Highland View Academy teacher receives honor

August 04, 2013
  • Ophelia Barizo
Submitted photo

Ophelia Barizo, a science teacher at Highland View Academy, was presented with a national award on May 31.

Barizo was among 10 teachers selected by the Alumni Awards Foundation to receive a 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award. 

The award includes a medallion and $2,000 gift.

“One of my desires as a teacher is to inspire learning in my students, and to model the excitement which comes from learning and discovery,” Barizo said. “I need to set high standards and expectations and encourage students, by example and positive reinforcement, to reach these expectations, and to be the best they can be.”

Barizo said her goal as a science teacher at an Adventist school is to draw her students to the wonders of science, nature, and to the Creator of the universe.

“Her excellence in teaching is transforming the quality of education at HVA,” said Vice Principal Winona Hudson. 

She consistently uses PowerPoint and Smartboard presentations to enhance her lessons and provides access to those notes for students who need additional assistance. She also assigns several student projects each year that incorporate scientific principles that address practical everyday activities and real-world applications.

She partners with community organizations resulting in her students engaging in meaningful outdoor experiences, such as taking trips in forest areas to photograph, collect and identify different species of mushrooms, where new species have been discovered.

Resources can be a challenge, but Barizo does not let the limited laboratory equipment keep her from using what she can.

She inspires and educates her students about the environment by using the school grounds and surrounding areas to enrich classroom experiences and develop future stewards of the environment.

When Barizo is not in the classroom or out teaching her students in the field, she is writing grants and attending workshops. Through her efforts, HVA has been awarded approximately $750,000 in grants.

“One of the strengths that Mrs. Barizo brings to our program is her willingness and desire to create long-standing partnerships,” said HVA Principal LeRoy Snider. “Her openness and diligence bring creative and innovative programs to her science students in a variety of ways.”

The award ceremony was held at Highland View Academy, 10100 Academy Road, Hagerstown.

AAF annually selects 10 teachers from the Seventh-day Adventist school systems across North America. 

AAF is a nonprofit organization that has awarded grants to Seventh-day Adventist schools and teachers totaling more than $2 million. Since its establishment in 1995, the organization has recognized 115 exceptional teachers with an Excellence in Teaching Award. AAF develops new ways to fund, advance and sustain excellence in the Seventh-day Adventist schools in North America. The education system includes 915 elementary and high schools, 15 colleges and universities, and 4,699 teachers. Learn more at

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