UHS celebrates staff members during Staff Appreciation Week

From April 21 to April 25, Staff Appreciation Week featured four lunchfests from Monday through Thursday along with various other activities throughout the week. ASB Staff Liaisons Chloe Sutton (Sr.) and Anna McCaffrey (Sr.) planned these events.
Sutton said, “We planned a lot for the staff. We raffled away lots of gift cards to local shops and restaurants, delivered ‘one of a Kind’ (Kind is a healthy granola brand) to the teachers and delivered appreciation cards from students to all of the teachers. Anna and I also hosted a free staff breakfast on Monday and an ice cream social on Friday for the teachers in the staff lounge we decorated.”
“Out of my four years on ASB, my favorite event to plan was definitely the Staff Ice Cream Social,” said McCaffrey. “It’s like a Cold Stone creamery in the teachers’ lounge!”
On Monday, the “Amazing Race Lunchfest” featured Mr. Bryan Kinney (Math Dept.), Mr. Eric Shulman (Math Dept.), Mr. James Garcia (English Dept.), Ms. Heather Garcia (English Dept.) and Ms. Nicole Bradshaw (Math Dept.) competing in “student activities.” The first activity was word memorization in which the teachers were shown a poster with various words written on it and had to later recall as many words as possible on a sheet of paper. The second competition was texting under the desk; teachers had to send a text message with the proper punctuation and spelling as shown in the example text. The third and last competition was sneaking food; Sutton turned her back while teachers ran to a tub of Cuties Clementines in the middle of the circle, grabbed some and sitting back down in their desks before Sutton turned back around. Bradshaw won the overall competition by winning word memorization with 7 recalled words, placing second behind Ms. Garcia in texting and winning the third competition by being the last remaining staff member.
“The Amazing Race Lunchfest on Monday was definitely one of my favorites,” said Sutton. “It was so funny to see teachers try to discreetly text underneath a desk. It was even funnier seeing them get competitive!”
Heidi Chen (So.) said, “It was hilarious to watch teachers struggle to rote memorize random lists and surprising to see them text since students only ever see them in in-class life.”

On Tuesday, the Eco Club hosted an Earth Day lunchfest which included a “Green Trivia” match between teachers and students. On Wednesday, the Junior State of America (JSA) club held a “Fight Apathy” lunchfest, which included a game of musical chairs with various staff members.
Sutton said, “Staff week was great this year because we were really able to play off the theme! We really connected with the clubs on campus (Eco Club and JSA) by having them host lunchfests.”

The Staff vs. Students Dodgeball match and Tommy Awards were held on Thursday in the Big Gym. The Staff team of Mr. Beau Budde (Social Science Dept.), Mr. Jon Pendleton (Social Science Dept.), Mr. Dominic Fratantaro (Staff), Mr. Peter Alix (English Dept.), Ms. Katie Levensailor (Science Dept.) and Mr. John Pehrson (Admin.) won the first round. The Student team of Brad Huber (Sr.), Brandon Tabor (Sr.), Jonny Kaiser (Sr.), Chase Augustus (Sr.), Kiana Schrieber (Sr.) and Scott Hudash (Sr.) won the second round. The Student team won the third and final round, winning the entire match.
“The game was really fun and competitive. I’m glad I got Mr. Budde out to win the game,” said Huber.
Mr. Pehrson said, “The dodgeball game was a kick. I think the kids deserved the win – they definitely were into it.”
Schrieber said, “It was super fun playing in the Staff vs. Student dodgeball game. The teachers definitely brought their game and had a lot more fire than I had expected. It was fun trying to hit someone who is in charge of your grades as hard as you can with a dodgeball.”
The annual Tommy Awards honors teachers who win the most student votes in different categories. This year’s winners were Mr. Jason Hwang (English Dept.) for Best Storyteller, Mr. Michael Granger (English Dept.) for Best Sense of Humor, Ms. Katie Addiss (English Dept.) for Best Fashion Sense, Mr. Martin Chinn (English Dept.) for Most Inspirational, Ms. Shannon Bunch (Science Dept.) for Friendliest, Mr. Alix for Loudest, Ms. Judy Richonne (Social Science Dept.) for Sassiest and Mr. John Kessler (Social Science Dept.) for Most Intimidating.
“This year instead of trophies I created a certificate with a gold seal and Anna brought flowers for all of our award recipients,” said Sutton. “It was also great to see our teachers flattered and appreciative of the awards students voted them for.”
When asked how it felt to win Sassiest, Ms. Richonne said, “I can own it. To be acknowledged is a lovely thing – thanks! To be voted ‘sassiest’ just makes me smirk and giggle a wee bit.”
“I thought the entire Staff Appreciation Week was really neat cause it’s usually just us students playing games and having fun, but watching the teachers do it I thought was pretty cool. It was nice to dedicate a whole week to appreciating the staff,” said Nancy Wu (Fr.).
“It was great to be part of Staff Week and help physically show the teachers how much we appreciate them daily,” said Sutton.
“All in all, I thought the week was very special,” said Mr. Pehrson. “With teachers getting special notes and treats, the spirits were definitely up. It is always nice to have others recognize you for doing a great job. We all need to do that more often.”
McCaffrey said, “Some people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, but mine is Staff Appreciation Week!”
Staff Writer