials Carol can make War II sound a little like an old Western shoot out, a wrestling match and a Stanley Cup playoff game, all rolled in one. Carol is dramatic, her body movements, her communication and her appealing real life stories about F.D.R., the Gold Rush, the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the Boston Tea Party make her excitement about these events contagious. Her students revel as they attempt to solve historic problems of yesteryear or of today's Ground Zero terrorist attack or the Middle East situation. Mrs. Fries "can't help seeing a potential history lesson in everything she does." 

In line with her philosophy every culturally literate American should know famous people, words and actions of those who have made America great! The teenagers in Mrs. Fries' class are involved, flipping through their text, conferring with a teammate or articulating a defense of a position they have taken on an issue.

Amanda K. Terrance, one of Mrs. Fries' students said, "She doesn't just want you to come to class and pay attention.  She wants you to really learn, love learning and to do well on the state exams."

At the celebration honoring her, Carol Fries was joined by her proud parents, her admiring husband, her adoring son and her two beaming sisters - one a librarian and the other a museum curator.

Carol graciously accepted her award as one teacher representing New York's 719,000 teachers who everyday in ways big and small teach with a care and passion. The children will become tomorrow's future. "Teaching is not just a career, teaching is a lifestyle."

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