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Freshmen Students Reveal Lessons Learned in End-of-Year Speeches

Freshmen students in Fairmont Preparatory Academy’s Strategies for Success course ended the year by presenting short speeches to their classmates regarding the key lessons they learned — both in the class and in general — during the first year of high school.

After three drafts and peer editing, each underclassman came fully prepared and had practiced his or her speech numerous times in order to be ready on presentation day. Course teacher Joseph Massimini had copies of all students’ written speeches and followed along as they spoke to the class in order to make sure they didn’t stray too far from what they had originally crafted.

Mr. Massimini hoped that the students would be able to use this assignment to appreciate the growth they made from being in school and that they would be creative in how they captivated their audience’s attention. After all, they weren’t allowed any visuals in their three- to four-minute speeches.

Mr. Massimini said he was glad that each student had his or her own unique takeaway from the year, and he was also able to take a lesson away from this assignment for himself.

“I learned that it’s as important for students to reflect on their learning process as it is for the process to happen,” he said. “It makes students the captains of their personal learning adventures.”

As a result of these adventures, most students mentioned that they had acquired much more knowledge and life skills pertaining to physical and emotional health, topics they had covered heavily in class over the course of the year. They pointed out how their health both impacts and is impacted by various other aspects of their lives. One student even encouraged his peers by reminding them that they would continue to feel much better if they maintain healthy lifestyles with the proper fuel in their diets.

“You’re practically Superman,” Daniel Lewis joked.

Other students further stressed the importance of healthy lifestyles and study habits, whether it be through adding more hours to their sleep regimes (and spending less time playing video games until the wee hours of the morning), improving test-taking abilities with the use of Cornell notes, refining writing skills, or adapting to the changes that continue to take place as individuals (particularly teenagers) continue to grow and change.

Emily Tai was full of energy when she spoke to her fellow classmates, and she mentioned that high school was not as scary as she had originally been led to believe when she was in junior high. In fact, she discovered that it was much more enjoyable, especially when she realized that she had more in common with many of her peers than she thought she would.

“Even though it’s not like High School Musical,” she said, “we’re all in this together.”

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”