Teacher of the Month: Mrs. Klidonas Reply

Where did you grow up?

I was born in New York and lived here for 10 years. I moved back to Greece with my family and stayed in Greece until I was 22 years old. I then moved back to New York for my Master’s degree.

Why did you move back to Greece?

My family decided they wanted to move back to Greece, as that is where my parents are from. They sold a house that we owned here and decided that with money, they could start a new life in Greece.

What was it like living in Greece?

It was very hard at first. I didn’t speak the language very well and I needed a lot of extra help with grammar, literature, and even math—math was taught in a very different way in Greece. My parents hired a private tutor for me to guide me through my work. Even though it was hard to communicate with people, due to not speaking the language, some things I enjoyed were the weather and a more laidback school life. However, I still would always miss New York and would want to go back.

Did you experience anything new in Greece that you wouldn’t have experienced if you hadn’t moved?

First of all, I wouldn’t have met very important people in my life. If I had not moved to Greece, I would not have met my husband. I would not have had a lot of people in my life, meaning friends, and the opportunity to get to know a lot of my relatives. I also am very appreciative of the fact that I had schooling abroad. If I had studied in New York, I think I would not have had the opportunity to do a lot of after school activities and become fluent in Greek.

Where did you previously work?

I have been in the field of education for ten years and the first class I taught was a Greek afternoon class. I previously worked at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers.

Which college did you attend? What was your major?

I attended the University of Athens, where I majored in American/British Literature. I completed my Master’s degree in English Adolescent Education at Hunter College.

What kind of a student were you in high school?

As a student, I cared about my grades and was the kind to always seek extra credit. I had always liked reading, writing, and debating, and even as a student, I was extremely interested in English.

Were you always interested in teaching literature?

I’ve always wanted to teach, however, the real turning point for me was in college, where I sat for many classes reading literature intensely. There was one class where we read Jane Austen intensely for a whole semester, and during that time, I ended up imagining myself teaching literature in the future. This is when I realized I wanted a future in teaching.

Speaking of literature, what books, if any, have you read recently that have stood out to you?

I’m a member of a book club at Astoria Bookshop called the Feminist Book Club. We recently covered a graphic novel called Fun Home that I really enjoyed. It was a story about a young girl who came out to her parents. It speaks about her father who was also homosexual, featuring his struggles with his identity and trying to hide that. Even though I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels, this particular book changed my view.

What do you like most about BSGE? What do you like about your students?

I really enjoy the multiple perspectives in the classroom. The experiences and culture of students really shine in the classroom. I guess what I like most about BSGE would have to be the students. The students like English class and take it seriously. This reveals a lot about their character and future.

What kind of standards do you hold your students to?

I have very high standards for my students. Ultimately, it depends on what we do in class. Participation will always go a long way though. I also like to have a rubric or a grading guide that is fair for both the student and the complexity of the assignment.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

I would like to be a writer or open up a bookshop in my neighborhood. In the case of the bookshop, customers wouldn’t have to pay; they could just read in the bookshop. If I weren’t a teacher, I would just like a job in the field of literature.

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling whenever I have the opportunity. I like doing activities with my children. I also love listening to music, especially Bob Dylan. I obviously love reading also, and I’m pretty sad that I don’t have enough time to read books just for myself.

Where have you traveled before?

I love to travel a lot. Unfortunately, my traveling experiences are limited to two continents. I’ve visited the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and many others. I also like to travel within the US every opportunity I get, whether it’s a day trip somewhere in the Northeast or a long weekend trip across the country. Whatever good deal my husband can find with our airfare and the miles we collect is one we’ll take. We’ll always make sure to bring our children along as well.

What kind of activities do you do with your children?

I love taking them to “storytime”. We either go to the local library here in Astoria or Astoria Bookshop. During the summer, I would bring them every Thursday morning and they would have half an hour of storytime. I love taking them to the park. They can play with their friends and I can easily watch over them. I also take them to art classes whenever I can, but my older son also takes swimming classes while my younger son takes music classes. We like just doing things that are in season and that I know that they’ll enjoy.

What/who drew you to BSGE?

I live in Astoria so I know the area well. Because of that, I had heard about the school and its rigorous curriculum. However, it was ultimately the IB program that drew me to this school because it isn’t offered in many other places in NYC.

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The Blood Drive of 2017 Reply

With the motto of, “Donate blood now…people can’t live without it,” plastered on posters across the school, some may wonder what exactly went on at the blood drive. This blood drive was sponsored by the Helping Hands Committee, meaning that the general group of people in Helping Hands sponsored the blood drive rather than any specific committee. Peter Wilson, the advisor of Helping Hands, was the one who facilitated the blood drive on the day of. This blood drive was the first blood drive of 2017 and was hosted in partnership with the New York Blood Center. On March 17, from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, a bus known as the bloodmobile was available with staff, donor beds, and refreshments to ease the process. Helping Hands’ was to collect at least 35 pints of blood for New York City hospitals and other medical facilities to use.

Approximately 45 appointments were made BSGE students, despite the cold weather on the day of the blood drive. However, of those 45 appointments, only 25 were accepted. Despite how enthusiastic students in BSGE were to donate blood, factors including blood type, blood iron level, weight,  height, and countries recently visited affected whether or not one would be accepted to donate blood. Peter mentioned that during the dozen years Helping Hands had sponsored the blood drive, around 65 people would sign up during warm weather, but of those, about one-third to one-half would be rejected. More…

BSGE’s Senior Trip Reply

The senior trip. What is it? Though images of trips to exciting places as one’s time in school approaches to an end come to mind, most BSGE students don’t know what happens during the senior trip.  Questions abound, even ones as simple as where the seniors went and what they did.

The seniors left for their trip during the middle of the day on Friday, January 21 and returned on Sunday afternoon, January 22.  They went to Honor’s Haven Resort, one of many resorts in the Catskill Mountains. This has always been a school tradition at BSGE, even if the activities that occur every year vary. 72 of the 88 seniors in BSGE went on the trip, along with them came several teachers as chaperones, including Mr. Rabinowitz and Mr. Mehan. Those who did go were met with a fun and action-packed experience. More…

7th Grade Open House Reply

Around one hundred parents and sixth graders packed into BSGE’s cafeteria and hallways for the 7th grade Open House. They were all milling around in anticipation for the evening event to begin. The event, which started at 6:00 pm on December 6, 2016 and ended at 7:30 pm, was an opportunity for parents and students to learn more about BSGE and determine whether this was the right school for them. Although the event started at 6, many parents started flooding in through the front doors as early as 5:30 pm. So many people came that the parents had to be divided into two groups. One group took self-guided tours through the second to fourth floors while the second was downstairs in the cafegymatorium for a presentation run by guidance counselor Tim David-Lang, a few student speakers, math teacher Mr. Mehan, and history teacher Mr. Rabinowitz. The presentation talked about the curriculum at BSGE, the atmosphere, and the differences between BSGE and other schools.

Not only were there a lot of visitors that night, there were also many volunteers. Approximately 30 students in all volunteered in order to make this night memorable for the parents and children visiting. These volunteers were placed strategically at different intervals along the school corridors. Sets of five were stationed near the main lobby, the cafegymatorium, and the hallways on each floor. One or two teachers were also stationed on each floor to answer any questions about the school that students wouldn’t be able to. More…

The Official Guide to Backpacks Reply

Imagine having to carry all of your books by hand every day to school—this would make going to school almost impossible!  A backpack is an essential part of the elementary, middle and high school experience, and everybody has different opinions on which brand will benefit them. This is because comfort and appearance greatly impact education and health. In fact, studies show that approximately 5,000 children each year visit the ER because of backpack-related injuries such as hip, back, shoulder, and knee pain as well as bad posture and the tightening of muscles. Therefore, choosing an appropriate backpack for school is important. When doing so, consider all of its different aspects including the brand, quality, size, capacity, and price. More…