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Faculty Members Share Their Yearbook Dedication Experiences

After+last+year%27s+dedication+ceremony%2C+honoree+Mr.+Marshall+Mullnix+%28right%29+poses+with+retired+science+teacher+Mr.+Tim+Sanders.
After last year's dedication ceremony, honoree Mr. Marshall Mullnix (right) poses with retired science teacher Mr. Tim Sanders.

After last year's dedication ceremony, honoree Mr. Marshall Mullnix (right) poses with retired science teacher Mr. Tim Sanders.

Mrs. Hansen

Mrs. Hansen

After last year's dedication ceremony, honoree Mr. Marshall Mullnix (right) poses with retired science teacher Mr. Tim Sanders.

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Every year, The Benjamin Middle School dedicates the Azimuth, the division’s yearbook, to a deserving teacher or staff member. The members of the Journalism and Web Media class, who produce the yearbook and write articles for The Neersyde, choose each year’s dedicatee with a little help from the course instructors: Mr. Nicholas Crisafi and Dr. Cristina James.

As is tradition, the yearbook is revealed on the last day of school at a morning assembly in the Barker Performing Arts Center. At that assembly, the journalism and web media students present the Azimuth’s theme for that particular year, explain why they chose it, and reveal to whom the yearbook is dedicated.

Over the past five years, Crisafi and James have tried to make the dedication even more special by secretly inviting members of the dedicatee’s family so the individual is surprised when he or she is announced. Over that span, those who have had the Azimuth dedicated to them include Mrs. Kathleen Devine, Mrs. Cathryn Hansen, Mr. Charles Hagy, Mrs. Carol Labzda, and Mr. Marshall Mullnix.

“I was totally shocked they picked me,” said Labzda, a world language teacher who earned the dedication two years ago for her hard work and dedication. “I could not believe it – I was totally amazed. Also when they pulled the curtains open, my friends Mrs. [Lisa] Arline, Mrs. [Jane Higginbotham], and Mrs. [Marci] York were sitting there and my daughter was, too.”

Mr. Mullinix, the Middle School’s history department chair, had the Azimuth dedicated to him last year and also had no idea what was in store for him.“ Mr brother, his wife, and my family were invited, and my daughter and her husband were invited,” said Mullnix. “I did not even know they were down here. My brother and his wife came from Iowa, and my daughter and her husband got off from work that day. I was very surprised and happy that they came, but I was happier and more surprised by the dedication of the yearbook.”

For English Department Chair Mrs. Kathleen Devine, her dedication in 2012 was unforgettable. “It was one of my best days ever at Benjamin,” she said. “My two sons, my daughter, and my two grandaughters came.”

Each yearbook dedication is carefully thought out and planned, and no one is to know about it, except for the journalism and web media staff, Crisafi, James, and Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy.

Eighth grader Skyler Zur, this year’s yearbook editor, explained how the staff is able to keep such a big secret from the other students and teachers at school. “It’s an honor for us, because we are the only students who know,” said Zur. “We take it seriously and don’t tell anybody else, that way it’s really a dramatic surprise at the assembly.”

Crisafi feels the pains the staff goes through to choose each honoree and plan the final assembly make it a memorable event.

“I think it is definitely special for [the honoree] to be recognized by a group of students and the collective Middle School,” he said. “And then to have your family there makes it an even bigger deal. I hope it makes it a truly exceptional event for the individual to whom we dedicate the Azimuth.”

So who will this year’s recipient be? Don’t ask the yearbook staff – their lips are sealed until the final assembly in the BPAC on May 26.

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The official student news site of The Benjamin Middle School in North Palm Beach, FL
Faculty Members Share Their Yearbook Dedication Experiences