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Future Teachers Recognized

CEA Student Program Leaders (from left) Secretary Giuliana Spinelli, President Emily Oaks, and Vice President Kara Mendes present CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Treasurer Tom Nicholas with a $250 check to the Sandy Hook Memorial and Scholarship Fund.

CEA Student Program leaders presented CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Treasurer Tom Nicholas with a $250 check to the CEA Sandy Hook Memorial and Scholarship Fund at the Apple Banquet. From left are CEASP Secretary Giuliana Spinelli, Nicholas, Chair Emily Oaks, Cohen, and Vice Chair Kara Mendes.

The life of an education student can be a busy one—filled with classes, school work, extracurricular activities, sometimes a part-time job, and student teaching—especially at the end of the semester. A recent CEA Student Program (CEASP) banquet allowed members a rare opportunity to relax, connect with students from other universities, and be recognized for their hard work.

Over 130 CEASP members gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell for the annual Apple Banquet, which recognizes the most active CEASP members for their engagement and accomplishments over the course of the year. The CEASP involves education students from six Connecticut universities and offers unique opportunities for professional development, community outreach, leadership, and networking.

Michele Ridolfi O’Neill, CEA educational issues specialist and CEASP organizer, said the banquet rejuvenates students’ enthusiasm for the teaching profession. All of the other CEASP statewide events and activities are heavily focused on learning or community service, O’Neill said. The Apple Banquet gives members a rare chance to be recognized and socialize with education students from other universities.

Monroe teachers

Monroe teachers (from left) Marie Blake, Tricia Pagel, and Jeff Seymour spoke to CEA Student Program members about the lessons they’ve learned from their students and from the tragedy at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.

CEASP State Chair Emily Oaks, a Southern Connecticut State University student, referenced the many initiatives the students undertook this year — which included political advocacy around the Bridgeport ballot question in November, themed curricular and STEM nights, and various school beautification projects. Oaks said, “We’re becoming better teachers by what we do for the community.”

At this year’s banquet, students heard from Masuk High School in Monroe teachers Marie Blake, Jeff Seymour, and Tricia Pagel. Their presentation focused on the lessons they have learned from their own students and from the tragedy at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.

CEA President Sheila Cohen told the students that the wonderful thing about teaching is the opportunity that each teacher has to make a difference in the life of a student. “Your impact on children’s lives can mean more to them than you’ll ever know,” she said.

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