Wojo wins over students


Teacher of the year Tara Wojciechowski poses in front of the periodic table. She creates catchy rhymes as a study tool for students.

Julia Collner, Photography Editor

A vote by her peers has rewarded science teacher Tara Wojciechowski with her second teacher of the year award.
Each year the faculty votes from a ballot of all teachers. The teacher with the highest number of votes is named teacher of the year.
“This is my 18th year of teaching, and every minute of it has been here at Wake Forest. I continue because I love it. I love the students, this community and our school. I also love the fact that I can also pretend that I’m a stay-at-home mom for a couple of months.
“Teaching chemistry forces me to use my brain and gives me an outlet for my creativity, but also allows me those summer days at home with my kids. I really couldn’t ask for more,” Wojciechowski said in an email.
Winning came as a complete surprise to Wojciechowski, or as she is affectionately referred to by her students: Wojo.
“I did not expect to be the teacher of the year. I was surprised the first time (ten years ago), and if it’s possible, I’m surprised even more this time,” Wojo said.
Many of Wojo’s students are not surprised at all by the honor, as many view her as an exceptional teacher.
Wojo’s former student, junior Hannah Snow, raves about how she helps her students as much as she can and makes the class enjoyable.
“She makes cute songs for each unit to help us memorize what we are learning,” Snow said. “We also had an extra credit opportunity to make a dance about electrons called the Electron Slide.”
Wojo makes sure that the students will remember what she is teaching, not just memorize it for a test.
“Wojo is a phenomenal teacher, and she definitely deserved to win. She is very involved in her lessons and with her class. You never see her sitting and doing nothing. She makes the classroom environment a fun learning experience,” senior Leah McCusker said.
Most of her students will agree that she has a very creative way of helping her students, not just learn but enjoy learning.
“My favorite memory would be her singing a parody of Rhianna’s song Take a Bow to the periodic table. It was hilarious,” McCusker said.
Teaching is more than just a job for Wojo. She makes it her mission to help her students achieve success.
“The most rewarding part of being a teacher is having an impact (supposedly) on how my students go on to be great people who contribute to the world in multiple ways,” Wojo said in an email. “For instance, I currently have three former students in three different years of study in ECU medical school. All of them are going to be incredible doctors.”
Being inspired by her mother to become a teacher, Wojo takes great pride when students are inspired by her.
Some of those have even followed her into teaching.
One of Wojo’s former students has taught at Knightdale High since 2007, another teaches at Cardinal Gibbons High and formerly taught at Wake Forest, Katie Quigley. Elias Zaytoun, who currently teaches at WF, also took chemistry under Wojo.
“Wojo helped teach me how fun it could be to be a teacher every day,” Zaytoun said. “She inspires me in how she makes it enjoyable and interesting for all of her students through fun activities and little rhymes that she uses to help them learn, and just her overall enthusiasm she brings every day.”