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Ms. Barber


"I enjoy the excitement of telling my students that they've won a precious stone from Gallery of Diamonds. It's rewarding to give students the opportunity to participate in a contest that honors their mother through the expressive poems they are inspired to write."


Interviewer: What do you feel is the most important aspect of the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest?

Cristina: I think the most important aspect of this contest is that it gives students an opportunity to express their emotions and their feelings of gratitude towards their mothers. It also gives them a chance to be a winner when many of them feel, when I introduce the contest, a lot of them feel like they’re not going to win because they have never won a contest in the past. And then so many of them walk away as winners, it gives them a feeling of success and it inspires them to continue participating in the contest.

Every year when the contest comes around, I think one of the most important aspects is that all my students are given the opportunity to express their gratitude towards their mothers and to participate in a contest that offers them a tremendous chance for success. Many of them feel like they have never won a contest in the past, and why is this contest any different, yet in expressing their affection for their mothers, many of them do walk away as winners.

Interviewer: How do you think the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond contest contributes to students self esteem?

Cristina: I think it contributes to their self-esteem because the students feel like they have learned a way to reach inside and express themselves in a way perhaps they may have never done in the past. And I do believe that also helps them with their relationship with their mothers because most of them do read the poem to their mothers, not just if they win, but at home, I encourage them to read it to their mothers because they may never see the poem again once they turn it in. They feel like it has connected them, bonded them to their mother, in a special way they have never had the opportunity to be bonded to in the past.

What is your favorite part of the contest?

Cristina: My favorite part of the contest is when the letter of the winners arrives and I get to announce to my students who are the winners, who won the amethyst, who won the garnets, and the excitement and the cheering and support in the class. And the kids just in awe, almost like they can’t believe that they won. And then I announce that they are expected to go down and pick up the stone and that they are going to be reading the poems to their mothers. And they get kind of nervous yet excited at the same time. And on the actual day, I try my best to be present when they appear to read their poems for their mothers. It is a very exciting and heartwarming experience for all of us.

Interviewer: Why should all kids have the chance to participate in this contest?

Cristina: I think that this contest should be provided and open to all students to participate because it provides them with an experience outside of school to participate in a contest in which the rewards come back not to them, but to their mothers. It is a contest that if you and stop and think about it they are being very generous, they are trying to win something for someone who is dear to them, that they love, instead of trying to win an award, another trophy, for them to put on their shelf. It is a very positive contest all around.

Other thoughts.

Cristina: Each year that I encourage my students to partake in this contest. I hear many of them say that they have never won anything before.  Because Mr. Watson inspires them with this opportunity and I motivate them with examples of a mother’s devotion, so many students participate and walk away as winners.  They realize that they should take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way and that giving up is not an option. 

I enjoy the look on her students’ faces when I announce the winners.  They stagger somewhere between, “Are you sure I won?” and “Wow! I really did it!”  For the next couple of years, they love to boast about their success each time the contest comes around again.  I assure them that even if they did not win this time, there is always next year, and their mothers will melt just at the thought of being recognized in such a special way.

January 4, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter on behalf of Mr. Michael Watson of the Gallery of Diamonds.   Mr. Watson was one of the guest speakers at MacArthur’s annual College and Career Day event and gave an impressive and astounding presentation.  Every year we strive to educate, inspire, and enlighten our junior high students about the innumerable possibilities that lie before them.  This task is enhanced with the presence of real live career professionals that volunteer to spend their day speaking to hundreds of students, outlining the steps toward a successful and very possible future for anyone that wants to follow a dream.  Mr. Watson was such speaker for the first time in 2014.  His enthusiasm and clear description of the journey he experienced with utmost perseverance to become a gemologist and entrepreneur, engaged the students and motivated classes to begin contemplating what path they would seek in their future.  His optimism was contagious leaving students and teachers inspired to look upon any goal as attainable. 

We look forward to having Mr. Michael Watson attend our event once again in 2015, and every year after. 

Cristina Coello Barber
College and Career Day President


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