Morris Hills Teachers Retire

Nidhi Shah, Senior Staff Editor

Mrs. Ricucci Retires

After multiple years of service at the Morris Hills Regional District, Mrs. Ricucci has decided to retire. Her future plans include traveling with her husband and friends and relatives in the United States and in Europe as often as possible. The end of her journey as an educator is not the end of Mrs. Ricucci’s education.  A student of the Italian language, she plans on continuing her studies in order to better communicate with relatives in Italy. Her educational endeavors also include taking on a course in the humanities at DrewUniversity. These productive ambitions however are topped most importantly, by her plan to spend time with her seven grandchildren and to find some way to contribute to the lives of others.

During the time she spent at MorrisHills, Mrs. Ricucci claims that “the individual kindnesses that she has witnessed could fill a book”. Student and staff members have always extended themselves to each other in times of joy and in times of need. She will always remember the passion and generosity of the student and staff members who banded together in 2003 to raise $20,000 for a wounded MorrisHills alumnus who was injured in the War in Iraq. Because of the community she found at MorrisHills, Mrs. Ricucci will miss playing a part in the growth of the next generation of citizens, learning from them, laughing with them and celebrating their successes. She also claims to sorely miss her colleagues who feel more like family than co-workers, and kids that she will not miss the HSPA examination.

From the many years she has spent at MorrisHills, two specific memories stand out to Mrs. Ricucci in particular. One involves her colleagues and the other involves her students. Her first memory consists of a tragedy in which her home was burglarized and her jewelry was stolen, including pieces that had been gifts from her husband and others that had been inherited from her mother and grandmother. She felt distraught about the incident until one day a colleague surprised her with a shower of jewelry. This surprise was overwhelming and remains an emblem of genuine friendship that she received at MorrisHills.

Her second memory consists of student who, during a lesson on the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel, asked to bring in a man who survived the Holocaust for extra credit. Of course, she agreed and the students made arrangements for this special visitor. During the visit, her students showed the survivor more interest and compassion for his suffering than he had received at any of his many former talks at schools through New Jersey. He called her back a week later to say ‘I can’t stop thinking about your students. May I come back and bring them a picnic?’ And yes, he did bring a picnic and yes those students were special, just like the many Morris Hills students who have touched her heart over the years.

Mrs. Ricucci has some words of wisdom to teachers from her experience as an educator. She strongly believes that teachers should not let anyone demoralize them because teachers do the most important work in the world, and they do it with passion and compassion. She recommends that teachers seek out mentoring from people they admire when they feel the need to improve their skills or lift their spirits. She thinks the most important quality teachers should bestow upon students is resiliency and knows that teachers should be glad that they work at Morris Hills, an environment where the students and staff are warm-hearted and generous.

Mr. Magnifico Moves On

After eleven years of service at the Morris Hills Regional District, as both a teacher and bowling coach, Mr. Magnifico has decided to retire. His future plans include trying to relax and enjoy life as much as possible, allowing him to lead a down-to-earth lifestyle, which is highly reflective of his humble nature. Mr. Magnifico also hopes to participate in activities like travelling and fishing, taking one day in at a time.

Out of the eleven years that he had spent at MorrisHills, Mr. Magnifico’s most memorable experience was the last day of his coaching career when he and his team won the championships and had a player bowl a perfect game. Another highly memorable time was the frenzied experience of moving the woodshop and its contents from MorrisHills to Morris Knolls, then moving the class from Morris Knolls to a garage which was under construction, and finishing a class all in a condensed amount of time between spring break in April.

Throughout his entire experience, he truly valued the relationships that he built with his co-workers and students. He believes that the staff can be best described to be extremely helpful in that they will always be ready to support you. “All you have to do is ask,” he says. Mr. Magnifico himself contributed greatly to this overall impression of friendliness and reliability of the staff. Along with the immense assistance he provides to his own students, he provides resources and knowledge to students from other courses or simply students with diversified interests. Mr. Magnifico has also modestly contributed to the school play scenery team for a total of nine years.

When asked about himself, Mr. Magnifico will not provide elaborative responses because of his modesty, but his students certainly have a lot to say about him. Freshman, Richard Luke believes that Mr. Magnifico has “a lot of patience with kids who struggle”. His patience as an instructor is evident in his casual jests at students who make silly mistakes, as stated by junior, Emily Kramer. All of his students find his idiosyncrasies highly amusing. Junior, Sebastian Sosa recalls that Mr. Magnifico would get completely distracted for 30 minutes if a student interrupts him mid-walk towards his destination. Such experiences define the easy-going relationship that he shares with his students and the admiration that they have for him.

Mr. Magnifico possesses a similar appreciation for his students and the inspiring projects that they create. He describes with pride his students’ projects like the canoe, rocking chair, and grandfather clock “that are evidence of their hard work and determination in his class”. These memorable projects were a few among many pieces of hard work that Mr. Magnifico had the good fortune of witnessing in his eleven years of teaching. Spending nine years as the school’s bowling coach, and initiating the bowling program at MorrisHills, Mr. Magnifico also spent a great deal of time with his team. He enjoyed growing and learning with his bowlers, and felt an especially strong sense of pride when they won the championships for the first time as a school.

Overall, Mr. Magnifico would say that he had an enjoyable eleven years at Morris Hills, and the sole piece of advice that he has to offer to upcoming teachers would be that Morris Hills is a great place to work and that they should be grateful to be a member of this wonderful community. And surely, the entire MorrisHills community will remember his humble and equally significant contributions to the community as Mr. Magnifico moves on to pursue his future endeavors.