Superintendent’s Spotlight: Felicia Gambino, Arlo Moller & Sophie Quicke


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Felicia Gambino, Arlo Moller & Sophie Quicke

February 9, 2023

Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines the “Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, face challenges, and are role models to their peers.

There’s a crochet movement in Warwick Valley Middle School. So much so that there is now a Get Hooked Crochet Club and students are teaching the teachers how to crochet.

There are 12 members in the growing club who now meet on Fridays during lunch period to crochet together – six students, five teachers and the principal!

Felicia Gambino, Arlo Moller and Sophie Quicke are three eighth-grade students who formed the club.

“They created this club and the teachers are the kids in the club,” Principal Georgianna Diopoulos said. “The teachers are so excited that the students taught them something. It’s the coolest thing ever.”

It all started in December in Janna Milazzo’s and Cathy King’s eighth-grade English Language Arts class. Ms. King noticed Felicia’s crocheted pocketbook in class.

“I walked by her desk and I said, ‘My gosh, that’s so pretty,’ and she said, ‘I made that,’” Ms. King said. “I said, ‘I’d love to learn how to make that.’ She said, ‘I can teach you!’”

And, the movement began.

Ms. King admitted that she had some difficulty picking it up but the students were patient while they taught her.

“Their patience and their understanding with it was so helpful,” she said. “They knew it was going to take me a minute to get it. They were so good with it. They’re a good group of girls.”

The girls even offered tips to the teachers regarding shopping for supplies and using discounts and coupons.

“It’s nice to be taught how to do something by your students,” said Ms. Milazzo. “It’s nice to have that chance to get to know them in a different way. They’ve been really very patient with us, and each one of them has worked with me separately to show me different stitches.”

When Ms. Milazzo came to school with her first hat completed, they were so proud of her.

“It made me feel really good to be able to show them that they’d taught me, and that their lessons are what allowed me to bring that to fruition.”

Ms. King said she was struck by some of the sound teaching techniques that the students have exhibited.

“I mean, just their patience with us; their encouragement,” she beamed. “They’d reassure us, ‘It’s just going to take some time, don’t worry.’ That positive reinforcement they gave me when I was very much like, ‘I can NOT do this.’ They showed me I could.”

The trio is having a fun time sharing their needle know-how with their teachers.

“They’re a little challenging, I have to admit,” Arlo said with a smile.

“It’s kind of weird,” Felicia said about having her teachers as students. “Because when you are trying to teach a teacher, it’s just so weird because they’re the ones who normally teach you.”

Arlo said she learned to crochet in third grade by making a long chain. “In elementary school I would measure it every day and it was longer than the lunch room,” she said. “It was like a huge chain.”

Felicia learned from Sophie, the Internet and her aunt.

“I started crocheting when the pandemic started,” said Sophie, who was looking for creative and constructive ways to spend her time at home.

Sophie said the experience has made her think about the possibility of education as a vocation.

“There are things I’d be interested in teaching,” she said, “like art or ‘home ec.’”

“I was telling a couple of friends that my students taught me crocheting, and they thought that was awesome,” said Ms. Milazzo. “It’s so nice having them teach me something that I will be able to do, and hopefully keep getting better at, for the rest of my life.”


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