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Denebola » Marissa Leavitt http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Faculty Focus: Alyssa Cifuni http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/faculty-focus-alyssa-cifuni/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/faculty-focus-alyssa-cifuni/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:31:01 +0000 Marissa Leavitt http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2239 Many wonder how chemistry teacher Alyssa Cifuni does it all. Not only is she a mother of three boys under the age of five (she is expecting to have her fourth baby in May), but she also finds the time to teach three junior chemistry classes, one freshman physics class, and run a business with her husband.

Cifuni, a University of New Hampshire graduate, grew up in southern Maine as the oldest of four children. She met her husband in college, and this September will mark their ten-year anniversary.

As a student Cifuni participated in an array of different activities such as cheerleading, track, student council, and yearbook. “It is important to have balance, Cifuni says.

Cifuni explains that she “just fell into chemistry. Her chemistry teacher told her she should major in chemical engineering.

She decided to major in business chemistry and chose to stick with it because it worked well with her credits and there was large demand, leading to many available jobs.

Then she worked with an industrial chemical company and managed over $14,000,000 for three years.
Eventually Cifuni decided to get involved in cheerleading again because she missed it from when she was younger. She worked at Newton North High School as the head cheer coach for five years until 2004.
During her time at Newton North, the team was named State League Champion three times, in the fall of 2002 and both the fall and winter of 2003. In 2004, the team was also declared Fall Minuteman Challenge Grand Champion and Division One Champion.

The athletic director convinced her to teach and, surprisingly, she thoroughly enjoyed it. She left sales in 1994 and became a full time teacher, beginning her career at Newton North and ending up across town at Newton South.

Cheerleading still plays a large role in Cifuni’s life. She is a competitive cheerleading state judge for the National Cheerleaders Association, but she explains that it is not “pom-pom cheering.

Cifuni has been teaching at Newton South for nine years and loves it. She explains that her favorite part of teaching is her students.

“You have to work hard for everything you get. [For grades] and, everything else in life, she said.
Cifuni believes that teaching is just one chapter of her life. “Life is like a continuous cycle where you are always doing different things, she said.

Cifuni’s upbeat personality keeps students engaged during her classes. Her charismatic nature makes her students feel welcomed into her class and excites them to learn.

“Mrs. Cifuni always keeps the class interested by mixing humor with learning to make chemistry a less challenging subject, junior Stephanie Dworkin said.

It is quite clear that Cifuni will be greatly missed during her maternity leave, which is supposed to begin sometime in April, and her return will be greatly anticipated next September.

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The Polar Express http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/12/19/the-polar-express-by-chris-van-allsburg/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/12/19/the-polar-express-by-chris-van-allsburg/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2007 00:23:15 +0000 Marissa Leavitt http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=172 Author: Chris Van Allsburg

One of my favorite holiday children’s books is The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The book instills holiday cheer and wonderment of the North Pole.

One Christmas Eve, a boy who questions the legitimacy of Santa is woken up and astounded to find a steam engine full of children parked in front of his house. After the conductor welcomes him onto the train, the boy and the other children are taken to a ceremony at Santa’s Factory for the distribution of the first Christmas gift. The boy could not be more pleased that out of all of the children, Santa chooses him to receive a special Christmas bell, but unfortunately loses it due to a hole in his bathrobe pocket.

When the boy wakes up the next morning, he finds the bell in a box under his Christmas tree. The catch is that only he and his sister can hear it, because they still believe in the magic of Christmas. The illustrations throughout the book are very distinct amd have a hazy edge to help maintain the fantasy of the story. The Polar Express is an astounding Christmas picture book that allows children to rejoice in the festivity of the holiday.

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