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The Patriot Press

Van Ness and O’Neill Earn Teacher and Student of the Month Kudos

By Seth Friedman and Tanasia Weaver

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This month’s Student and Teacher of the Month have been announced, and history teacher Christopher Van Ness and student Kelly O’Neill are the winners.

One of the main things that O’Neill, a junior,  volunteers with the STARS program.  She says that she loves to participate because “no matter what is going on in their lives, they always have a smile on their face.”

O’Neill has an active school calendar of events and is in All Wayne Orchestra, French National Honor Society, and Art Honor Society.  She also volunteers at a preschool where she reads the children stories and plays the piano for them.  She also helps the teacher out with the class.

With her passion for teaching and children,  when she goes to college, she plans on double majoring in French and elementary/special education.

Van Ness, a World Studies teacher, graduated from Jefferson Township high school and attended Rutgers University where he obtained his degree in history.  After graduating, he sent out 400 resumes to apply for teaching jobs and ended up at Hills, chalking his appointment up to sheer luck.

In his free time he likes to hike, kayak, listen to music, specifically Indian Funk, and read.

Van Ness has wanted to be a teacher from a very young age.  Originally, he was interested in science and wanted to be a Chemistry teacher, but he then switched his base to history.  He has taught AP Government here at Hills in the past and is currently a world history teacher for freshman.

“It is nice seeing the growth into adulthood, seeing the movement of students from freshman to seniors.  That is why I love teaching the freshman,” said Van Ness.


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The student news site of Wayne Hills High School
Van Ness and O’Neill Earn Teacher and Student of the Month Kudos