The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Precious People of the World: What Tenafly High School’s Educators Are Thankful For

The Precious People of the World: What Tenafly High School’s Educators Are Thankful For

In the beloved setting of the Tenafly High School, the teachers, hardworking and passionate, spend a lot of time helping us kids learn to the fullest of our capacities. Of course, we students are thankful for these amazing human beings who are so generous to help us, as it definitely is not an easy job. With no bias (obviously), we think that THS teachers are the best of the best, as they are dedicated to helping us learn in fun and innovative ways. We wanted to see what teachers were thankful for, as the holiday of thanks, Thanksgiving, is coming up soon. Here’s what some, but of course not all, of THS’s most kindhearted and sweet teachers said:

1.) Mrs. Capone 

Health educator and physical education teacher Mrs. Capone shows indeterminable kindness within her heart through her Teen PEP and PEERS program at THS with the intention of spreading knowledge that students can use throughout their whole lives to stay protected. Capone also expresses the kindness of her heart by loving her family and job.

“I’m grateful for my family, and their health. I’m also grateful for my job, as I love doing what I do and I’m very grateful that I get to do it,” Capone said. “I’m very grateful for the blessing that my daughter brings to us every day.” 

Capone reminds us to always be safe in living our lives as teenagers, as it comes with many risks, but also reminds us to always appreciate the small things in life, like family, friends, and her profession. 

2.) Mr. Nyfenger

One of the coolest and funniest teachers ever is Mr. Nyfenger. Not only does he teach us the wonders of our minds through the fascinating lens of psychology, but he also teaches us about a crucial part of Thanksgiving: being thankful for the opportunities you have. 

At THS, for example, there are so many opportunities to have a great time! Nyfenger acknowledges these amazing opportunities and is incredibly grateful for who he believes provides these moments: his students. 

“I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and coach in a great district with great kids,” Nyfenger said. “I really love my job and the community that surrounds it.”

While never failing to remind us of the purpose of our hypothalamus, Nyfenger also reminds us that teaching can be an extremely passionate and rewarding experience, providing his students with only the best education possible. He also reminds us that educating is his purpose and his place of inspiration, and that is something to forever be grateful for. 

3.) Mrs. Malanka

Senior English and AP Seminar teacher Mrs. Malanka is a beloved gem of the THS community. She prepares a profusion of seniors annually to enter the cosmopolitan world with exceptional writing skills, as well as provides sophomores and juniors with research skills that could only be provided by a true master of one’s craft. Her passion for her classes is beyond exuberant, and Tenafly High School is deeply grateful for her. 

However, beyond the doors of beloved Tenafly High School, Malanka has an abundance of wonderful aspects in her life. She really values modern medicine and the notion of being in good health, which was discovered through personal medical adversity. 

“Three things I’m most thankful for are intertwined: health, community, and purpose. I pray daily for the health and well-being of all my family and friends,” Malanka said. “I’m grateful to be able to perform daily tasks with relative ease and thankful for science and [the] health professionals who saved my life.”

In addition to being grateful for her health which has facilitated her excellency, Malanka acknowledges how lucky she is to have such an incredible support system. 

“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends I deeply love and care for,” she said.

Because of that amazing support system, Malanka has been able to provide the world with skills that would not only be beneficial in college but also for the rest of one’s life. She is incredibly grateful to be in such an honorable position and desires to facilitate the growth and development of her students daily.

“And I’m thankful for a career that promotes lifelong learning through literature. Art–and education–make life worth living,” Malanka said. “I help people learn and grow every day–how incredibly life-affirming!”

Malanka not only reminds us to look at our research topics from multiple lenses but also reminds us to appreciate the foundation of our being and to never take good health for granted. 

4.) Mrs. Woleslagle

Chemistry and forensics teacher Mrs. Woleslagle is a renowned THS staff member. Her exceptional teaching skills and unbridled passion for chemistry have left a lifelong impression on her students and the THS community as a whole. From her immense passion for chemistry to her notorious humor, which serves as a powerful educational tool, Woleslagle is a hugely appreciated teacher at Tenafly High School. Also, if you’re lucky enough, you may even be one of the honored students with whom Woleslagle playfully jokes around during class!

However, outside of the science classroom, Woleslagle cherishes what makes her a mother and wife, as well as the sources of warmth and comfort within her life: her family. With the presence of her family, she thrives and is able to live her life to the fullest without any regrets.

“I am extremely thankful for my family. My husband and two children make me laugh every day,” she said.  

She also appreciates the beauty in her profession and is forever indebted to the people who enable her to be her best self daily. 

“I’m also grateful for my colleagues and my students for bearing with my idiosyncrasies and keeping things interesting,” Woleslagle said.

Woleslagle’s life is rich and fulfilling due to the presence of her highly motivated and studious students, who share laughs and unforgettable moments with her every day. Her colleagues provide her with the support she needs to be the best educator she can possibly be, and they provide her with some associates with whom to share her teaching experiences when she’s not starring in the classroom. 

In addition, like the rest of us, Woleslagle has some very relatable and top-notch Thanksgiving plans, given her gratitude for magnificent culinary masterpieces. 

“Also, thank God for delicious food!” Woleslagle said. “I’ll be stuffing my face this weekend!”

So will we, Mrs. Woleslagle! Woleslagle reminds us that despite the hectic nature of life, it’s always absolutely worth stopping a second to just appreciate the smaller things in life, like amazing food or the laughter of our family.

5.) Ms. Firnberg


Ms. Firnberg will be the friendly and welcoming face to facilitate one’s transition from chemistry one (like with Mrs. Woleslagle!) to performing college-level chemistry, in addition to conducting her prestigious and meticulous Methods of Science Research course. A dedicated researcher and science enthusiast, Firnberg truly does have an unrivaled passion for science and nature, and makes it a priority to share that passion with her students through entertaining and engaging classes. 

Her motivation for educating on this complex aspect of the world is largely connected to the classroom environment, which is mostly driven by her students. 

“Having amazing, talented, curious, respectful students this year,” Firnberg said, is a large part of what she will be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and this is why she is so motivated to enter the chemistry lab every day. 

However, like every individual, Firnberg’s passions extend beyond the chemistry lab and the assortment of sciences to aspects of her life that are more personal. For instance, Ms. Firnberg expresses her mammoth gratitude for her home life, including familial relations—both human and not. 

“I am grateful for… delicious organic eggs my feathered friends [chickens] give me [and] my sweet loveable granddaughters, Tamar and Leora,” Firnberg said. 

In addition to her unconditional love for her chickens and family, her love for nature remains just as infinite. 

Firnberg is grateful for “sunny days, fall colors, nature walks, and hiking trails,” and really appreciates the small things in life that make the world go round and rejuvenate humanity as a whole.

While reminding us of the significance of the collision theory, Boyle’s Law, and intermolecular forces, Firnberg also places emphasis on the value of familial love and the small joys in life, such as fresh organic eggs or the giggles of her granddaughters. 

6.) Sra. Kim

Spanish educator Mrs. Kim is known for her passionate attitude in the classroom, organizing a plethora of engaging activities and informative lessons to fully take advantage of the rich and beautiful Spanish language. The colorful walls filled with the markations of rich languages provide launching pads for her beautifully distinct, booming voice to resound all around the world language hallway, filled with enthusiasm and readiness to go about her day. While this beloved THS icon is beyond passionate about academic pursuits, she also expresses her passionate nature in being grateful for her family.  

“I am thankful that my family is doing well, and that we don’t have any major worries in life,” Kim said “Life is unpredictable, and sometimes hardships come our way when we least expect them, so I am thankful to be enjoying a period of peace.” 

Ultimately, while Kim may constantly remind her students to study meticulously for her class to meet her high expectations, she also reminds the community to appreciate the simplicity of life and the love of one’s family, as those truly do serve as the foundation for a fulfilling life. 

7.) Ms. Barker 

It can be pretty unanimously agreed that math is not an easy subject. Between the many formulas you need to integrate into your brain, the numbers and letters that run around the pages, and solving questions over and over again, mathematics is no stroll in the park. However, math-lover and THS math teacher Mrs. Barker is always able to teach math in a fun and easy way. 

Aside from being passionate about the complex mathematics that enriches our modernizing world, Barker is incredibly passionate about her loved ones outside of school, as well, and keeps them in her heart this Thanksgiving. 

“Family is very important to me, and I am so thankful that I will be able to spend time with not only my husband and children but also my very large extended family, who will be making the trip from various parts of the country to celebrate Thanksgiving with me,” Barker said. “I am also thankful for my friends both in school and out, who provide me with support and encouragement and just bring me endless joy.”

In addition, Barker acknowledges the freedom within this expansive universe that allows her to expand her individuality and is incredibly thankful for those opportunities. 

“I am thankful for the opportunities I have to travel and explore the world around me which allows me to continue to learn and grow as a person,” Barker said.

Barker reminds us to appreciate all of our family and the people who support us no matter what, while also being thankful for friends, the various opportunities we are fortunate to get, and so much more.  

8.) Mrs. Scanlon: 

One of our beloved special education teachers, who is always there to help when students are struggling with concepts, and very patient while doing so, also acknowledges the joys of life. This Thanksgiving, Mrs. Scanlon is simply thankful for the small wonders that accompany life as it passes by.

“I am very thankful for my family, friends, and good health. Each day is a gift and there is a lot to be thankful for,” Scanlon said. “Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and enjoy the people in your life as well as lots of delicious food.” 

Scanlon reminds the Tenafly community that every day is a gift; don’t regret your past, or plan your future too quickly, but just cherish the moment. One way to do this is by having fun feasting on some delicious food during Thanksgiving! But of course, Thanksgiving is also about appreciating everything you have.

In conclusion, besides devouring drool-worthy Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes, make sure to reflect on what you are thankful for and show your appreciation. In addition, make sure to thank your teachers for all of the hard work they put in to make you your best academic self. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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About the Contributors
Maia Goldman
Maia Goldman, Staff Writer
Maia Goldman ('25) is excited to be writing for The Echo for this 2023-2024 school year! In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the Tenafly Tigers Marching Band, writing a plethora of creative stories, and watching the news. She aspires to be an international attorney someday.
Jacob Dardashti
Jacob Dardashti, Staff Writer
Jacob Dardashti (’25) is excited to write for The Echo. He likes to play tennis, bake, and travel. He looks forward to sharing his stories with an audience.