Dear Mr. Grosso,
Thank you for your high standards, your relentless challenges and the passion with which you taught AP US History and Shaping of Western Thought at West Orange High School in the ‘80s. I was a good student, accustomed to earning As and I was rattled, but not discouraged, by the C I received in your class as a sophomore. History was probably my least favorite subject, and I initially found you intimidating, but there was something about the way you conducted that class that made me redouble my efforts and try harder.
I remember how you roamed around the classroom during engaging student discussions as we debated the causes of the Civil War. I remember numerous revisions to 2-page position papers, agonizing over each word since there was precious little space with which to persuade you. I recall the smile behind your serious face as you constantly challenged us to carefully consider others’ points of view and the ways our own perspectives have been influenced. You spoke quietly; we engaged in heated discussions.
I’ll never forget what you wrote in my yearbook, how it was a gift to see me become a better thinker. I am eternally grateful for the spark that was lit in your classes. What a gift for me to learn how to think critically, question, and synthesize multiple sources of information. I use these skills every day.
Amy Satin Spinelli