Fourth Grade Teacher
According to fourth grade teacher Mr. Abucejo, his greatest joy as a teacher is “that realization on a child’s face when a concept ‘clicks’.” St. Hilary School, he believes, is the perfect place in which to foster spiritual, intellectual and social growth. “Moreover, it’s a welcoming school and parish community to be proud of,” he states.
Over the years, Mr. Abucejo has gathered a collection of funny voices, sound effects, and mannerisms which he springs upon his students without a moment's notice, in order to keep them engaged and motivated with the lessons at hand. Prior to becoming a teacher, he was a full time graphic and web designer -- skills he still utilizes in his classroom. Mr. Abucejo is incredibly thrilled at the prospect of teaching at the same high quality school that his children Giovanna, Isabella, and Joshua attend.
Mr. Abucejo, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been teaching for nearly eight years. He graduated from the University of Akron with Summa Cum Laude honors, with a unique combination licensure of Middle School (grades 4-9) Mathematics and Language Arts. He and his family have been parishioners since 2001. In his free time, Mr. Abucejo enjoys singing harmony (he has a low bass voice), beat-boxing (vocal percussion), watching genre shows like Doctor Who, drawing, and playing video games.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Interaction with her students and the anticipation of “something new every day” are what make teaching exciting for fourth grade teacher Mrs. Cooper. A member of the St. Hilary faculty since 2004, she previously taught first and third grades elsewhere. In addition to teaching fourth grade homeroom subjects, Mrs. Cooper teaches all of the fourth grade social studies.
Social studies is a favorite subject for Mrs. Cooper. She loves how history tells a story. She teaches her students how to write good notes and integrates hands-on activities into her social studies lessons to make them come alive.
Reading is another subject that Mrs. Cooper enjoys. Her love of books frequently leads her to visit the children’s sections of local bookstores. She incorporates fun activities into her reading lessons, and loves reading to the class and having parties that coordinate with the themes of the books students are reading. Even students for whom reading is not a favorite activity can’t help but find themselves enjoying Mrs. Cooper’s reading classes. She is constantly adding new novels to her reading program to reach all areas of interest for her students.
Fourth graders study Ohio history and regions, and Mrs. Cooper integrates hands-on activities into her social studies lessons to make them come alive. One activity students enjoy is transforming such simple things as paper towel rolls, rice and beans into “rain sticks” when learning about Native Americans.
Of special significance to Mrs. Cooper is the opportunity to attend Mass weekly with her students. She also enjoys teaching religion, and is impressed by the quietness and attentiveness of her students when she teaches this subject. Mrs. Cooper feels that St. Hilary School is set apart from other schools. The students have the opportunity to attend special classes such as art, enrichment, music, foreign language, computer, library, and more on a weekly basis. She also says the camaraderie of year-end events, as well as special programs such as the school talent show and spring musical, make the St. Hilary experience special. “Students here have many opportunities that may not be available at other schools,” she says.
Her most memorable moment as a St. Hilary teacher has been attending the school’s annual eighth grade graduation ceremony. She describes it as a “wow!” event, and looks forward to following each year’s fourth graders through to the completion of their St. Hilary education. "It amazes me each year when I see my former fourth graders graduate from St. Hilary. I can't believe how much they have grown! I know, though, that they are ready for whatever the future may hold." She also adds, "It brings a huge smile to my face when they return to St. Hilary for a visit years after they've graduated. This is what makes teaching for me!"
A graduate of Kent State University, Mrs. Cooper holds an associate’s degree in applied business, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in the art of teaching (elementary education, grades 1-8). In her spare time, Mrs. Cooper enjoys running and reading.
Fourth Grade Teacher
As a fourth grade teacher at St. Hilary School since 2000, Mrs. Kovarik has enjoyed working with her students because they are eager to learn and to try new things. The excitement her students have for learning is just one reason she says, “Teaching keeps you young!” In addition to teaching fourth grade homeroom subjects, Mrs. Kovarik teaches science.
A self-described “high-energy person”, Mrs. Kovarik characterizes her classroom as high-energy, as well. One of the highlights of the fourth grade year is Doc Week in health, when Mrs. Kovarik invites parents and friends to come in and share their expertise in the medical field. "The students love having their parents and friends come to school, and the professionals really enjoy talking to the students about their jobs," she says. The many special class offerings at St. Hilary provide diversity that enhances the students’ educational experience, Mrs. Kovarik says. She adds that the involvement of parents also affords St. Hilary a great advantage over other schools.
Mrs. Kovarik most enjoys teaching science and religion, and spent many years as a religious educator and youth minister prior to teaching full time. A graduate of Baldwin Wallace College and John Carroll University, Mrs. Kovarik holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master of arts degree in theology. Mrs. Kovarik enjoys musicals and playing flute.
Fourth Grade Teaching Assistant
Mrs. Hamlin has worked as a teaching assistant at St. Hilary School since 2004, and says she loves her work. The first years of school are exciting, she says, because children at that level are learning to read. “It’s like a light goes on, and a new world is opened for them,” says Mrs. Hamlin.
Working at St. Hilary is special to her because of the family atmosphere, Mrs. Hamlin says. She comments that parents are very involved, and students are generally well prepared for school. Catholic teachings play a role in making St. Hilary stand apart from other schools, she says. “All kids make mistakes, and it’s nice to be able to deal with that in a Christian way,” says Mrs. Hamlin. She feels the presence of religion in the school helps students develop the moral foundation they need for life.
Mrs. Hamlin says she tries to focus on celebrating the accomplishments of her students. By keeping things positive, she feels she can help them be excited about school. Mrs. Hamlin enjoys the innocence of the students she works with, and says they provide a true boost to the spirits. She delights in the genuine hugs and love her students so freely give. “They are just wonderful,” says Mrs. Hamlin of her students.
Mrs. Hamlin and her husband are the parents of two children, both of whom attended St. Hilary School and now attend a Catholic high school. She enjoys family time, knitting and cooking. A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Hamlin holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration.