This is the story of a young man who didn't feel very good about himself because he was teased a lot. But a teacher changed everything. We give a News 8 Golden Apple Award to Carol Ippolito at Hope Hall in Rochester.
14-year old Tyler Pfahl was born with a disease called Prader-Willi syndrome. He didn't develop physically and emotionally like other kids. He was bullied because he looked and sounded different. Tyler was a boy who just needed the right teacher to unlock his abilities. He found Science Teacher Carol Ippolito at Hope Hall. She makes everybody feel like they matter.
Sr. Diana Dolce founded Hope Hall. I asked her what Carol's gifts are? "She is extremely kind, she's extraordinarily gentle and generous. She doesn't give up on anyone. If a child is not understanding something she breaks it down into smaller pieces. She spends her free time working with kids who need a little extra help. She's somebody who has great relationships with parents."
Tyler's mother, Kim Pfahl, says "Since he came to this school it has been amazing. She's just a wonderful teacher. If Tyler doesn't understand something, she takes all the time she can with him to make him understand it."
I asked Tyler how he feels when somebody loves him as much as Mrs. Ippolito does? "Amazing and a good feeling and happy."
Tyler cries when he's happy. He cried during our entire surprise. He needed a teacher who could see into his heart. Carol Ippolito was that teacher. "It's amazing to see kids that come to us so discouraged about school because the last school they were in they may not have succeeded, or may have been picked on. And they come here and they feel safe. And the way we teach, they all know they're gonna be able to succeed."
Because of Carol, Tyler is more independent and confident. She has a gift for reaching kids. "It's just something that you're given. Everybody has to find their talent and this just happens to be mine. And being able to work with children is just a real joy for me."
Carol Ippolito is a News 8 Golden Apple Award winner. Look below to read the letter Tyler wrote nominating her.
Dear News 8,
Carol Ippolito is understanding and an excellent listener and the best teacher in the whole USA. If you do not understand something she will help you to make sure you know how to do it next time. She is a lovable teacher who loves kids and makes them smarter for the real world. She is my favorite teacher ever because she is the most loving teacher anyone could have in the whole world.
Tyler Pfahl, Hope Hall