Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at email@example.com.
by: Andrew McDonough, Micah O'Donnell, and Jay Socha
Mr. Joseph Calleri, a lifelong resident of Wethersfield, is a paraprofessional at Silas Deane Middle School. Calleri, or Mr. C, as he’s known by all of the students he works with, has been working in Wethersfield schools since 2003.
More than anything, Mr. C enjoys interacting with students. Working with his students through their struggles and getting ‘positive feedback’ when they get a good grade is what Mr. C values most in his job.
Middle school can be a very confusing, yet formative time. Keeping up with school work and maintaining good study habits is a different experience for all middle schoolers, all of whom are trying to navigate themselves in a new school, with new people, and new responsibilities.
Having a friendly face like Mr. C to assist with school work and stress is so important for many kids. Speaking from experience, as a former student in his class, Mr. C made every class we had with him more enjoyable, since we knew we had a helping hand and voice of support nearby.
“Sometimes they [his students] have their bad days, but that’s like everybody else…you encourage them, and you’re like tomorrow’s a better day”, Mr. C said.
Mr. C, along with all paraprofessionals, played a vital role during Wethersfield’s distance learning, a time when communication between teachers and students was severed. Mr. C had to be there for his online students, and keep them in check throughout the school year.
During distance learning, Mr. C noted that sometimes communicating with students was a near impossibility, as some would simply not join Google Meets. ‘‘It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just that they don’t have that motivation to get online’’. As high school students, we related immensely to the struggle of staying focused while at home, with so many distractions within arms reach. It was a difficult time, and Mr. C helped his students get through it.
When asked if he had any advice, Mr. C encouraged students to ‘‘just keep trying.You just want to keep going and going and going. If you put in the effort and time, the grades will come.” After being asked how he would like to be remembered, Mr. C added, “That I was willing to help people out when they were in trouble”.
On behalf of us, and all students who have worked with you, Mr. C, thank you. We’ll take your kindness, compassion, and generosity with us wherever we go.
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