Around the UFT

Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration

Accomplishments on display

Randi Retkinski (center) is all smiles for student winners Diego (left) and JohnErica BergerRandi Retkinski (center) is all smiles for student winners Diego (left) and Johnathan. Student Nickolas gets a hug from speech teacher Tracey Olesh of PS 94 at PS 361,Erica BergerStudent Nickolas gets a hug from speech teacher Tracey Olesh of PS 94 at PS 361, Manhattan.

Winner Zoe of PS 199 in Brooklyn bows to the audience.Erica BergerWinner Zoe of PS 199 in Brooklyn bows to the audience. Colorful art and creative projects lined the walls of the union’s Shanker Hall this year for the union’s 11th annual Better Speech and Hearing Month celebration on May 11. Nearly 200 speech and language teachers and their students gathered to honor their accomplishments in the classroom. “Our speech therapists work really hard with our students in so many areas,” UFT Speech Improvement Chapter Leader Mindy Karten Bornemann said. “It gives us great pleasure to see how your children improve each year.” Awards were given to teachers and students throughout the five boroughs for artwork, videos, projects and presentations highlighting the benefits of speech and language assistance and the accomplishments of the students. Among the winners were HS of Computers and Technology speech teacher Laneeka Ffrench and her students who created a video about the benefits of speech and language assistance in high schools and Randi Retkinski who helped three students from IS 51 in Brooklyn create a brochure comparing headphones and earbuds. In the audience were parents including Tiffany Moton, who said her son, Donovan, a 7th-grader at Grant Avenue Elementary School in the Bronx, can now communicate more effectively thanks to support from his speech teacher, Maria Garrott Jaimes. UFT President Michael Mulgrew welcomed members to the event. “This is a celebration of our students, and we want to honor the people who do this wonderful work,” he said. Fourteen speech teachers were honored for community service and contributions to the classroom. This year’s Friends of the Chapter awards went to UFT secretarial staff members who support the now 3,200-strong chapter. “The people behind the scenes are very important to this chapter,” said Karten Bornemann.

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