Amy Lamparelli

Amy with some of her 1rst grade students

Service Site: Holy Cross School in Kansas City, MO

College: The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY

What do you do?
I teach 18 wonderful first graders, after school tutoring, and coach 5th&6th grade girls volleyball.

Why did you choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer?  Have your hopes about the Program been realized?
I choose to become a Lasallian Volunteer because I love to teach. More importantly, I love to teach in urban schools. I was born and raised in Upstate New York, and my mother worked at The College of Saint Rose. I had experienced as much of Upstate New York as I could. I was ready to travel and see the country. Volunteerism played a large role in my life throughout High School and my time spent at Saint Rose. The Lasallian Volunteer program has exceeded my expectations. I am living and serving in a completely different part of the country, and I am a full-time teacher. This program has provided me with my dream, to be a teacher. Being in this program, the core values Faith, Service, Community have allowed me to grow. I have grown as a teacher through service, I have grown spiritually through faith, and I’ve learned to live with others through community.

Amy celebrating 100 days of school with a student

Have you noticed any signs of success in your work?  What are they?
I’ve found that regardless of how frustrating the day is I can always find some positive outlook on the day. I would say that I have a mini success everyday. Mini successes can range from: having my class simply raise their hands instead of calling out, following directions, or getting through a lesson without someone (either me or a student), cracking up laughing at ourselves or someone else.

I have one student who is a true success story.  Sally (*Names have been changed) is faced with many challenges. At six months she was diagnosed with Epilepsy and suffered a few severe seizures when she was a toddler. Last school year Sally was diagnosed with a significant cognitive disability. She has an IQ of 51. Most teachers would just write her off and have her sit in the class and either do nothing or have other students do the work for her. When I met Sally she wouldn’t speak to me or make any eye contact. She didn’t know the alphabet, numbers, or how to write her name. I had met with her mom after the first day and asked her what she would like to see for Sally. Sally’s mom told me that her goal for the school year was to have Sally write her name, learn the alphabet with sounds, numbers, and speak up for herself. So Mom’s goals became my goals. I started trying to find time during the day to pull Sally aside to work with her one to one and to work towards our goals. I found that slowly but surely Sally was learning how to write her name, and was gaining letter recognition.

October rolled around and I started to notice that Sally had hit a little road bump. She wasn’t making as much progress as I thought she would. I suggested to her mom that twice a week Sally should stay after school for 45 minutes of extra one-on-one tutoring. I met with Sally after school every Tuesday and Thursday and she was progressing really slow, that is until the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

I was having a hard time at my site with some of the things that were happening at the school and that Thursday was especially challenging. I pushed through the day and wasn’t really looking forward to tutoring after school. Then that day, for the first time Sally READ A BOOK!! Now, I had this awesome alphabet book that showed each letter on a page, with a mouse doing something, for example “Mouse Airbrushes the A” For the past few sessions I would point to the mouse. Sally would read “mouse,” then I’d read the rest and she would finish by saying “A” at the end. But that day, she just started reading the whole book! It was AWESOME! I was so proud of her and couldn’t wait to tell every other teacher in the school. What topped that day off even more, was watching Sally read the book to her mom and mom tearing up! That moment will be forever be in my top five teaching moments.

Now, at the end of January, Sally is making great gains. She can spell her first name and she can almost spell her last. She can correctly identify the alphabet, and knows 23 of the 26 sounds. We are working on identifying the first 25 sight words and Sally is also adding single digit numbers. She is an amazing student and I am excited to see her make huge leaps and bounds through another semester.

Amy with one of her students

 Which of the core values (Faith, Community, Service) are most important to you?  Why?
Service. I was sent to Kansas City, to Holy Cross, to serve the students and community. I spend the most time within my service site working with the students. Faith and Community also help me to continue to grow in my service. When I am frustrated or have had a rough day within my service I find that turning to my faith and my other community members help support me to keep growing and serving the students.

Which of the core values (Faith, Community, Service) are most important to you?  Why?
Service. I was sent to Kansas City, to Holy Cross, to serve the students and community. I spend the most time within my service site working with the students. Faith and Community also help me to continue to grow in my service. When I am frustrated or have had a rough day within my service I find that turning to my faith and my other community members help support me to keep growing and serving the students.

What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?
I would tell my friends that yes, it seems crazy, but it is a wonderful and unique experience. Living with the Brothers provides great support for teachers. Both Brothers whom I live with are seasoned teachers. They provide a great outside perspective of teaching and always have a tip when dealing with a difficult situation. I wouldn’t want to re-do my first year of teaching in any way.

This entry was posted in lv of the month. Bookmark the permalink.

One comment on “Amy Lamparelli

  1. Ana De Leon on said:

    You know…from the moment you decided to climb the rock wall (while blindfolded) at orientation, I caught a glimpse of how far your determination would take you. Thanks for sharing your story and keep up the good work, Amy!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HTML tags are not allowed.