Students Praise Above-and-Beyond Teachers Three students at Curie High School in Chicago share stories of the teachers who mentor them after school. Kirsten Sanders profiles her bowling teacher, Madeline Ramirez. Charles Garcia interviews his TV teacher Noel Occomy, and Phillip Baggett introduces his gospel choir director, Rev. Daniel Garrett.
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Students Praise Above-and-Beyond Teachers

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Students Praise Above-and-Beyond Teachers

Students Praise Above-and-Beyond Teachers

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block.

This week while schools are on winter break, we're taking a little time to get to know some students and teachers. Today, three students from Curie High School in Chicago would like to introduce us to some of the teachers in their after school programs.

Here's Philip Baggett, Charles Garcia and Kirsten Sanders with her bowling teacher, Madeline Ramirez.


KIRSTEN SANDERS: After school, I go bowling.


MADELINE RAMIREZ: You missed your mark completely and you went across.

SANDERS: Talking to Ms. Ramirez, when she's in school, she may not seem that fun. She really doesn't look like that, like that kind of person like okay, I want to stay away from her because she looks like she's going to suspend or me something. But in bowling, she really shows what she really is, like she's real fun and she makes sure we understand what she's talking about. I mean she gets in our face.

RAMIREZ: You need to slow down. Right?

SANDERS: For me, I must keep my body slightly turned to the right and once I go up there, I must keep arm my straight when once I let go of the ball, and they have like these different kind of arrows on the floor and I had to have it right on the second arrow once I let it go. And once it does that, it goes right into the pins, goes straight.


SANDERS: I can't do this.

RAMIREZ: No, you can do this.

SANDERS: I don't mind doing this again.

RAMIREZ: You want to put a rubber band so they can change lanes.

SANDERS: (Unintelligible)

RAMIREZ: There you go.

SANDERS: When I'm in school, if I'm not around my friends, I'm more quiet or I keep to myself. But when I'm bowling, I feel like I can act anyway I want to. I could like nonchalant or just go crazy all I want to. In bowling, they always have to tell me to be quiet no matter what I'm doing. I just feel like I'm letting out my energy just throwing the ball down the alley.

That's where I go after school.


CHARLES GARCIA: After school, I go to the TV studio.

NOEL OCCOMY: Okay, quiet on set, please, quiet on the set.

GARCIA: Everybody has to do an introduction.

OCCOMY: Okay, introduction. My name is Noel Occomy. I am a instructor/producer at Curie High School's TV department.

GARCIA: There's a few of us who really like the class who hang around after school. We're kind of like a family. We call each other the TV studio family. That's how close we are together.

OCCOMY: Are you done editing it?

Unidentified Woman: (Unintelligible)

GARCIA: Mr. Occomy doesn't really teach you that much. He just tells you what to read, what to learn. The rest is up to you. He has been a producer before for different news stations and he has worked under different people. So he's always telling me what things I should and should not do when I get into the business, what my attitude has to be, the things I need to know. Or he will say -

OCCOMY: In this business, you either have the eye or you don't.

GARCIA: If you want to make it into this business, you have to have all these different skills, and you need to be good at camera working. You need to be a good editor. You have to be a good writer and director.

OCCOMY: Cut this right there. Okay, rewind that. Okay, zoom in on that right there.

GARCIA: You can say things to him and he will not take right - on the wrong way. We're, you know, always playing around. We throw papers at each other, you know, sometimes, we swear at each other or something. I'll go and just punch him in the stomach just for kicks.

OCCOMY: Are you done editing it?

GARCIA: Last week, I just - I got a parking ticket for parking here at the school and I had to pay for that. And Mr. Occomy gave me $50 to pay for the ticket.

And I thought that was really nice of him. And, of course, I paid him back. When you're in the TV studio, it's all friends and the teachers are my friends and they will help me with everything. They're not just there to get paid. They actually appear that they really care in what you're doing and they really want to make sure you have a good future.

OCCOMY: How's that look? Play it again.

GARCIA: That's what I do after school.

PHILIP BAGGETT: After school, I go to gospel choir.


BAGGETT: What we have now is about a good, maybe six or seven songs, and we're just really just going over and over to get them down pat.

DANIEL GARRETT: Can I get the (unintelligible). Great. Great. Great. Great.

BAGGETT: Reverend Garrett is - he just drills it into us, you know.


BAGGETT: And you know, it's - it could be encouraging and it can't be aggravating, too. But it's, you know that the main purpose is for you to do the best that you can.

GARRETT: I can hear you like a trumpet. (Unintelligible) it's just like - from the the top of the house. One, two, three -

BAGGETT: We may be singing a song and the choir is not moving. He'll just move, move, you know, he'll just come right in your face. And you just want to go, you know, and just do it.


GARRETT: One, two and three, go.


BAGGETT: Reverend Garrett is more of a spiritual adviser, as well. So when there are things that we're having problems with or a trouble in school, you know, he's a little closer to our age so he's more understanding of what we're going through and he's just that person, that go to guy, that we can talk to or call on the phone whenever we need.


BAGGETT: That's where I go after school.


BLOCK: That's Philip Baggett and the rest of the voices of I Am Gospel Choir under the direction of Reverend Daniel Garrett. We also heard from Charles Garcia and his TV teacher, Noel Occomy, and Kirsten Sanders with her bowling teacher, Madeline Ramirez. They're students at Curie High School in Chicago and produced these stories as part of Curie Youth Radio.

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