by George J Elbaum
Fernando Rivera Intermediate School (Fernando) is a public middle school (grades 6-8) in Daly City. Its total student body is almost 500 with high diversity: 39% Filipino, 29% Asian, 15% Hispanic, and 17% all other. Fernando received a 2013 California Distinguished School Award as its academic test scores were approximately 25% higher than California averages.
My presentation at Fernando was to 200 8th graders whose preparation included reading the play version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in their Reading & Language Arts course, and it was arranged directly by its teacher, Lindsay (Lu) Bazela, whom I met when she was the facilitator at my presentations at the JFCS Day of Learning on March 8, 2015. On my webpost for that JFCS event I wrote the following: “My presentations were to 2 student workshop sessions entitled ‘Who Lived in the Ghettos? A Study of the Socio-Economic Spectrum,’ which were organized and led by Lu Bazela, a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher of Social Science at the Fernando Rivera Intermediate School in Daly City.”
In preparing this text I sought information on Fernado from its website, but there were no specifics (the information in the first paragraph above is from other sources) except for its memorable motto: “Be Kind, Be Responsible, Always be the Best you can be, That’s the Fernando Attitude, And the Choice is yours!” I therefore asked Ms. Bazela for some “good words” that reflect the flavor of the school and the high spirit of the students that was clearly evident during my talk. Her reply follows.
“We very much live by our motto at out school… every day! “Be Kind, Be Responsible, and Always be the Best you can be. The Choice is yours!” It’s stated every morning at announcements and it starts our day off right. Our students look out for one another and spirit is a big part of our school. There is a special spirit trip for kids who’ve hit enough spirit points. Goofiness is encouraged and treating others well is encouraged. Kids who do not know me talk to me every day and encourage me to have a great day. It’s remarkable, all the positivity. Kids are encouraged to think positively, to be good to the community, and to have faith in their own power, to have a good day. Staff and administration are strong and positive as well.”
Indeed, enthusiastic teachers result in enthusiastic students!