Scholarship winners and Committee members Mike White, Cindy Weintraub, Anne Pavek, Maleah Young, Kiera McPhillips, Nicky Giannakakis, Samantha Mynio, Alice Nash, Mary Kunzmann
Nicky Giannakakis – Chester - St. John’s University My name is Nicky Giannakakis and I am pleased to accept the Mid-Hudson Valley Retired Teachers Association Scholarship. Throughout my childhood, I’d force my siblings along with my friends to play “school” with me, from creating lesson plans, making worksheets, to even taking my students outside for recess. To me, this was all plain fun, until one day it became a consideration to my future reality. As a future educator, my career goals are centered around creating a positive environment for my students. My main objective is to continue to help my students grow and develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their own future endeavors. Teaching has always struck me as one of the most rewarding careers and something that has always inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others. Every student deserves the opportunity to receive a proper education that allows them to grow and learn and I am committed to providing them with that. I want to encourage each student that enters my classroom to ask questions to benefit themselves and inspire their curiosity. The environment I strive to create plays a key role in developing a love for learning and inspiring my students to become lifelong learners within society. I will begin my journey as a future educator at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and following with a one-year program to receive my master’s as well.
Kiera McPhillips – Valley Central – York College ! I would like to thank you all so much. I am very excited for the future ahead of me. I have always had a passion for math but was never sure what I would do with it. Growing up I had two science teachers in my family, my mother and grandmother. Seeing how much they enjoy their jobs and hearing all the wonderful experiences they had as teachers, has influenced me to this day and helped shaped my decision to become a teacher. In addition to my family, my teachers have made a big impact in my life. I enjoyed all the levels of math I took in high school and it wouldn’t have been enjoyable without the passionate teachers I had. My high school math teachers have inspired me to be one myself. I am looking forward to becoming a high school mathematics teacher, educating students in the future and communicating my love for math to them. Thank you all so much and I am honored to be a MARTA Scholarship recipient.
Samantha Mynio – Washingtonville – Messiah University I made the choice to go into health education because of my passion to promote mental and physical health to teens, as well as my love of athletics. ... I took Ms. Massari’s AP Biology class, ...and I realized I wanted to pursue a career in health education and be able to spark an interest in the health of the human body for students like me, I was introduced to Mr. Powers’ coaching class...that allows students to be on the path to getting a coaching certification. Another person who is able to educate while also staying involved in athletics is Washingtonville’s athletic trainer, Trainer John. My path won’t look identical to Mr. Powers or Trainer John’s but my goal is to be similar to them in the way that I will be a health education teacher, and still be involved in athletics as an athletic trainer after school. In New York State, there is a new protocol that ensures high school athletic trainers act as educators, and not just trainers. During the day they will be required to enhance the education of students through health classes, where they can share their passion for promoting mental and physical health in a classroom setting, and then furthermore they will share their knowledge even more after school on the athletic field. My goal is to do just that. I will obtain Master’s degrees in health education and athletic training during my time in college. With those degrees, I will be able to educate teens on how they can improve their mental and physical health during the school day in a classroom setting, and then after school I’ll be able to use my knowledge of athletic training to share my knowledge to athletes so they can be the best version of themselves on the playing field. Overall, my main goal is to help students and athletes alike improve their mental and physical health, whether it be in a classroom or out on the field.
Maleah Young – Warwick - SUNY Cortland I’ve always had the idea in my head of being a teacher, specifically since I was 3 years old. I started with having an obsession with books. I spent all of my time in daycare reading books and I read so much that I read over 1,000 books in a year. Also, I would use random worksheets from school and pretend to teach my stuffed animals. I wanted to be exactly like every single teacher that I had growing up. However, I looked up to my 5th and 6th grade teacher more than any other. Mrs. Flynn is the most kind, loving and caring teacher I have ever had. She connected with our class so deeply. If our class did not understand a lesson, she would switch everything she was doing to make sure we understood it to the fullest. But not only did she care about how we were doing academically, she was a huge part of our lives outside of school as well. Two months ago, I went into her 6th grade class to job shadow and see how much I liked the age group that I was in. It was such an amazing experience and I learned so many things about teaching in only 7 hours. Not only did I work in a classroom, but I have also been tutoring a wonderful, 4th grade girl. It is so rewarding to see how much she has improved since I started working with her. All of these incredible teachers and experiences made my decision of what level of students I wanted to teach so much easier. I knew that working at the elementary level was perfect for me. I cannot wait to start my way to my dream career to spend every day in a classroom. Elementary students look up to their teachers significantly and I am so thrilled and excited to be exactly that for my students.