Tag Archives: role model


derek jeter

I have never been a Yankee fan.  I can’t be.  I root for The NY Mets no matter how awful they may be.  Yet, I can’t help but get caught up in all of the Derek Jeter commotion.  Even though I would never root for The Yankees, I will cheer on Derek.  Especially tonight.

He is the epitome of what a sports role model should be.  He is the type of player that I want my kids to root for.  He follows the rules on AND off the field. He’s friendly, engaging, appealing, attractive and one of the best hitters to play the game.  Plus, that smile…it only adds to his charm 🙂

As a captain he showed leadership. He is respected by his teammates, other players, coaches and fans.

The Washington Post quoted Washington Nationals, Tyler Clippard who said,

“I was his teammate for four months, when you’re around somebody like that, you’re going to pay attention. He’s a good, genuine guy. The best thing I can say about him is that you would never know he is Derek Jeter. He doesn’t ‘big league’ anybody, no matter what walk of life you’re from. . . . He’s not putting on a show.” 

That’s probably the best way to describe how I feel about him.  Genuine.  So as the world say good bye to him tonight, as he plays his last home game at Yankee Stadium, my family was watching.  We were talking about what he might do with his life after baseball.  The kids think he will coach or manage.  I think he should be some sort of motivational speaker.  People will surely listen.

A lot happens in 35 years!

great teacher

Thirty-five years ago I was entering fourth grade at Jefferson School.  My teacher was Miss Lampros and I was nervous about the new school year.  That wound up being one of the best years of school for me and it was then that I decided that I was going to be a teacher too.  She was my inspiration. 

I had tried various times to locate her to let her know what an influence she had been to me but didn’t have much success until June of this year.  I wrote about it after finally getting in touch with her.  We interacted via email for a few months this summer and finally planned a date to meet for lunch.  I wrote down the date.  Wednesday, August 19th.  The problem was, August 19th was a Tuesday – while we were still in Connecticut visiting colleges.  I had been so off schedule because of being off my foot, I lost track of the days and totally screwed up!  I got an extremely caring email from her later that day asking me if I was okay since I didn’t show up to lunch.  I was devastated.  I had just told to the boys about how excited I was for my lunch with her on Wednesday and how I couldn’t wait for it to happen.  Meanwhile, I had just unknowingly “ditched” her after all this time!

I apologized profusely and we agreed to meet again and we did.  Today.  As I drove to brunch, I was wondering what we’d talk about.  A lot had happened in the thirty-five years since I’d seen her!  Mainly, I grew up!  Apparently, she told me during our conversation, that she thought the same thing!  In all of our email conversations, I didn’t realize this, but I hadn’t ever told her my maiden name!  I couldn’t believe it.  She came to this brunch not even knowing exactly who she was coming to see.  Once she saw me and I told her I was Claire Gianni, it came back to her.  She remembered my sister and my mom and we reminisced about Jefferson School and other teachers that I had and students that she had taught. 

She is retired now and still living locally.  She travels all over the world and is an author of several books. We sat together for nearly an hour and a half and there was never a lull in the conversation.  As we left, we promised to keep in touch.  I am looking forward to that.  I learned so much about her today.  She has done so much more than “just teach.”  Ninety minutes isn’t nearly enough time to cover so many years of life. 

Sending Love

prayers for zach

Yesterday, while I was sitting with my dad at Kessler Institute, I received an email from the parent of a former student.  I have taught two of her children.  As teachers, I know we aren’t supposed to pick favorites, but this child and his family have touched my life in so many ways.  This particular student is the same age as Drew and they are friends.  They have been in classes together and on sport teams together.  I have spent many long evenings on the sidelines with his parents.  I share a birthday with one of their boys.

This email made me gasp out loud and brought me to tears more than once today.  His mother, who is a doctor, wrote,

“he is in PICU at Morristown Memorial Hospital on a ventilator.  It has been a hellish few days watching his body decompensate in every way.   The doctors, based on the blood cultures,  now believe that he probably has an infection in his knee bone that led to bacteria seeping into his blood, leading to septic shock and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).

I contacted her last night through a message and asked what I could to do help.  It is so hard to know we are unable to do anything.  She told me that it came on so suddenly.  He was out playing baseball and doing school work and a few hours later was in this condition.  I haven’t been able to get him and his family off my mind.  His mom told me that it was fine to share his story and he needs all of the positive thoughts and prayers that we can give so I am writing about it tonight.

This afternoon, I got this update,

Hello everyone.  Last night he spiked a fever again.  This morning they took him to MRI and he saw the pediatric orthopedist.  They found an infection half way up his femur bone.  He is being taken straight to surgery to open up the knee and clean out the infection.  After the surgery they are going to try to put on a wound vacuum to pull out the infection but, his platelet count is very low which puts him at risk for bleeding, so they may not be able to use the vacuum.

The orthopedist said they will need to take him back to the operating room every few days to flush the infection.  She predicts damage to his growth plate which, of course, is devastating to hear as he is such a sports fanatic.  I guess that is very secondary right now.

This boy is a role model.  A talented athlete and musician. He is every teachers dream student.  I was lucky enough to teach two of the children in this family and I hope that they are aware of all of the love that is being poured out to their family right now.