Did You Know...?
As we head into what can be a stressful and chaotic time for some, the staff at TJ wanted to send SHOUT OUTS into the universe (and to our community) about all the things we are SO VERY THANKFUL FOR!
Take a look:
I am thankful for the ability to stay home with our 2-year-old son and that he gets to be involved and loved by my morning fitness classes. I also love working with TJ students and staff members. It has been so rewarding and joyfully fulfilling to be able to immerse ourselves with physical, mental & social wellness collectively!- Brittany Nicolo (Physical Education)
I am so thankful to be a member of the TJ community. My life is improved by these amazing kids and colleagues. I feel lucky every day to work at TJ. -- Amy Kalinchuk (Special Education)
I'm Thankful to be surrounded by friends and family, no matter the distance, in-person or virtual, because their Love gives me strength. Also, coffee. :) ~Emily Lupo (Dean of Culture, Administration)
I AM VERY THANKFUL TO BE EMPLOYED AT A SCHOOL THAT I LOVE DURING THIS CRAZY, UNPRECEDENTED TIME IN OUR SOCIETY. MY COLLEAGUES ARE THE BEST AND THE TJ COMMUNITY IS AWESOME!
PS - BEING ABLE TO STAY AT HOME AND WATCH OUR SON GIO LAUGH & GROW ON A DAILY BASIS IS PRICELESS! - MATT NICOLO (BUSINESS/MARKETING)
I am so thankful for being employed during this pandemic full of hardships and eviction notices. This is my 7th or 8th year at TJ and everyday I'm able to walk in here is a blessing because of all the smiling faces. It's the TJ atmosphere. The staff genuinely cares about the students and each other. There have been many times that I've come to work feeling down and defeated with life at home and then I walk down the hall and someone is joking around. The laughter is contagious. I'm most grateful for my team; they have all taught me so much! I look forward to the years to come.
- Melanie Scism (office staff) TJ RULES!!!!
Small gratitude's consist of getting to work outside while the weather is nice and saving on my commute time! The increase of money in my piggy bank from not spending it on gas and other things affords me to have a little bit more of spending money when I go on small adventures with the ones that are close to me! Or scoring deals on amazon and sending them things with free shipping because we cannot "see" them during this time. Gifting and re-gifting fills my cup. I am thankful to have my health and a job where I can make an impact (even when it may not feel like it). The comradery that TJ has absolutely helped in times of a much needed laugh. Creating this document reinforces me to think with a grateful mind and I am appreciative of that! J Rebecca Taylor- Counselor
I am thankful to be able to work alongside such a strong, supportive, fun, smart mental health team. We have had some tough moments individually, as a team, and as a school. I am thankful that I can always lean on you for a laugh (or a cry) and to receive the support I need to be better and move forward.
-Sam Davis (Social Worker)
I am thankful to be able to work, even if it is from home since many people have not been so fortunate. Also, I am thankful for the team I work with. They have made this transition much easier then it would have been if I had to do it all alone. Sean Silvers (English)
I am thankful for coffee with the birds and the squirrels and the feral cat every morning. I sit and watch the squirrels play "the ground is lava", the birds flit and squawk and all get along at the feeders, no matter what species. The juncos are back, and a nuthatch has started stopping by. I have a happy moment when the cat runs to the place where it has conditioned me to feed it. I am thankful that I can play outside for a bit longer - even if it takes me forever to get anything done - and sometimes I just hang out. And, as far as TJ stuff, I am very thankful for the communication we share about the kidlets. We don't have to know all the details, but we share enough to know not to push too hard if a kid is in a really delicate place. - Jill Spivey (I have no idea what my department is)
I am thankful for the support of my department while working through transitioning to remote learning. I am thankful for my wife and Dog to keep me sane and feeling loved during these stressful times!
(Justin Kaplon, Science)
Professionally- I am thankful for getting to work alongside an incredibly talented, intelligent, genuine team of educators here at TJ. I am thankful for our TJ community, inclusive of our wonderful students and families. This job is so hard; having teammates who elevate you and encourage you makes all the difference. Personally- I am so very thankful for a safe home for my family- I am thankful for all my time spent outside in the sunshine, and for all the extra bonus time with Otis.
(Natalie Koncz, School Psychologist)
Professionally- I am so thankful for our amazing TJ community. I feel so grateful at this crazy time to be surrounded by so much support, love, encouragement not only from our TJ family but from the students and their families. Personally, I love that I get to spend my days with the coolest kid on the planet and watch him grow into such a kind and intelligent person. It has been quite a year but one thing that it has shown me for sure is that I have so much to be grateful for and so many people to hold me up and to hold up. (Laura Prow, World Langauges)
Professionally- I am thankful for all the support I have received from the Thomas Jefferson Team! More specifically the Special Education team, this is a crazy year to be a first year teacher in and there is no way I could have made it this far without all of their support. I am also thankful for my extraordinary paras, they have done an amazing job and work so well with all the students. Personally - I am very thankful for what this year has brought me, it has been a crazy year for all of us but it has made me a stronger person in the end. ~Stephanie Sturm (Special Education)
I am thankful for all the support I feel from our Administration, my teammates, and the staff at TJ. Working with a group of people who care so much about students is inspiring. I am grateful for the continued remote connection with students who brighten my day and remind me that the difficult days are all worth it. I am thankful for my health and the health and safety of those I love.
I am thankful to get to work at a school with amazing teachers and an awesome leadership and mental health team and for all of our wonderful students and families! Personally, I am thankful to get more time at home with my husband and my dog this year. - Maggie Kennedy, School Counselor
I am thankful for my healthy, loving family and that my mom is doing much better after my dad's passing last year (they were married for 58 years). I am thankful that our son is doing well in college (he was a TJ graduate) and for the beautiful mind and heart he has. I am thankful to work with my colleagues at TJHS who appreciate and support diversity. I am thankful to have a job I love, and to work with people who strive to be better than the day before. Mike Kontrelos-Special Education teacher
I am thankful for my amazing science team who support me every step of the way! I am thankful for our amazing TJ teachers, administrators, counselors and staff! Our school is absolutely the BEST! I am thankful for our incredible students and families and all the support they have given! I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends who I love with all my heart! Angie Jacobson-Science
I am thankful to be a member of the Mental Health/Counseling Team at TJ- what a devoted, compassionate, hard working, and practically thinking group. I am in year 2 at TJ and feel that I am finding my way as a Spartan with the help of all the amazing TJ Teachers, Admin, and Support Staff (even had a few requests for college letter of recommendations!!). I am thankful for my family, specifically my babies Lenny and Shay- they bring me joy every single day <3 (Annie Berg, Social Worker)
I am thankful to be working at TJ this year and the amazing support and respect that administration shows teachers. I am also thankful for the amazing science and special education departments and their support as well as the attendance, hardwork and compassion of our TJ students. I am thankful that administration is making our safety a top priority during these difficult times! I'm thankful to be able to spend time with my two wonderful border collies throughout the day! I'm also thankful for my wonderful boyfriend and the constant support and love he shows me during these challenging times. Last, but not least, I'm so thankful my 19 year old son is in the Army right now and that he is well taken care of and striving for greatness during these difficult times. - Candace Micker (Special Education Biology)
I am so thankful for my students. As isolating as remote learning and staying at home all the time can be, I get to spend time with them each week and am constantly reminded why teaching is the best career anyone could ask for. It is a blessing to be able to see the world through their eyes sometimes. They are infinitely kind and accepting; they are innovative and resilient; they are hard-working. Most importantly, they are the future...and the future is bright!
Lauren Palek (English Department).
Thank you Lord! For your everlasting faithfulness! (Rebecca Moore-Office support)
I am Thankful for to work in such a supportive environment. My team, teachers, and the administration have supported me and my family during COVD. #TJ strong. - Erin Thompson (Counseling)
I am so very thankful for my family and that I have been able to spend so much time with them. I am thankful that my students are supportive of me and each other. I am thankful that I work with great people, too, so that wherever I go, I am surrounded by greatness. Finally, I am thankful for Saturday, the 7th of November, 2020. --Jeffrey Almond (English)
I am thankful to work with such an amazing group of folks that are committed to supporting our kids. This year has been bananas, but you have all been flexible and have had a "can-do" mindset. Thank you all! - Mike Christoff (Admin)
I am thankful for my family, my friends and my co-workers . I am also extremely thankful for the amazing firefighters that worked tirelessly to save homes in the Grand Lake area. My home was right in the path of the blaze and some very courageous people were able to keep the fire from destroying our home. I am also so blessed to be a part of the TJ community who helped support me through this difficult time. I love working at TJ (even remotely). TJ is awesome!! -Julie Thibodeau (SAL)
I am thankful for reminders to celebrate what I am thankful for ;). I am also thankful for my wife (an amazing DPS educator that has been in her building with kids for months), my amazing children that make me feel like I must have done something right, and of course my TJ Family, the reason I still love doing what I do even if it is remote and the reason I try to be better each day. Thanks TJ!
- Jon Poole (Admin)
I am thankful for pets. Dogs are always loyal and loving, and they make coming home from a tough day so much better. To be able to care for something else allows us to get out of our own heads, and step away from our egos. It is so rewarding to love another creature, and feel their love reciprocated 100 fold
I am thankful for my warm cozy house on this chilly day and my furry friend who keeps me company all day long! And I am thankful for Cheez Its!
I am thankful for my family and for health. I am thankful to have a job and that I have connections at work that keep me going! I appreciate a good fire in the fireplace and time to rest so that I can get back at it with sanity. Glad that we have animals to get us out of the house. My greatest joy right now is Christmas....can't wait for tree cutting! - Paula Hammel (Admin)
I am thankful for my friends, family, and coworkers. I appreciate the Math 3 team being able to collaborate and laugh during meetings. I am grateful for my cousins for hosting watch parties and game nights. I am thankful for my puppy to get me out of the house and out on walks. I am thankful for my parents that are pushing through everything right along with me. I am thankful for Spotify's immense library of which I've been listening to the same like 20 songs so I am sure my roommate is ready to shoot me! And most importantly, I am thankful for TJ and our students. For them, I'll keep pushing through. ~Katie Fitz (Math Department)
I am thankful for many things. The most important one is being healthy. I am especially thankful during this pandemic to be healthy. It allows me to do the things I love most in life, like teaching a language. I am also thankful to have work in this work-scarce environment. I am thankful for the people who work with me. Also thankful for my family who stands by me no matter what. I am thankful to be alive and write this thankful letter (Sabrina Janczak- French Teacher)
I am thankful for my two chocolate labs, my family who supports me, and the amazing staff at TJ. I was asked by a parent why I work at TJ and the list goes on and on. I am thankful for you all and the community we've built! I am also VERY thankful for my health. -Marianna Barclay (Geography)
I'm thankful for a loving and caring partner at home, with which we share joy with our 4-legged fur babies, Hurley and Olive. I give thanks for the extension of that support from my nucleus - friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and beyond. I'm deeply thankful, as a new staff member at TJ, for my fellow Math 1 and Math 2 teachers for how we plan, discuss, share, exchange ideas and most of all, how we're going to 'figure this out'. My gratitude extends to everyone at TJ for their perseverance and their expertise. 2020... gonna go down in the books for sure; yet, I do feel more appreciation for those around me than sorrow for the state of the things. ~Brock Strickland, Math
I am thankful for so many things! I am so happy I get to spend time with my students every day, continuing to help them appreciate literature and realize that reading isn't a bad or scary thing! I am super excited that my students remember their manners and are so respectful and supportive of each other (and helpful to me with this technology stuff!)!! I am grateful to have the opportunity to work from home (with my fur babies, all of my students know them by name!) so I don't get sick (I was sick ALL THE TIME!)! This pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone, and I am so happy to be part of the TJ Family, where we are supported and appreciated for what we can do to further help kids! .... And I am also thankful that there will be a ski season..... I really could use some skiing right about now......
-Jennifer Sonheim (Special Education/Literacy)
I am thankful for all of the wonderful and supportive people in my life, including my family, my friends, and my TJ coworkers (especially the science department!).
-Rachel Teeter (Science)
I'm thankful for all the time I get to spend wit my puppy and that my family has remained healthy and well. I'm also so thankful for the rest of the English team and the way they have made me feel welcome and part of the team, even while we work in this virtual setting. There has been much about this school year that has been challenging, but I'm so thankful to be at TJ as we work through the craziness.
-Megan Weaver (English)
I'm thankful to be able to stay safe and healthy while still doing my job. I'm thankful to have been a part of this incredible community for the past 16 years - and I feel especially grateful for TJ friends and admin for their ongoing support, especially during this difficult time.
-Eileen Adair (CCT)
I'm SO grateful for the health of my family during this time as well as our steady income as a teaching couple when so many have lost so much financially. LOVE my TJ colleagues and this community that seems to pull together all the more in times like these! - Michael Logan (Matemáticas)
This will sound a little cheesy, but I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life...the good, the bad, and everything in between. It is easy to be grateful for all the good in my life, but it is equally important for me to be grateful for those less than great times because every low point or challenge I have faced made me stronger and led me to a new and better place or state of being. I am grateful to the TJ community for welcoming me, it is great to feel connected and empowered as an educator! Lastly, I am grateful for the unconditional love that my cat (Samson) and dog (Lilah) give me freely
~ Nicole Tarullo (Math)
"Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right" ~Grateful Dead
I am thankful for facetime, and virtual learning. As much as I am grown to resent them and want real interactions in real life. I am so grateful that facetime is so accessible for my family to watch my kids grow and not completely miss a year of their life.
As much as I miss the classroom I am grateful for virtual learning. It has opened new doors and still allowed education to continue.
I am thankful for my family and friends; given the crazy year 2020 has been, I'm blessed for my health and right to vote. - Eric Perry (AVID)
I am thankful for my family most of all. I am grateful for my many friends and co-workers. Also for the good Lord who continues to grant his many blessings. - Betty VanNorden (Office Support)
I am so thankful for my family, my new grandbaby, my sweet doggies, and my warm safe home. I am also so fortunate to have a fantastic job and work family. My hope is as a community we continue to work on supporting each other and work to be better everyday. -Cynthia Allen(office support)
I am thankful to God that I am still standing strong. After all the enemy has thrown at me. I am also thankful for my family and friends. -Delores Leslie (para)
First of all I am thankful to God for all he has done and will continue to do to bless me, taking care of me and my family and friends. I am also thankful to all the people that adhere to wearing your mask to keep not only yourself but everyone you come in contact safe! Stay Safe!
- Carla Allen (Treasurer and Athletics)
Have a wonderful Fall Break, TJ.
Mental Health and Social Emotional "Did You Know": Compiled by Samanda Davis, LCSW, MSW and Natalie Koncz, Ed.S., NCSP. Resources:TJHS staff :)