Remembering Mrs. Giza

Jenna Rowen-Delson, Staff Writer

On Monday, May 24, an email went out to Monroe-Woodbury High School families and students, letting us know the devastating news that beloved geometry teacher Susan Giza had passed away.
Mrs. Giza was loved by every person that passed through her classroom. She was passionate about her students and what she was teaching; everyone could tell how much she loved and enjoyed her job. She would come in every day wearing t-shirts with geometry puns on them and would be so excited to explain the joke. Once you got her started on how cute her dogs were or how proud she was of her daughters it was hard to stop. And she loved sloths, even letting me pet the small stuffed sloth animal she had around her classroom.
I don’t like math very much, and yet I always enjoyed walking into her class at nine o’clock in the morning. Mrs. Giza was so cheery and patient, and knew how to keep us engaged. She made sure no student ever fell behind.
I think an experience that best speaks to Mrs. Giza didn’t even happen in her classroom. Last year, I had been talking to an older student in one of my extracurriculars, and somehow we got to a point where he mentioned Mrs. Giza had also been one of his favorite teachers when he had taken geometry. He mentioned that Mrs. Giza had actually gone out of her way to get him a life-guarding job. That’s the kind of person Mrs. Giza was. She cared about her students and went out of her way to help them.
Mrs. Giza was one of those teachers that you will remember forever. She went above and beyond. She knew exactly how to teach in a way that made everyone understand, she always made herself available to students, and would even stay late for extra help, making sure every single student that was struggling got the extra attention they needed.
I’ve heard and read that what makes a teacher memorable is their passion. There is no doubt in my mind that Mrs. Giza had that passion. I know Mrs. Giza has made a lasting impression one not only me, but countless students that have come through her classroom.
“Mrs. Giza made math enjoyable for me again. I had always loved math but once I took algebra 1, I gained a true hate relationship with math. I thought I was the dumbest person alive and I couldn’t understand any of it. Even in my first quarter in her class, I didn’t do the best. That woman never gave up on me. She taught in a way that anyone could understand and even in her honors class, she spoke to us like people, not brainiacs who should know everything. She always offered help and gave us so many chances at correcting our mistakes to help us learn. Our conversations during homeroom ranged from Doris Day, to her extensive teaching career, to her beautiful kids that she was so proud of. I ended up getting a 97 on the Geometry Regents and she immediately emailed me and was the first person to congratulate my score once it was in the grade book. She let me love math again.” – Victoria Banker, former student.
“I just remember when I was going through one of the worst times of my life she would give me the opportunity to succeed and would help me and give me the time I needed to do well in her class.” – Sofia Forestieri, sophomore.
“Mrs. Giza accomplished the unthinkable: she actually made me excited to learn about geometry, something that was not my strong suit. She also made our class fun, whether it be a sloth stuffed animal or funny named triangles. No matter what I was struggling on, she would always be the first to help me in any way I needed. I loved seeing my growth as a math student from her teachings, but also how nice and loving the environment was. She was definitely my favorite teacher from freshman year, but I’ll remember her for much more than math lessons.” – Holly Paterno, sophomore.
I am disappointed that I never got to experience a full school year with Mrs. Giza. Our time was cut short due to COVID-19, and I didn’t know the day I said goodbye to her when school ended early that it would be my last time seeing her.
I feel very sorry for future Monroe-Woodbury students who will not get to experience the joy of having Mrs. Giza as a teacher.
Mrs. Giza, Monroe-Woodbury will miss you very much.