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Joanne “Graduates” with the Class of 2024

Joanne+receiving+the+Teacher+of+the+year+award+in+April.
Kate Conneta
Joanne receiving the Teacher of the year award in April.

Joanne Tolles, one of our English teachers here at ACE,  says goodbye to teaching after 24 years of being an educator in Danbury. Joanne’s passion for teaching will be remembered by the great projects she brought to the ACE community such as revamping the Journalism class with The Alternative Times online school newspaper and starting the Coffee House which is all about bringing poetry and music to life. She has put great effort into pushing her students to do their best and to get the best, and she creates and promotes DonorsChoose fundraisers to provide students with the best material to celebrate their creativity. No matter what she is going through in her personal life she bounces back and returns to smiling, singing, and encouraging her students to do their best. 

Daniela Esposito, one of our other English teachers, has worked with Joanne for 10 years. She says that one of her favorite memories of working with Joanne was on “The Shakespeare Faire.” The Shakespeare Faire first started on March 19th, 2019 by Kyle, Daniela, and Joanne. At the time Kyle was teaching Shakespeare like Joanne and Daniela, so they came to the idea of making a celebration of Shakespeare. Daniela said that one word to describe Joanne is “passionate”. When Joanne’s mind is set to something, nothing is going to change her mind. Daniela also explained that Joanne’s best classes have been “any writing class that she teaches.” She has taught Journalism, Poetry, Senior English, and Creative Writing.  Daniela’s wish for Joanne on her retirement is that the extra time will provide her with opportunities to have more fun with her husband.

Mackenzie Guasco, who is one of Joannes’ former guidance students, said that her favorite memories with Joanne are helping with the Praxair crafts setting up for the Coffee Houses and Friday gifts.  Joanne started Friday Gifts at ACE with her guidance students because her dad used to do Friday gifts for her and her mom when she was growing up. She loved it so much she wanted to continue it with her guidance kids. I then asked which Coffee House was her favorite and Mackenzie said “Last year because I was able to not only help set up but be able to perform as well.”  

Joanne plans on going back to being a home-based travel agent which was her profession before becoming a teacher. Joanne also plans to return often to sub and reminisce about all the good moments she had here with the staff and students. I can’t speak for everyone but I know that Joanne has left a lasting impact  on past and present students. We will miss Joanne very much. She will always be a part of our ACE family.



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About the Contributors
Lilly Saldanha, Staff Writer
Mackenzie Guasco
Mackenzie Guasco, Staff Writer
This is Mackenzie! To most of her friends and family it's Kenzie or Kenz. In her free time she likes to hangout with friends and family or watch Greys Anatomy or teaching herself a new song on the keyboard, guitar, or drums. Mackenzie started at ACE her freshman year straight of middle school. During 7th grade the whole world shut down due to covid. It was a big change for her as she was spending more time at home not being able to see any of her friends and not being able to even leave the house. During the summer Mackenzie loves going to the beach and riding her skateboard on the boardwalk. She has a younger sister named Grace who is a year younger than she is and goes to DHS. She says that having her own space to create who she is, is a good idea. Mackenzie is the first generation to come to ACE, both of her parents graduated from DHS.  
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  • N

    Nan SchultMay 29, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    I love the comment that Joanne will return to sub and reminisce about “all the good moments she had with staff and students…. “. But I would add that the staff and all the students will always be remembering the “extraordinary” moments they experienced and learned from a very dedicated teacher who loved what she was doing!!! A dedicated friend..nan

    Reply
    • J

      Joanne TollesMay 29, 2024 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you so much, Nan. You have been a very large part of my work at ACE for the last two-plus decades. Blessings.

      Reply