Community Feature: Julie Vareika
The Catholic Schools Alliance is excited to share our first featured teacher, from St. James – St. John School, Julie Vareika!
Please tell us about yourself.
My husband and I have lived in Lakeville for 31 years. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and returned to school after my children were grown to earn my Masters Degree in Education. I have worked in many schools and in many different capacities over the years. Teaching preschool at St. James St. John has by far been my favorite position.
Describe your school.
This is my third year at SJSJ and from the very beginning I was impressed by the politeness and kindness of the students here. St. James St. John School has a very welcoming atmosphere and I feel so fortunate to be able to come to work for Mrs. Rapozo each day. She is very supportive of new ideas and pursues anything that will help engage the students in learning.
What drew you to teaching at a Catholic school?
I love teaching the children prayers and reading stories to them about our Catholic Religion. Our preschool program combines both three and four year old children. My favorite part of teaching the students at this age is that they really want to learn. I have very high expectations for these youngsters and they do not disappoint! They are so honest and eager to learn and they make me smile every day. I believe in lifelong learning and try to instill that into every student I teach.
What is your favorite part about teaching? What are your greatest rewards?
My greatest reward as a preschool teacher is seeing my students grow into compassionate and successful adults. I am fortunate to be able to help shape their foundation in both academics and faith.
In your experience, what do Catholic schools do best? What does your school do best?
I believe in Catholic schools because of the faith, values and academic excellence that they offer. I can honestly say St. James St. John school excels in all of these areas which is one reason I love my job.
From the Principal:
Julie is charismatic and creative, and she thinks outside the box. She has shown excellent classroom management skills and developed a rapport with students, colleagues, and parents that is characterized by mutual respect. In many instances, I have had parents come to me to sing her praises. As an aunt of a child in that class, I can honestly say she has had an impact on my niece. Beyond her strengths as the PK teacher, Julie also assists me with administrative duties and has applied for grants to improve the overall school. It’s this commitment to growth and her students’ well-being that makes Julie an outstanding educator who empowers her pupils and is part of our SJSJ family.
– Principal Cristina Raposo
It is with great pleasure that I would like to nominate Mrs. Julie Vareika the preschool teacher at St. James St. John School in New Bedford. My son was a student of Mrs. Vareika’ s last school year and my husband and I were amazed at the combination of high quality instruction, social skill development and Catholic values that Mrs. Vareika and her staff instill in the preschool students on a daily basis. Mrs. Vareika challenges her students and pushes them to be the best they can be with rigorous lessons, but she also has a way of making them fun. She incorporates so many hands on activities into her lessons on a daily basis and even though they may require a ton of materials she knows the students will retain the information better and also enjoy it. My son still talks about acting out Goldilocks and the Three Bears and all of the science experiments that they did. She also incorporates values into her class and teaches the students to practice them like when the class decided to raise money for an injured owl. Besides the fact that my son left preschool knowing boatloads more then he did when he entered the program and fully prepared for Kindergarten academic wise, what I will forever be grateful to her for is the love of learning and confidence my son left her program with. She has a way of making all of her students feel special and loved and they all take pride in their class and their preschool family. Mrs. Vareika runs an exceptional program based on rigor, faith and values and she deserves to be recognized for all of her hard work and dedication to the children at St. James St. John School.
I nominate Julie Vareika for her patience and commitment to a preschool classroom of both three and four year olds. Her combination of both standards based curriculum learning along with the traditional preschool model of fostering an environment of socializing children and learning to love school is beyond words. I am so inspired by the strong foundation of learning she has provided my daughters during their two years in her full-day preschool classroom.
I am nominating Mrs. Vareika because of the extraordinary care she takes with her students. My child trived in Mrs. Vareika’s class. Mrs. Vareika and SJSJ school educate the whole child and do so in a caring manner. I am incredibly grateful to her and My little one misses her greatly.
Mrs. Vareika is a phenomenal Pre-K teacher. She came into St. James St. John School the first year that they implemented their 3 and 4 year old Pre-K Program 2 years ago. Although, it was challenging, she embraced it with new ideas and made it work into a successful program. The 4 year olds have become the mentors for the 3 year olds and it has been working out great! She is always doing projects with the kids so that they learn not only through listening, but also through their actions and experiments. I can’t say enough good things about St. James St. John’s Pre-School teacher, Julie Vareika.
Mrs. Vareika is amazing at her job. My daughter was in her classroom for 2 years and loved every minute. We watched her develop and learn more in those two years than we thought was possible. It wasn’t just the academics, it was growing as a person. We cannot thank Mrs. Vareika and the rest of the Pre-K staff for everything.
To learn more about St. James – St. John School and their Pre K 3 and 4 Program visit their website or follow them on Facebook.