Going beyond the call of duty

By Justine DiFilippo
April 26, 2001

by: Justine Di Filippo
photo editor

Throughout our years as students we have come across many teachers yet few are remembered. Teachers rarely impact our lives as we grow older and move on but things have changed. More teachers have affected my life here then any other school I have attended in my 18 years of schooling.

The teachers on this campus talk to their students as equals and are interested in their school life as well as in the classroom.

There are at least three teachers that have made an impact on my life since freshmen year. Charlie McCormick, Diane Sziller, and Jerry Zurek.

Professor Sziller was my second semester of math teacher. Math is definitely not one of my strong subjects, and the harder I tried the worse I did. One day professor Sziller pulled me aside and asked me what the problem was. I had told her the war stories of horrible math teachers who would not answer my questions. The one’s who never thought out of the book and when it was time for homework, I was lost. Through tears I told her that I was really trying but I couldnot grasp the concepts. Professor Sziller stayed after class every day with me giving me extra assignments, showing me step by step how to recognize what formula to use. I remember the final exam we completed, one page at a time. When I was done the first page I handed her the paper and received the second page. When I was picking up my third page she said to me, “You’re doing great, keep it up.” I ended up acing the final exam. I see her around campus every now and then. She never hesitates to come up to me and ask how school is going. Also, if I am struggling in any other classes and asks if she can help. She believed and still does that I can do things well and that is what I needed to succeed.

Dr. Charlie McCormick was my SEM 100 teacher and teacher of many other classes that I still take with him, shortly became my mentor. We had to meet with him outside of class many times. English was my strong point so I did not really need help just some fine tuning. The first time I was in his office I noticed some black and white photos on his windowsill. We started talking about different areas of photography. He found out that I was into photography and suggested I should go to study photography in Maine. For the past two years he’s been bugging me to apply to the Salt Institute. Shortly I will be processing applications and a portfolio for this school that I would have never known about if it were not for Dr. McCormick.

Dr. Jerry Zurek is my journalism teacher. He is always there for his students even when he is on sabbatical. Though this story has nothing to do with the academic part of school, it has to do with residing on campus. Some students do not know but the journalism class is a full year eight-credit course, which simply means four credits a semester, but they are not awarded untill the end of the year. April came around and it was time to pick housing. Four of my friends and I wanted to be in the apartments. The list was posted and I was the only one who was not allowed to live there. I was told I was 1.5 credits short, but with my journalism credits I was 2.5 credits over what I needed. Residence Life would not listen to me. Dr. Zurek was an e-mail away. I had told him my story and how they would not acknowledge my four credits. He didn’t hesitate. He made phone calls, sent e-mails, and was about to make an appearance on campus before I was finally permitted to live in the apartments.

There are still more teachers that have gone that extra step for many others and me that teach at this college. These teachers have impacted my life in one way or another. When people ask me how I like Cabrini, the first thing out of my mouth is that the teachers are great. This is the first time in my life that I have actually said that about a campus-wide teaching staff. I feel as if the faculty here are like my parents, I want them to be proud of me as well. They are the ones who are there for us in our times of need. Thank you.

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Justine DiFilippo

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