Spotlight

Mrs. Dokus: Touching Hearts, One Note At A Time
By: Rishika Raghavan


      Mrs. Dokus, one of Memorial’s spectacular music teachers, makes being a part of an orchestra a fun and enjoyable experience for her students. 
      Mrs. Dokus divides her time between the two middle schools in Marlboro, along with directing a special group called the Griffins, which includes advanced-level students from each school. However, her undying love for music and conducting orchestras did not start out this way.
      As a child, Mrs. Dokus never believed that she would become a teacher, let alone an orchestra director. Music was always a big part of her life, but she never thought it could be a career in her future. In fact, Mrs. Dokus was a varsity athlete in soccer and basketball in high school, and she believed that she would go to college on an athletic scholarship. Even though she was busy with her athletics, Mrs. Dokus continued to play the cello throughout her middle and high school years. However, after a serious sports injury, Mrs. Dokus decided to pursue a degree in musical education.       Working with students sparked her interest in teaching, especially since conducting classes were some of her favorite in college. 
      Mrs. Dokus gained her love of music from a very young age. She started to learn how to play piano in kindergarten and cello later on in third grade in her elementary school’s music program. During the instrument demonstration, she heard the teacher play the “Jaws” theme on the cello. At that moment, Mrs. Dokus knew that she would love to learn how to play cello and be able to play that song. Mrs. Dokus has been playing the cello for nearly twenty years now, and she continues to improve her skills every day.
      Mrs. Dokus has been teaching for seven years. She started teaching in Lumberton, NJ, after graduating college at TCNJ. She taught fourth through eighth grade strings there for three years before coming to Marlboro. This school year is her fourth year teaching in Marlboro. Mrs. Dokus’ favorite part about teaching at MMMS is the students. She really enjoys the experience of seeing and hearing the progress of the orchestra coming together. She believes strongly that a lot of teamwork is required to be able to play in an orchestra, and that it is always exciting and rewarding to perform together after the hard work everyone puts in.
      When she’s not teaching at MMMS, Mrs. Dokus loves spending time with her family, friends, and dog, Johnny. She is also very involved with music outside of school. She is in a professional string quartet called Four Shore Strings that she manages, and she is currently playing in her eighth season with The Monmouth Symphony. She also conducts The New Jersey State Youth Orchestra and The Marlboro Phoenix Orchestra and is the vice president of All Shore Orchestra. 
      Throughout her life, her mom has been her biggest musical advocate and has supported her through every step of the way. Her musical idol is the cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. He is not only one of the finest musicians in the world, but a humanitarian. He is a kind, humble, and inspiring person, and she strives to be like him one day. Five years from now, Mrs. Dokus sees herself still teaching and exploring new ways to get kids involved in music.
      One piece of advice she would give to her students to use in the future is, “Never stop appreciating and exploring music! Music is something you can actively participate in throughout your entire life. Even if you choose to stop playing, remember the life skills learning an instrument has taught you- responsibility, teamwork, setting and accomplishing goals, listening to others, and learning from your mistakes.” 
      Mrs. Dokus’s encouraging words, helpful advice, and one-of-a-kind teaching skills will undoubtedly inspire a myriad of children aspiring to be successful musicians one day. Thank you, Mrs. Dokus!

Ms. Freeman: Motivating Students to Succeed 



By: Rishika Raghavan

As William Arthur Ward once said, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Ms. Freeman, one of Memorial’s awesome teachers, makes learning math fun. If you don’t like math, all of that will definitely change when you’re in her class.
Ms. Freeman loves teaching math and was always good at it. It all started in high school, when she was lucky enough to be in classes taught by great teachers who made math really fun for her. However, her dreams of becoming a teacher originated much earlier than that. She has dreamt of becoming a teacher since elementary school. Hence, Ms. Freeman decided to pursue a career in teaching mathematics
Ms. Freeman’s teaching career began in 1999. She’s been teaching and inspiring students to love math for nearly nineteen years! Before she taught at MMMS, she taught students in Japan for a year. Her students’ ages ranged from one and a half up to eighty. After this experience, Ms. Freeman realized how much she loves teaching middle schoolers. Her favorite thing about this age group is that they are still young enough to enjoy “childish” things like arts and crafts, but old enough to know how to behave properly in class. 
One thing she loves about teaching at MMMS is the amazing staff and environment. She loves how the atmosphere in the school always encourages people to improve and share ideas with each other. Her favorite thing about teaching math is when she finally sees students find their “aha moment” and understand a particularly difficult topic.
Outside of school, Ms. Freeman enjoys traveling. So far, she has been to forty eight states, twenty three countries, and counting! She also loves reading, watching shows, and attending concerts. Five years from now, Ms. Freeman sees herself still teaching at Memorial, creating more memorable moments, and helping children understand math better. One piece of advice Ms. Freeman would give to her students to use in the future is, “Be yourself, and stop worrying about what others will think about you. The only opinion of yourself that matters is your own.” 
Ms. Freeman’s influential words will definitely help many, many students throughout their lives, and her unique and fun method of teaching will make math one hundred times easier for any of her students.

Memorial’s Superhero - Mrs. Tatgenhorst
By: Zaina Saif


Above: Mrs. Tatgenhorst with her husband and her dog, Chunk. 

“Not all superheroes have capes; some have Teaching Degrees.” 
         Mrs. Tatgenhorst is an eighth grade math teacher who has been teaching at MMMS for 10 years. She was born born in Manalapan, New Jersey and started teaching at Memorial after she graduated college. At Memorial, Mrs. Tatgenhorst coaches the sixth and seventh grade girls basketball team and the softball team. She chose to teach math because she loves that math always has a right and wrong answer. She says, “There is nothing you can do without math. Everything in life revolves around mathematics. Numbers are [all] around us.” She encourages her students to study, try their best, and most importantly, show all of their work! Her hobbies include coaching, playing with her dog, Chunk, and spending time with her family and friends. Mrs. Tatgenhorst is Memorial’s superhero and I’d like to thank her for spreading joy and positivity throughout the classroom. Thank you, Mrs. Tatgenhorst!

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