West Holds Spring “You Make a Difference” Breakfast

By Violet Gilbert, Staff Writer

Niles West hosted the “You Make a Difference” breakfast in the student commons yesterday morning. This event was created to recognize a faculty or staff member who has made- or is currently making- a difference in the school.

The breakfast gives students a chance to honor staff members in front of other people in the Niles West community. Each student prepared a paragraph to read explaining how they think their teacher makes a difference at Niles West and why they nominated that teacher.

There are two “You Make A Difference” breakfasts each school year- one in the fall recognizing students and one in the spring recognizing staff. Executive Secretary in the Main Office Judy Wheatman organizes this event, sending out a form where students can submit their nominations.

“I think the speeches from the students expressing why they appreciate someone and what they have done for them in the building is my favorite thing,” Wheatman said.

Niles West has been doing the “You Make A Difference” Breakfast since before Wheatman started working as secretary seven years ago.

Since this event’s purpose is to recognize teachers for inspiring students, the students were given the chance to explain why they nominated the teacher that they did. Math teacher Karissa Moy was nominated by a freshman in her Advanced Algebra 2 class Dharma Delahanty. This was Moy’s first time being nominated in her time at Niles West.

“It was really exciting,” Moy said. “The student [Delahanty] read a paragraph that she wrote about me and it made me really happy.”

Other staff members who won this award were excited by it as well. Theater teacher Andrew Sinclair was nominated by Sana Majed, and he has always appreciated the event.

“I love the ‘You Make A Difference’ breakfast: not only is it nice to hear students say wonderful things about you, but I love hearing what other students say about teachers,” Sinclair said. “When you take a moment and realize that some of the small things we do as teachers- spending extra time with students, giving them encouraging words, writing that extra thing at the end of a paper that you know you worked really hard on- can truly make a difference.”

Students, as well as teachers, love the concept behind the breakfast. Senior Sammie Simkins nominated the Pathways teacher Shaun Kennedy for many reasons. He was very welcoming to Simkins when she started to work with the special ed students.

“He made me apart of the family right away. He is a big role model, not only to other adults but to me and all the other peer helpers,” Simkins said.

Another special ed teacher Alex Hill was nominated for an award as well. Senior Elizabeth Bechtle nominated her because of the way she cares for her students and impacts others.

“She has been a major influence and role model to me wanting to become a special ed teacher. Her classroom is always welcoming and she cares about students that aren’t even her own,” said Bechtle.

Apart from Moy, Sinclair, Kennedy, and Hill, the other staff members who received nominations include:

Chris Schwarz, nominated by Camm MasonNeil Koreman, nominated by Hammad MemonJody Weatherington, nominated by Isma ManzoorChris Hawker, nominated by Zeenat MuhammadDena Lichterman, nominated by Ashley DyerKaterina Paulos, and Kylie RamirezJennifer Hahne, nominated by Maryam KhannaLeonore Moran, nominated by Austin Kessem; Kara Collins, nominated by Gaby Goldman; Adrian Batista, nominated by Amela Duskic; Tina Schmidt, nominated by Sam Galanopoulos; Maria Kelly, nominated by Zubair Muhammad; Kaitlin Anderson, nominated by Zubair Muhammad.