Lilia Arfinengo

Our staff person of the month comes from our Bi lingual Department.  Ms. Lilia Arfinengo is our staff person of the Month.  Her vice principal, Mr. Brian Donovan nominated her and she was selected overwhelmingly by the students.  Ms. Arfinengo was born in Brazil and came to East Side in 2015 from Barringer.

She has been teaching Social Studies since 2010.  She has a Master s Degree in Social Studies Education from Rutgers University.  She is dedicated to provide opportunities for her students to improve self-confidence and self-knowledge.  Her dedication to her students is so remarkable and here is what her Vice Principal, Mr. Donovan wrote about her.

Around a year ago today, one of our Bilingual Portuguese Social Studies teacher, Lilia Arfinengo, met with the father of Larissa and Gabriel Sobral-Melo at the back to school night meeting.  The father expressed his loss of hope with his son Gabriel and wanted to give up on him. Gabriel was rebellious and wasn’t doing well in his classes or putting in his part at home.  Their father proceeded to explain how their mother left them when they were nine and five years of age and that they have struggled throughout life. Additionally, their transition from Brazil to Newark had been very difficult.  Mrs. Arfinengo promised the father that she would treat them as if they were her own kids and help them with whatever they needed.  The father had to make a difficult decision later in the year and decided to move to Colorado for a job and he took Gabriel and Larissa with him (this was around February of 2017).  Mrs. Arfinengo kept her promise and provided advice and support even after they transferred out of East Side.  Mrs. Arfinengo was a very successful lawyer in Brazil before she came to the USA. As a result, she decided to help Gabriel fix a driving ticket he received before they moved (very important, especially since they are undocumented). For the past six months both Mrs. Arfinengo and her husband have been communicating with both of them and tutoring them in ALL of their homework and making sure they have what they need (over the phone/Skype).  However, just last Tuesday, their father tragically passed away due to a heart attack.  Mrs. Arfinengo texted me at 3am saying she would be out the next three days so she could help them; they literally have no one else. She took three personal days and flew out to Colorado and helped to get them in contact with two lawyers and helped them figure EVERYTHING out.  She even found them a place to live in Denver (far from where they were living) with two Brazilians who were willing to take them in.  “This is the type of stuff that got me into education in the first place, “she said.  She is truly an incredible person.

So congratulations to Ms. Lilia Arfinengo for being selected Our Staff Person of the Month.