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Manchester High School
Working as a summer camp counselor and after-school teacher is what made Sarah Mangiafico discover her passion: kids.
"I just get a really good feeling, and when I make them happy I feel happy, too," she said. "It's like I'm making all the difference in the world."
The Manchester High School valedictorian is headed to the University of Connecticut in the fall on a full scholarship to study elementary education and psychology.
Mangiafico spent her high school summers working as a day camp counselor at Buckley Elementary in Manchester, where she worked with children ages 5 to 12 in individual units. She supervised them as they took part in several activities, including swimming and outdoor sports. She looks forward to to returning for her third summer this year.
Mangiafico additionally worked as an after-school teacher at the Flash 45 program at Bowers Elementary School, where she tutored students in reading and math. She said she'd play math and reading games with them, as well as improve their literacy by simply talking with them and conducting conversations.
Aside from being a member of National Honors Society and the school's activities planning board, Mangiafico spent her last two years of high school serving in the Young Educators Society, where students would work with teachers to learn about different aspects of education.
"You learn more about what it's like to be a teacher from an actual teacher," she said.
On her own time, Mangiafico interned in a third grade classroom at Bowers Elementary School a few times a week, where she would assist the teacher with different activities and teach a few lessons. It was an experience that truly showed her the rewards of teaching.
"They all knew my name and I learned their names, and they'd get really happy when I walked into the room," she said. "It was a really great experience."
July 2, 2013