On any given day, students can see ASB Advisor and AVID Teacher Melanie Wong busy in the ASB store, running errands around campus, preparing for rallies, or getting the school ready for an event.
Due to her dedication to WCHS and her unnoticed hard work that she does on the sidelines, Wong received WCHS’s prestigious Teacher of the Year award this month.
“One of our greatest strengths as a school is our incredibly positive and welcoming school culture. I can say with great confidence that this is due to Ms. Wong’s hard work and effective guidance of our student leadership groups,” said Principal Alex Ruvalcaba.
Wong has been a teacher at WCHS for all 12 years of her career.
In a statement on her teacher’s page, Wong wrote, “I love being at a school where our students and staff are active in campus life and love showing their Bulldog pride. My goal is to provide every student with the opportunity to be involved in our school so they can experience why WCHS is such a great place to be!”
At the age of 21, Wong started her career on an emergency teacher credential. Since then, she’s served as an English, ELD, and AVID teacher. She credits the start of her ASB involvement to her position as class of 2006 advisor alongside Math Teacher Christina Mansour.
“I’m honored to represent AVID, ASB, and other student activities. We have such an amazing staff and I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” said Wong.
Many students feel the school would not be the same without Wong’s involvement.
“I’ve known Ms. Wong for two years and she’s one of the most influential people I’ve met in my high school years. She’s more than a teacher; she’s a friend to everyone. She’s done more than teaching us leadership skills and advising us. What makes her so special is her passion and how determined she is to make WCHS a better place. Her love for this school is what makes everyone around her- everyone that interacts with her- motivated to do all they can to make this school better as well. WCHS and ASB wouldn’t be the same without her. I wouldn’t be the same without her,” said senior Lanli Su, ASB director of publicity.
In the past, Wong has been named Renaissance’s Inspirational Teacher of the Year, which is nominated by students. For Teacher of the Year, the nomination comes from faculty within the departments. She is not part of a department on campus per se, which may have been why she has not been considered previously.
“Melanie has always been a very important member to our school community and has done a ton of work with our student body. I believe that she has been overlooked for this award since the only class she taught was ASB. With her current caseload I should think that she would be eligible for this award, and I cannot think of any person on this campus that is more deserving,” said Physical Education Teacher Mercury Simonian.
This year, Ruvalcaba asked departments to nominate any teacher to represent their department in the pool of Teacher of the Year nominees- Fine Arts chose Wong.
After each department nominated a teacher, instructor, or advisor, the final decision went to the Leadership Team- a committee of department chairs, administrators, and teacher leaders on campus.
“I’m on the Leadership Team. I wasn’t at the meeting that chose the teacher of the year, but if I was I would be full force supporting this decision. I’m under no illusion that someone equally qualified can’t just come in and take my job. I always say that all of us here are replaceable- all of us except Ms. Wong. No one here’s really aware of all that she does. I’m learning all the time about the things she does for the school I didn’t know about before. The hours, dedication, the students she’s impacted; it’s something no one else could do. She’s so modest about getting the award, but it really does belong to her. It’s not just a culture she’s created with leadership and the students, it’s beyond these walls. She makes us all better Bulldogs,” said Dean Lisa Maggiore.
There were many unaccredited compliments to Wong on the WCHS Weekly Staff Bulletin.
“Efforts to create things and make things happen.”
“Always offers to help.”
“She’s the bomb diggity.”
Wong is thankful for receiving the award.
“I wouldn’t have thought I’d be the one receiving this, but I’m so honored. Thank you,” she said.
This article was originally published by Newsbytes Online.