This week marks the launch of Suffern High School’s We Are Suffern, a month-long showcase of the multitude of cultures that make up our student population. On January 11 and 25th, students will come together at lunch to experience activities, music, food and games from various cultures around the world. Created to promote understanding and acceptance for all students, it has been a well-received event at the High School over the past few years. Helping to coordinate this event is this week’s #MountieSuperstar and World Language Department Chairperson, Melissa Luciano.
Suffern High School Principal Patrick Breen praises Melissa for always being highly engaged in promoting the success of her students and department. She has spent many years developing rigorous standards for 21st-century communication and developing collaboration in Languages Other Than English (LOTE).
It is important for Melissa and all World Language teachers to focus not only on the language itself but the culture as well. The classrooms are filled with mostly interactive learning experiences and students are speaking the language 90% of the time. Her goal is for all students to graduate with a deeper knowledge of their language so they can verbally communicate with the world around them.
In addition to her role as teacher and Department Chair, Melissa is the Varsity Softball coach, organizer of the Elementary Language Carnival taking place in February, and one of the advisors for the Heroes & Cool Kids mentoring program. She loves working with and inspiring the students, and credits her experiences in high school and college for wanting to become a teacher and coach.
“I have a phenomenal relationship with my athletes and students, and it’s a family here”, adds Melissa. “It’s extremely rewarding to make an impact on someone’s life, and so I try and make a difference with as many kids as possible. Doing what I love, surrounded by so many other amazing teachers and coaches, has made my 11 years here a blessing.”