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Former Student Surprises Teacher at Riverside

April 16, 2013
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  04/17/13 Jeni Hirschy, principal at Riverside Intermediate School in Plymouth had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact a teacher can have on a student last week.

A young man came into the office at Riverside carrying a very large arrangement of flowers.  He asked for Mrs. Dennie.  Hirschy said his English was a bit suspect and they thought maybe he was the flower delivery guy but she thought he looked a little familiar.  Mrs. Dennie was at lunch and was predicted to return in 15 to 20 minutes so he decided to wait. 

When she returned from lunch, they office requested she come down.  The young man immediately asked if she remembered him.  He reminded Mrs. Dennie that his name was Joel and he was a 5th student of hers 12 years ago at Menominee Elementary. 

Mrs. Dennie did remember Joel.  Joel Guerrea had come to her speaking little to no English.  He said he came back to school with the flowers to thank her for believing in him and helping him all those years ago. 

With tears in his eyes and tears in Mrs. Dennie’s eyes he shared what he was doing now.  After leaving Plymouth when he was in Lincoln Junior High his family moved to Florida.  Joel recently graduated from Berkley and now at the age of 22 he teaches Salsa and teaches young people to dance.  He encourages his young students to work hard and reach their fullest potential. 

Joe has danced with famous people such as Jenifer Lopez. 

Before he left Joel shared with Mrs. Dennie that when he first come to the United States he really wanted to know what they were saying on the American TV.  This motivated him to learn the English language. 

After school Mrs. Hirschy spoke with Mrs. Dennie.  She said Joel had made her day. 

Hirschy said, “As an educator as well as on a personal level, this was a beautiful moment.  This, and other stories like this are why we continue to do what we do.”

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One Response to “ Former Student Surprises Teacher at Riverside ”

  1. AnnF on April 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I love these stories! Thank you!