Class of 2009 Graduation

buzz_home.JPG Speech from 2009 Graduation

chamberlain.bmpTraditionally, Newark’s valedictorian is asked to choose one teacher to honor for their outstanding influence on his or her experiences at Newark High School. However, I have had so many great teachers during my time here that fulfilling this tradition has been increasingly difficult. I was amazed to see that if I took an interest in the material in any class, the teacher was excited and ready to engage me. But, as much as they deserve it, I cannot honor every teacher that I have had in my high school career during this short amount of time. Instead I have selected the three teachers that I feel have most impacted me and my experiences at Newark High School and as a way of giving back I would like to present each them with an award that epitomizes the effect they have had on me.

The first teacher I would like to honor is a true master of his craft and is someone whose class I often looked forward to. I have been a student of Mr. Whitehead for the past three years in his series of Computer Aided Drafting classes. What inspires me about Mr. Whitehead is his method of taking class assignments and transforming them into real world problems. Whether we were designing a drainage field or simply storing files, Mr. Whitehead always had a practical example up his sleeve. Each project we did was much more than a simple drawing; it had to be plausible and had real world implications. The purpose of drafting isn’t simply to draw, but to convey information. Through his examples, he taught me to think past the pencil and paper or computer and mouse and think “How would someone really go about creating what I am drawing.” In addition, this message of engaged analysis carried far past the walls of his class. It taught me critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques for any situation. Perhaps most importantly, he taught me to take my knowledge from the class room and use it to create solutions, instead of having it rest lazily in my mind. For his commitment to applied knowledge and real world understanding, I would like to present Mr. Whitehead with the “Make it Real Award.” Thank you so much for teaching me the necessary skills to problem solve and attain success as I pursue engineering at the collegiate level.

The next teacher I would like to honor taught the hardest class that I took during my freshman year. I think I spent more hours doing work in and for Mr. Lohman’s English class than in all my other freshman classes combined. However, during these hours of work, Mr. Lohman taught me the basics of communication. Now that sounds simple enough, but when you really think about it, communicating ideas is one of the hardest and most important things that people do throughout their lives. Without it, ideas remain unused and unexplored. I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Lohman a second time my junior year for AP English Language and Composition. Mr. Lohman started right where he had ended two years earlier. He instructed us on the fundamentals of expressing different ideas through several rhetorical modes such as argument, description and definition. But, what Mr. Lohman really did was far more valuable than any essay I wrote. Mr. Lohman taught me how to convey any idea I had through any method. Whether I needed to defend an opinion, describe a location, or define a complex idea, Mr. Lohman gave me the tools to do it clearly. For all he has taught me, I would like to present Mr. Lohman with the “Communication is Everything Award.”

The final teacher I would like to honor did something that I had once thought was impossible. He made history interesting. I have been fortunate enough to have Mr. Freccia for three classes, including an independent study. The thing that’s great about Mr. Freccia is that he has an outstanding passion for the subject he teaches. Not too many teachers jump up onto a desk and scream facts to the class during a lecture. As ethusiastic as Mr. Freccia seemed during normal classes, I really didn’t get to see his true insight and knowledge until I took AP European History with him as an independent study. During these classes I got to have one-on-one conversations with Mr. Freccia about trends, politics, historic battles, and anything else that I found interesting. During these often hour-long conversations Mr. Freccia showed me how to process information and link events together. On countless occasions I left his classes analyzing how several different events triggered one another and led to an explosion of social, political, and religious reform. For all he has taught me, I would like to present Mr. Freccia with the “Learn from the Past Award” because he has truly given me a better understanding of the world I live in.

Once again, I would to thank all of my teachers for their passion for their subjects, their patience with my questions, and their pursuit knowledge and understanding. I would especially like to thank Mr. Whitehead, Mr. Lohman, and Mr. Freccia. You have all greatly impacted my life and acted as the corner stone to a great high school education and experience.

Jon Chamberlain
Valedictorian, Class of 2009