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ACE Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Dalrymple Program Advocate and Student Cheerleader

Updated: Oct 18, 2023


School: Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at John Hay Campus

"Just watching a kid who struggles with something and then figures it out is a magical moment that I wish teachers weren't the only ones who experience it. Because these magical moments are what make it worth everything.” - Sarah Dalrymple, ACE Program Advocate

Over her 19-year career as a teacher, Sarah Dalrymple has touched the lives of thousands of high-school-aged students. Sarah, or Ms. D as her students affectionately call her, consciously plans each lesson to foster student’s strengths at a time in their lives when it is most critical to future success. Guided by a principle to never complain about her work more than she brags about it, Ms. D seeks to nourish students to help them realize or achieve their goals.

As a driving force in creating Cleveland’s first ACE Mentor Program team, Ms. D is a strong advocate of the program. And even admittedly “still cries at every presentation night” as she swells with pride for the hard work of so many students. Ms. D is a firm believer in the power of influencing students’ lives by giving them direction and simply taking a committed interest in their lives. In an effort to continually enrich the lives of her students, Ms. D realized the positive impact the mentorship relationships developed in ACE had on her students.

Thanks to the hard work of Ms. D and her colleagues at John Hay’s Cleveland School of Architecture & Design, the ACE Mentor Program has become so successful among students that enrollment in the program is consistently full. As the success rates of students in ACE continues to grow, we are reminded of how important mentorship can be in creating a positive future for our youth.

In an effort to focus solely on providing guidance in students’ lives, Ms. D is currently pursuing a degree in counseling; and will forever be a proud advocate of enriching students lives through the ACE Mentor Program. Read our full interview with Ms. D below.

Who would you say inspires or motivates you?

This is going to sound corny, but I really think a lot of the time it's my students. Like when you think about someone like TyJuan who is motivated, curious, passionate, and just needs direction; that motivates me to do my job better. Because if I do my job poorly someone like him might not find the thing they need, or find the right path to live up to their potential.

Who do you think is more nervous on the first day of school, you or the students?

At year 19, they are, but I always have first day of school anxiety. Every single year. The night before school starts I do not sleep no matter how prepared I think I am. Like I could have every copy like laid out and everything written on the board so that everything's ready, it’s not about preparedness. You know we're gonna set the tone on day one, I have to be in a good mood, I have to be positive, I have to you know make eye contact, shake hands, high five. Like one wrong move could set the tone for the whole year. So there is pressure.

What advice would you give to someone considering getting involved in ACE for the first time from your perspective as a mentor or as a teacher?

Make it a long term commitment because students are so aware of your commitment level. They know, like they're acutely aware of who is demonstrating their commitment. They are acutely aware of who's in it because they care and who is just here because their boss is saying you need to do. If you aren’t able to make like a two-year commitment where you are here consistently enough that, especially with this audience of students, this is an audience of students who have faced adults who gave up on them and dismissed them and never invested in them in the first place and that's what they're used to. You have to be willing to break that cycle and prove to them you’re here. You'll get more out of them if that happens.

What is your favorite aspect of the ACE program?

ACE has follow through in a way that a lot of other programs do not. I’m able to tell my kids that if you do this program for two years and fill out this 6-question essay application for the scholarship, if you do these things you will get money. And you’re a junior in just watching a kid who struggles with something and then figures it out is a magical moment that I wish teachers weren't the only ones who experience it. Because these magical moments are what make it worth everything.


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