El­e­men­tary school teacher re­con­nects with stu­dents on eve of grad­u­a­tion

Maryland Independent - - COMMUNITY -

Grad­u­at­ing high school is a mile­stone, a time to look for­ward and a time to re­flect. For some North Point High School grad­u­ates, they got to gaze back on their fourth­grade year thanks to Joe Cos­cia, a Pic­cow­axen Mid­dle School math teacher. He saved class­room pic­tures of his stu­dents with as­sign­ments they com­pleted. At North Point’s re­cent awards night, Cos­cia pre­sented his for­mer stu­dents with their fourth­grade work, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

His first full year of teach­ing in the county was at Wil­liam A. Diggs El­e­men­tary School in the 2008-09 school year. “I had such a great con­nec­tion with this group of stu­dents, I started sav­ing some old work and pic­tures from that year,” Cos­cia said. “I reg­u­larly keep stu­dent work, but I had a plan for this group of stu­dents for eight years now. I wrote them each a lit­tle let­ter that I en­closed with the work as well.”

The kids ap­pre­ci­ated it. “It was re­ally emo­tional for us,” Cos­cia’s for­mer stu­dent, Jen­nifer Longhi, said in the re­lease. “He has been my fa­vorite teacher since fourth grade. Ev­ery­thing was un­der­stand­able, re­lat­able. He made ev­ery­thing fun.” Longhi has re­mained friends with her Diggs’ class­mates Temi­tope Wil­liams, Samantha Jones and Cal­lie Magin­nis, who Cos­cia also vis­ited dur­ing awards night with their as­sign­ments.

Cos­cia got the idea to re­con­nect with grad­u­at­ing stu­dents from a for­mer co­worker, Hank Sinkey. Sinkey would write his for­mer el­e­men­tary stu­dents let­ters when they grad­u­ated high school. Cos­cia said his first group of stu­dents he taught as a rookie teacher left an im­pres­sion on him.

“We had a ton of fun in fourth grade that year,” he said. “See­ing them just made me smile. They were the same ex­act kids, just dou­bled in height. We talked and I got to learn their fu­ture plans. It was re­ally cool.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Pic­cow­axen Mid­dle School math teacher Joe Cos­cia, third from left, is pic­tured with North Point High School grad­u­ates Temi­tope Wil­liams, Jen­nifer Longhi, Samantha Jones and Cal­lie Magin­nis. Cos­cia was their fourth­grade math teacher when they were stu­dents at Wil­liam A. Diggs El­e­men­tary School.

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