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‘Special bond’ with Havre de Grace High School staff help guide graduate Julianna Eder toward career in education

Julianna Eder, of Havre de Grace, is a member of the Havre de Grace High School graduating Class of 2021
Julianna Eder, of Havre de Grace, is a member of the Havre de Grace High School graduating Class of 2021 (Malgorzata Baker Photography / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Havre de Grace High School’s Julianna Eder comes from a family of educators, has been positively influenced by administrators, teachers and staff at her school, and starting this fall, will embark on her journey toward becoming an educator herself.

“I just love kids a lot,” she said. “I feel like it’s going to be a very rewarding job in the end.”

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Eder, 17, plans to study elementary education at Salisbury University on the Eastern Shore, then become an elementary school teacher, potentially with Harford County Public Schools.

“I would love to come back [and] make a difference in the school system,” the Havre de Grace resident said.

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Eder is a member of the Havre de Grace High School’s graduating Class of 2021, the first to complete their senior year in the new Havre de Grace Middle/High School, although students have spent just a few months in the building.

The $80 million facility, which replaced the aging middle and high schools in the city, opened at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Students could not take classes there until mid-March, though, because they and many other HCPS students spent most of the year learning virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was awesome; it was breathtaking when you first walk in,” she said of the new building.

Eder praised teachers and staff for checking in with her and her classmates while learning virtually, such as guidance counselor Jessica Maley, whom Eder said reached out to her each week.

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“All the teachers at Havre de Grace have made a difference in the life of Julianna, but there are a few that have played a special in role in helping her become who she is,” Eder’s mother, Jen, said.

They include Maley, Spanish teacher Amadelis Mattei, band director Richard Hauf and assistant principal Brad Spence. Eder said she admires Spence’s “positive energy and his enthusiasm for Havre de Grace High School.”

Eder wrote an essay for English class about how faculty and staff can make students “feel valued” while learning virtually, such as “just reaching out every once in a while, letting the students know that the staff is there for them during this time.”

She played clarinet in the marching band, played field hockey and lacrosse, was involved in school clubs such as Best Buddies, the Student Government Association and the Key Club, and she is a National Honor Society member.

Eder also gained teaching experience through volunteering as a Sunday school teacher at her family’s church.

She thinks family and friends would describe her as “being friendly, personable, outgoing and advocating for what I believe in, and making my voice heard.”

She has enjoyed being part of Havre de Grace athletics and the band over four years, as well as going to school sporting events with friends and participating in theme nights at the games.

“I enjoyed the special bond with teachers, administrators and coaches,” Eder said. “They have helped guide me in the right direction.”

Jen Eder praised her daughter for being “a trooper,” persevering through the pandemic and shift from virtual to in-person learning, while earning straight As and completing three courses at Harford Community College at the same time, earning eight credits toward her degree at Salisbury.

“She is a great student, wonderful friend and a mentor to others, and also an awesome daughter,” Jen Eder said.

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