By Grace Givan, copy editor
For a tenth of a second, Journalism Advisor Jason Block almost deleted the email that would inform him of his achievement in winning the IDSA award of Outstanding Activity Advisor. It was titled “Congratulations” as if he had won a cruise, so, prior to opening it Block considered it spam.
In reality, he was nominated by Assistant Principal for Student Activities Frank Mirandola for the award and later became one of the handful of people who had won the award. On April 14, Block attended a banquet intended to recognize his award along with a variety of others.
“I thought it was a really big honor,” Block said. “Journalism does not tend to be something that gets recognized all that often because we’re usually the ones doing the recognizing. … So it was a really good feeling to know that Mirandola respects, not only what I do, but also what our program is about.”
Mirandola nominated Block because he thinks highly of Blocks ability to encourage students to package media and learn how to produce it consistently.
“Block has done a fantastic job inspiring students to think outside the box, and to pursue their passions in a variety of capacities,” Mirandola said. “But more importantly, he’s given them a vehicle to pursue career pathways within the journalism program.”
Junior Ayse Eldes is appreciative of the way Block has shaped her as a journalist by learning to think critically, and senior Cassidy Delahunty appreciates Block’s encouragement to always continue growing and to remain passionate about journalism.
“For a lot of teachers, as long as you get an A that’s good enough for them,” Delahunty said. “I’ve had good grades in this class, but there is always more you can be doing [and] there’s always further you can push yourself. The grades aren’t really what learning is about. This is one of the only classes in high school that I’ve taken where it’s about learning, it’s not about the grade.”
Block learned this unique style of teaching through his own high school journalism advisor when he was enrolled at John Hersey High School. She taught him to embrace the differences in students and their different passions, and he came into this job knowing that.
“I learned for her that this is more than a job. This is more than a teaching assignment; it’s a lifestyle. You live this, and you live to give your students opportunities,” Block said.
Both senior Amanda Hall and junior Amanda Stickles have noticed Block’s amount of passion for his job.
“He’s really passionate about what he does, and you can see that in the way that he runs his class, in the way he acts with students, and he gets good results because of that” Hall said.
Mirandola affirms this statement as he recognizes Block’s effort to create unique moments for his students.
“Any kid in the journalism program knows that Block truly cares about them,” Mirandola said. “He cares about them as a person, he cares about them as a journalist, he cares about them as a student. But first and foremost he always cares about them as a person. He wants to see them succeed and gives them the tools to succeed … and facilities their own growth in a very skillful and intentional manor.”