Middle School students interview Fabio Marrone (Executive Chef) and Massimo Pappalardo (Maître de Salle).
By Amelia Panella '18
Every day at TASIS, we sit in our tidy classrooms, eat our freshly prepared meals, pick up clean clothes from the laundry...and the list goes on. But what many of us don't notice or appreciate are all the people who make this happen for us. We don't realize that without them, our school wouldn't run the way it does. A new Middle School Service Learning group called Staff Appreciation aims to change this by showing appreciation for, and raising awareness of, everything the staff does to make TASIS a wonderful place to learn and live.
Staff Appreciation is composed of eight students and led by Ms. Perri Sartorelli and Ms. Allison Harding. I spoke with Ms. Sartorelli about the group, and she told me how important it is for us to recognize the work the staff does and to learn not to take our life at school for granted. Not only does this new group offer a cheerful afternoon for the staff on occasion, it also provides a learning opportunity for the students involved, as they begin to respect and appreciate everyone around them. This group aims to show its appreciation, on behalf of the entire school, to the staff for all the hard work they do and to teach others to be aware of the hard work that goes into making our school run smoothly.
Allison Harding gets to know Rosa Picca (Food Services).
On November 14, the group organized an afternoon tea break for the staff in Casa Fleming, where Founder M. Crist Fleming—who in the early days of the School would take the entire staff on an annual holiday trip—once lived. The staff members took a break from their long day as they gathered with the middle schoolers to enjoy freshly baked cookies and cakes and get to know each other on a more personal level. Ms. Sartorelli opened the gathering with a little speech to welcome everyone and discuss what the new Service Learning group is about. She explained that students would be interviewing each staff member to gather information for posters they'd be creating later.
Marco Casati (Maintenance) sits for an interview.
I walked around and listened to some of the conversations, and many of the middle schoolers told me how much they enjoy getting to know who the staff members are and what they do. Annie, a 6th-grade student, said she likes being a part of this service group because she gets to know people she doesn't see often and she feels closer to the School's community. As we don't see much of the staff very often, it was interesting to learn what their days at TASIS are like and what they do to run the School. We all got to see different perspectives of the School and bonded with each other throughout the hour. After a timid start, the students became more and more comfortable and were immersed in conversation, laughing and joking with everyone. I think each of us got to learn something new about our community—both the students and staff members.
Filippo Mascioni (Head of Laundry) shares some information about himself.
For many of us—especially boarders—TASIS is a second home, and it's the staff that makes it our home.
I found myself discovering so many interesting things about each of the staff members, such as the fact that Giorgio, who works in the dining hall, speaks four languages! And Massimo, who is the Maître de Salle of the dining hall, told me that his least favorite time of the year is vacation because he doesn't get to see us! I realized how fun it is to talk with them, and I saw how much they appreciated the students and liked spending time with us. Many of the students in this service group speak Italian, which is the mother tongue of most of the staff. Several staff members, however, made an effort to speak in English so that everyone could join the conversation. Some of the staff are even taking English lessons from De Nobili Dorm Parent Ms. Cori Shea, who attended the gathering.
I think this Service Learning group works really well to bring the TASIS community closer together. Most of us take our clean laundry and hot meals for granted and don't realize how much the staff does for us every day, mainly for the simple fact that we see many of them rarely and fleetingly and are focused on our academics throughout the day. For many of us—especially boarders—TASIS is a second home, and it's the staff that makes it our home. It's important to show your appreciation for someone, even if it starts with just a little tea and cookies.
Cori Shea, Irene Goncalves Oliveira (Domestic), and Perri Sartorelli enjoy some snacks in Casa Fleming.