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Melanie Oviatt – Manila Elementary

Dear KSL Teacher Feature Panel of Judges:
I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to write this letter of recommendation for Mrs. Melanie Oviatt. She is a “one-in-a-million” teacher who has been a glowing light within the walls of Manila Elementary School.

Our school has many good teachers who work very hard to make Manila a positive place to be, but Mrs. Oviatt in particular has a specific ability to take it to an even higher level. She is an energetic, exuberant woman whose very presence seems to bring out the best in those around her—especially her students.

My daughter, Ashlyn, has blossomed in Mrs. Oviatt’s classroom this year, receiving A’s in every term. You can imagine how delighted her parents were at seeing this! Ashlyn has also grown in leaps and bounds in terms of confidence and leadership. My daughter is so confident, in fact, she took the initiative to apply to be a member of Manila’s student council for the 2009-2010 school year.

Along with my daughter’s increase in confidence, she has also displayed substantial growth in personal responsibility. I cannot recall one time during this school year that I needed to remind Ashlyn to do her homework…and that’s not exactly the norm at our home. I credit this wonderful phenomenon to the positive and self-empowering influence of Mrs. Oviatt.

I believe a child cannot be in Mrs. Oviatt’s presence, without feeling special in one form or another. She has a natural ability to tap into her students in a very personal way, helping each build upon their own unique talents and abilities.

Mrs. Oviatt is an educational gardener who plants a seed of learning, nourishing it throughout the year with exciting activities and fascinating approaches, until it bursts through the clouds—bringing the seed higher than it could have ever imagined.

She believes in our children, which makes them believe in themselves.

This is why I, as well as many of the parents from Manila Elementary would like to honor Mrs. Oviatt. She humbly dedicates all she can to the growth of her students, and it would be a grateful gift from all those whose lives she has touched to recognize her unfailing commitment to those she serves.

Sincerely,

Julie Thornton

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Mrs.Oviatt is awesome! She believes that her kids are the best and can do ANYTHING! Because she believes in them, they believe in themselves. Fifth grade this year meant being part of a fifth grade family. Everyone belonged and everyone was safe. Mrs. Oviatt’s classroom was a safe place to try new things, make mistakes and most of all succeed. We are so grateful that our daughter was in her classroom.

–Karen Decker

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It is with a great deal of pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Mrs. Melanie Oviatt. Understanding that letter writing is not my forte, I hope that I can adequately express my admiration, veneration, and respect for Mrs. Oviatt. Honestly, I don’t know if words exist in the English language that are adequate or emphatic enough for the task.

I preface this recommendation by saying that it does not come without a great deal of examination. Besides the memory of my own classroom experience, I have been visiting my daughter’s classrooms three times a week for the past four years. I have also visited my other children’s classrooms weekly. I can truly say without hesitation that I have NEVER seen a teacher of her caliber.

Before my daughter entered the 5th grade, I asked around to find out which teacher would be most helpful, because my daughter struggles with learning disabilities and a lack of self confidence that has made learning an extremely difficult task. Her 4th grade teacher, as well as many neighbors, emphatically recommended Mrs. Oviatt. One neighbor indicated that Mrs. Oviatt was a huge blessing in the life of her daughter who entered 5th grade feeling unintelligent and incapable of succeeding. As my neighbor described her daughter’s turn around with tremendous appreciation and approbation for Mrs. Oviatt, I prayed that my daughter would be assigned to Mrs. Oviatt’s classroom. In answer to prayer, my daughter was blessed to have that opportunity.

From the first moment I entered Mrs. Oviatt’s class, I knew she was someone special. Not only does she have a naturally endearing personality, but she knows what to do and say to illicit the best kind of behavior and enthusiasm from the kids in her class.

• She is ALWAYS upbeat and happy.
• She uses fun voices, expression, rhythm, and learning tricks to help information stick in a child’s head.
• She has an energy and enthusiasm that is unparalleled. You would never be able to detect if she were having a hard day.
• She employs a persistent dialogue of praise which boosts self esteem.
• She teaches the children that they shouldn’t live their lives as victims of their circumstances; instead, they have to take responsibility and create their own happiness and futures.
• She creates an amazing learning environment. She understands the importance if education and is very focused on making every minute count.
• She regulates and disciplines without the children knowing that that is what she is doing. In fact, her methods are so effective that I have never witnessed a rebellious or naughty act from any of the children in her class. If a child ever begins to step over the line, that child is very quickly and quietly reminded that his/her actions need to change. The children never feel like they are reprimanded or embarrassed in front of their peers. In fact, they feel motivated to change their behavior.
• Through all of this, she builds a significant bond of trust with the kids.

After witnessing the many successes and talents of Mrs. Oviatt, I asked both the principle and vice principle if there was any way that Mrs. Oviatt could help teach the other teachers how to do what she does. This request says a lot about Mrs. Oviatt because the teachers at Manila Elementary are incredible.

On a personal note, any attempt to describe what she has done for my daughter and our family will fall short. I don’t believe it is possible to articulate the level of appreciation my husband and I have for Mrs. Oviatt. We have witnessed a miracle occur in our daughter’s life. She now believes that she is capable of learning and has shed her previous apprehension. She has a greater self esteem and a more positive attitude toward her education. Mrs. Oviatt has helped my daughter change her whole attitude, approach and expectation. She no longer starts every study session by saying, “I can’t,” or “It’s too hard.” Because her teacher believed in her, it was easier for her to believe in herself. As a result my daughter is happier, willing to put forth more effort, and is more self confident in everything she does. Mrs. Oviatt truly deserves to be recognized and acknowledged for her efforts and talents.

–Nicole Stirling

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I want to tell you what a difference Mrs. Oviatt has made in my life. School has always been very hard for me. I have always been behind, even though I work really hard. For the last several years, my mom has been coming to class with me three times a week to help me. I had tutors coming to my house as well. Before I came to Mrs. Oviatt’s class, I honestly believed school was too hard and that I would never be able to understand things like I was supposed to. I was so afraid every time a teacher started teaching something new. I knew that I was not going to understand it.

That was, until I got Mrs. Oviatt. My mom asked around and prayed really hard to find a teacher that would help me learn and catch up so I could gain more self confidence. Mom says, and I agree, that Mrs. Oviatt is an answer to prayer. From the first moment I entered Mrs. Oviatt’s class, I knew she was someone special. She instantly helped me to relax and not be so afraid of learning new things.

• She is ALWAYS positive, upbeat and happy.
• She uses fun voices, expression, rhythm, and learning tricks to help information stick in my head.
• She has amazing energy and enthusiasm. You can never tell if she is having a hard day.
• She is always praising me and all the other kids. This makes me feel good about myself.
• She never embarrasses us when we are doing something that we shouldn’t. As a class we want to be good. If anyone ever starts to do something they shouldn’t, she quietly reminds us that our actions need to change. Because we want to show Mrs. Oviatt how much we care, we choose to do what is right.
• She teaches us that we shouldn’t live our lives as victims of our circumstances; instead, we have to take responsibility and create own happiness and futures.
• We trust Mrs. Oviatt and know that she wants us to succeed.

I no longer have tutors coming to my house. I don’t have to have my mom in class with me. I don’t believe that school is too hard for me or that I can’t learn what is being taught. I will be forever grateful for Mrs. Oviatt.

–Lindsay Stirling