Daniella Mizrahi (‘17) began attending MMFS in 10th grade and credits her positive experience here for helping her come out of her shell and let her true self shine.
Daniella was among the first students to take American Sign Language (ASL) at MMFS. “The ASL class changed my life, and it made me look forward to college as well as to my future career.” MMFS has offered ASL as a language option since the upper school opened in 2010. Daniella points to the exciting learning environment of her classes with ASL teachers Amanda Toomey and Rick Caceres and the opportunities to share her signing skills in front of peers during final projects as tremendous confidence boosters.
Daniella went on to major in Deaf Studies at LaGuardia Community College, inspired not only by her MMFS ASL classes but also by the discrimination her sister faced by educators due to her partial deafness. “I felt as if I needed to do this for my sister and for others out there that are put down for how they were born/are. A disability does not define you.”
Daniella began her career as a preschool teacher in 2019. She uses her confident, kind, and bubbly personality in her work, aiming to create spaces where students feel a sense of warmth and safety, similar to what she experienced at MMFS. She herself arrived at MMFS from a learning environment that was unsupportive of her learning disabilities, and found the upper school to be the breath of fresh air she needed to complete her high school education with confidence. “Don’t let anyone ruin your sparkle. You can succeed just like I did! Push yourself and never ever give up!”
As a teacher, she says, “I teach based on what the kids feel most comfortable with. I teach with a Reggio Emilia approach (an educational philosophy based on the image of a child with strong potentialities for development). I like how kids can express their emotions using anything they want. Whether it’s coloring or playing with blocks or just sitting quietly and reading a book. I enjoy what I do and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Daniella continues to take on life’s challenges with an open mind and excitement to learn and grow each day. “Being a teacher showed me that nobody is perfect. I am very happy with where I am and how far I’ve gone.”