Teachers of the year announced at ceremony

April 22, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Williamsport High School French teacher Paula R. Moore said sometimes she's more like a mother and sometimes a friend to students who need someone to lean on.

Moore wrote in a biographical sketch that over the last 11 year students have revealed to her "suicidal thoughts, deep secrets, abortions, abuse in their home, their own homosexuality, alcoholism, drug abuse, and dysfunctional family problems."

"Having the same student for a number of years enables me to establish an incredible rapport and often a strong bond with my students," Moore wrote. "There becomes an element of trust and knowledge in one another that is hard to put into words."


Moore was named Washington County Public Schools Teacher of the Year on Thursday night at the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Educators of the Year Awards Banquet at Four Points Sheraton.

"I read somewhere once that students do not care about how much you know until they know how much you care about them," Moore wrote. "I have taken this quote to heart every day by taking at least five to 10 minutes to talk to my students about what is happening in their lives."

Highland View Academy science teacher Ophelia M. Barizo received the private school Teacher of the Year Award.

When Barizo began working at Highland View Academy in 1996, she was told the dropout rate for chemistry was about 50 percent and that she shouldn't take it personally if students dropped her class, she wrote in a biographical sketch.

"I was really bothered about that statement, since I knew that the high school chemistry class will probably be some students' first and last exposure to chemistry," Barizo wrote.

After doing some research, Barizo proposed that the academy offer traditional chemistry and Chemistry in the Community, a class introduced by the American Chemical Society. That class focuses more on chemistry and applications but less on theory, she wrote.

"Since 1997, the dropout rate rate has been nil," Barizo wrote. "Developing new science classes, such as Chemistry in the Community, environmental science and special topics in science has been one of my joys and accomplishments."

Moore has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Hood College in Frederick, Md., and a bachelor's degree in French with a certificate in education from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

Barizo has worked at Highland View Academy for nine years and has about 25 years teaching experience. She holds a master's degree in teaching for chemistry from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; a master's degree in chemistry education from Ateneo de Manila University in Manila, Philippines; a bachelor's degree in chemistry from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Philippine Union College in Manila, Philippines.

In addition to Moore and Barizo, three college professors also received Educator of the Year Awards.

Lew F. Muth of Frostburg University Center, Larry E. Funk of Hagerstown Business College and Elaine R. Ashby of Hagerstown Community College were awarded the honors.

Paul J. Ridgeway of the Washington County Free Library received the Literacy Award.

Moore and Barizo said they were shocked when their names were announced as winners.

"I really don't know what to say," Barizo said. "I'm just so shocked and stunned and overwhelmed."

"They told me to have a three-minute speech prepared, but, wow, I'm speechless," Moore said. "I never really thought I'd get this. This is just amazing."

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