Adria Moore, second grade, Wild Horse Elementary Rockwood Schools Attended: Babler Elementary
, Rockwood Valley Middle
, Lafayette High Grades Attended in Rockwood:
Once a month, Adria Moore's second-graders at Wild Horse meet up for a session of academic and character development with their "buddies" from Vito Polizzi's fifth-grade classroom.
The idea of the buddy class system is to help forge unique, meaningful relationships between the older mentors and their younger mentees. In Moore and Polizzi's case, the teachers themselves share a unique and meaningful relationship.
Polizzi was Moore's fifth-grade teacher at Babler Elementary more than 20 years ago.
"He really believed that we were all learners and leaders in our own way. He never expected less than our absolute best," Moore said. "He knew what our potential was, and he helped us reach it. I always knew -- and now get to see firsthand -- that Vito loves being a teacher of students with his entire heart!"
Moore said teachers such as Polizzi and Mimi Levy helped her through academic challenges at Babler. When she was a student at Lafayette, Moore participated in leadership development programs such as the Outdoor Student Education Program and the Committee of 520.
Those gave her confidence in herself and set her on the path of becoming an educator so she could reach students like her.
"There were so many opportunities for students and learners of all types," Moore said. "I knew what Rockwood had done for me as a learner and a person, and I knew this was the place for me as a teacher. I wanted to be a part of a district that would encourage educator growth and truly do whatever is best for students.
"This is truly my passion. Being in the classroom sparks me. It's a place where I feel joy."
Moore started her Rockwood career at Chesterfield Elementary
– where she also student taught – for a year and has been at Wild Horse for the past nine, teaching second, third, fourth and fifth grades.
Polizzi had already been at Wild Horse for four years before Moore moved over. When she first joined the staff, Polizzi told her that she hadn't changed one bit.
"He's somebody that I know is my champion," Moore said. "We talk about the students having champions, but it's also important that staff members have a champion who they can trust. He's definitely one and has been for many years."