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North Royalton City Schools Honor Two Dedicated Staff Members with the Second Semester Crystal Starfish Award
On Wednesday, May 23, North Royalton City Schools announced the winners of the second semester Crystal Starfish Award presented by First Federal of Lakewood.

At Royal View Elementary, Jessica Lobaza, a kindergarten teacher, was presented the Crystal Starfish Teacher Award.  Besides the award, she also received a $250 professional development grant from First Federal of Lakewood, a $50 gift certificate to Cleat’s restaurant and flowers from Independence Flowers and Gifts.  Lobaza was nominated by several parents. 

Highlights of Lobaza’s nominations state . . .

I am impressed with her engaging and creative lessons. Mrs. Lobaza uses creative games such as hopscotch and writing in sand and shaving cream to learn sight words. Mrs. Lobaza utilizes every moment of the day as a learning opportunity. For example, as students are lining up to get hand sanitizer, they practice rhyming words.  She has a contagious positive attitude.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if the kids are having more fun at the classroom parties or if it’s Mrs. Lobaza. Her enthusiasm for teaching is so important as this is the first experience many students have at school.  She supports the struggling students and challenges those who can reach higher.  She is excellent at communicating with parents. I have loved following her classroom on Instagram because it gives me insight as to what they are doing in class.  It allows me to have more valuable conversations with my daughter when I can say, “Tell me about what are you doing in this picture.”  Students are often completing STEM activities in this kindergarten class. Whether is it designing new utensils to eat green eggs and ham, building standing paper snowmen, or creating turkey traps, Mrs. Lobaza’s students are learning while having fun. Mrs. Lobaza is also involved in the planning of the new school. She cares about her current students’ needs as well as what our future students will need.  Mrs. Lobaza is making a positive difference in the lives of her students.  She is helping them to grow and instilling a love of learning in them.

She has had our daughter, who has down syndrome and severe apraxia, for two years.  She works beautifully with her and even got her more time with typical peers. Our daughter has thrived because of Mrs. Lobaza and her ability to play to her strengths and work on her areas that need help.
My daughter loves school and her teacher.  Mrs. Lobaza is kind and patient and an amazing teacher who has introduced my daughter to a world of positive possibilities.  She has instilled a love of learning that she will carry throughout life.  What more could you ask from a teacher?
Mrs. Lobaza is always very enthusiastic about learning and has instilled a love of lifelong learning in my son. 

Mrs. Lobaza has now taught two of my children. She makes learning fun and it is amazing how much the children are learning and don’t even know because they are having so much fun. She has the best personality and the kids naturally just love her. She goes above and beyond for them, and it truly shows. She has a passion for teaching. I know my child is safe in her presence.

When my daughter started kindergarten, she was highly reserved and would rarely participate when in a large group. I have seen such a change in her confidence, and she now actively participates in the classroom. 

Diana Hudec, an aide at Albion Elementary, was the recipient of the Crystal Starfish Support Staff Award. Along with the award, First Federal of Lakewood presented her with a $50 gift certificate to Cleat’s restaurant and flowers from Independence Flowers and Gifts.  

Highlights of Hudec’s parent nomination state . . .

Mrs. Hudec has been an invaluable asset to my son.  He is part of the Bridges program at Albion Elementary, and Mrs. Hudec has been working with my son since he started at Albion in first grade.  He is now in third grade.  She is a constant support to my son and works hard with him through his classwork and when he struggles with his emotions.  I feel like Mrs. Hudec loves my son and cares for him like she would her children.  He always comes home with stories about Mrs. Hudec and how she helped him throughout the day.  I feel at ease knowing that my son goes to school every day and has the support and love of Mrs. Hudec.

“Both Jessica and Diana are deserving of this recognition and really exemplify what it means to inspire great in others.  Because they are so dedicated, it inspires those around them to do better and move from good to great.  That’s all you can ask for in a person!” said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. 

First Federal of Lakewood Crystal Starfish awards are presented to support staff members and teachers who make a difference in their schools and go above and beyond in all that they do.  “Every day, teachers and staff of North Royalton City Schools are making a difference,” said Branch Operations Manager Tiffany Cardenas, First Federal of Lakewood. “Our bank is honored to partner with the District, enabling these special individuals to be recognized publicly for their contributions.”