My name is Jacqueline Coraci. I am a 7th grader at All Saints Episcopal Day School in Hoboken. Our 4th grade teacher Ms. Nguyen was recently named NJ Nonpublic School Teacher of the Year. As we take the time to give thanks this November, I wanted to share with our community just how deserving Ms. Nguyen is and give thanks for getting to experience first-hand the kindness and dedication that helped earn Ms. Nguyen this award.
Some of my greatest learning experiences and happiest memories come from my 4th grade year with Ms. Nguyen. She helped make the transition into middle school, which can be a rather nerve wracking time, into something very special. Any time somebody I know is going into Ms. Nguyen’s class, I always tell them, “Enjoy your time as a 4th grader while it lasts, because it will certainly be a year to remember.”
One of the thrills of 4th grade and one of my favorite projects was designing and running a mock boardwalk for the rest of the students in our school to enjoy. Ms. Nguyen led us in this project by inspiring our creativity and enthusiasm. We explored costumes, designed posters, came up with ideas for booths and activities before we ever knew that we were even doing work. It all seemed like fun throughout the project. By the end, we realized that our work on this project had actually covered an entire unit of social studies without ever opening a textbook! Of course we did utilize other methods of research and gained insight into NJ boardwalks during colonial times. These research skills were important as we made our way through middle school.
Ms. Nguyen is always willing to go the extra mile and help students with anything that they need. To this day, I use the songs and visual reminders that Ms. Nguyen taught us when our class was learning new concepts like subtraction and division. Math was not, and has never been my favorite subject. She was able to help me with anything that I had trouble with and made it enjoyable at the same time. Whether it was creating “pies” to help me master fractions, or making up funny rhymes to strengthen my multiplication skills, Ms. Nguyen was always able to turn my academic challenges into strengths.
Anybody who has ever been taught by Ms. Nguyen is able to agree on one thing; she was one of the best teachers that they have ever had. In the words of one of her former students and my classmate, “Ms. Nguyen is such a great teacher! She makes everything so much fun to learn and always makes sure that her students fully understand the lessons that were being taught.” Ms. Nguyen is always kindhearted, whether she is interacting with her students or other adults. She can make any situation into a calm and peaceful learning experience. Her tone, whether she is teaching, reminding us about behavior choices, or just in conversation always makes me feel like she cares about each of her students.
Students who recently transitioned from 4th grade to middle school are thankful for Ms. Nguyen’s effort when assisting with this stressful time. In the words of a current 5th grader, my sister, “Ms. Nguyen assigned homework on Monday instead of the day before it was due to get us accustomed to planning out our homework on our own. She also let us walk from certain classes by ourselves to get used to the flow of things in 5th grade.”
Ms. Nguyen’s creativity, imagination, and overall beautiful personality makes her the ideal teacher. I am beyond joyful that the person who guided me through some of the biggest obstacles of my time as an elementary school student was recognized as the NJ Nonpublic School Teacher of The Year. She definitely deserves it!