School heroes honored by NJEA, Thunder

Published on Monday, September 9, 2013

My Hero at School contest
Collette and Ms. Ortiz

True heroes don’t wear capes or possess superpowers. True heroes make a difference in the lives of children. That’s why NJEA and the Trenton Thunder teamed up to honor some students and their school heroes.

The winners were among several hundred students across the state who submitted essays on the topic, “My Hero Works at School.”  The students, their families, and their heroes were the invited guests of the NJEA and Thunder at the Thunder’s game against the Portland Sea Dogs on August 22 at Arm & Hammer Park. The students and their heroes joined NJEA Vice President Wendell Steinhauer on the field for a pre-game ceremony. Members of the NJEA Public Relations Committee judged the essays.

My Hero at School contest
Ms. Steinbach and Boomer.

Fifth-grader Colette Cutrona wrote about Rafaela Ortiz, her second-grade teacher at Theunis Dey School in Wayne. Colette wrote, “She has had an impact on my life because I love writing much more than I used to. She helped me learn many new skills, and I used all of them. I can now write longer and more advanced stories. She inspired me to write, and I remember writing my first story sitting in my room on my little table writing with a fat pencil.” Collette's full essay

Ninth-grader Rahim Hazel Jackson wrote about Ann Steinbach, his business teacher Newark Technical Vocational School. “She wanted to see all of her students excel and succeed. But besides that, she showed me a lot that she cares about my future. Also, that she would make sure all of her students learned everything she taught.” Rahim's full essay

Egemberto Rosado, a third grader at School #3 in Cliffside Park, wrote about his third-grade teacher Iveth Mollinedo. “I learned a lot especially at school. I know how to multiply and divide and also fractions because of my teacher Ms. Mollinedo. She is the best teacher I ever had. I also know equivalent fractions. Fractions are my favorite math problem.” Egemberto's full essay

My Hero at School contest
Egemberto and Ms. Mollinedo

As a special surprise, Iveth Mollinedo read an essay about her public school hero – her mother. Brenda Mollinedo is a Spanish teacher in Cliffside Park. “It is very rare that anyone can have an opportunity to praise a favorite teacher. I feel very fortunate to be able to say that my mother is my hero and she is now a coworker as well. After attending School #3 as a student, I am now teaching there. It is also a school my mother taught at while I was in school before being transferred to the high school. Although she was never my classroom teacher, she taught me everything I know and influenced me to be the person and teacher I am today.” Mollinedo's full essay

The Thunder also designated the evening as NJEA Appreciation Night. Fans attending the game received free NJEA Boomer & Strike salt & pepper shakers.


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