After All These Years
Ballou Moving on After 24 Years at GM
October 3, 2002
Ms. Tamara Ballou, who has taught in the Falls Church City Public Schools for just under a quarter of a century, will leave George Mason tomorrow to begin her new career with the Fairfax County Public Schools. She will become the administrator of Fairfax’s Curriculum and Instruction Special Programs.
While Ms. Ballou has taught middle school English and health, she is best known as the family life and sex education teacher and coordinator. She has also chaired just about every major committee that the school has, most recently the High School Planning Committee. When she taught sixth grade, she was, along with the sixth grade team, named a recipient of the first Agnes Meyer Washington Post Outstanding Teacher Award.
In addition to her
teaching duties, Ms. Ballou distinguished herself through her sponsorship
and administration of key school clubs and programs, including AIDS Awareness,
Peer Mentoring and the Crayon Box. Lasso Online asked members and former
members of those organizations to share their thoughts about Mrs. Ballou.
Below are their tributes.
Student Tributes to Ms. Ballou
By Crayon Box Member Jenny Davis (October 2, 2002)
When I saw the need to educate my peers on tolerance and diversity I spoke to Mrs. Ballou about starting the gay straight alliance. She was very supportive and pointed me in the right direction to get the groups started. She also agreed to be our teacher advisor. She played an instrumental part in getting the group sponsored by the school. She continued to offer assistance whenever the group was in need. This included organizing the Day of Silence," contacting useful organizations and making future plans and ideas for the groups. Ms. Ballou's dedication and caring spirit will be truly missed by all the members of The Crayon Box.
By Nadia Rahawi, Four-Year Peer Mentor (October 2, 2002)
As we strive for a sense of unification between the middle and high schools at George Mason, I can honestly say that the Peer Mentoring Program has proven to be a wonderful enhancement. It not only provides an excellent opportunity for the older and more experienced students to volunteer advice and friendship to the younger generation, but also fosters a welcoming environment within our schools as a whole. However, I assure you that none of this would be possible without the support and assistance of this program’s supervisor, Mrs. Ballou. Throughout my years as a peer mentor I’ve seen her work hard to make improvements so that it is easier than ever to be that ideal "good mentor." She has continually been available and eager to help to the best of her abilities all of us who have run into difficulties. If it weren’t for her own efforts, ideas, organization, patience and guidance—"mentoring" if you will—this program could not have reached the success it has today. Most importantly, though, her hard work has always been accompanied by a warm smile and a caring attitude."
By Jessica Tyson, GM Graduate, Former AIDS Awareness Member
At some point during the first few
weeks of 9th grade, a friend made me promise to go to the first
rally of the very new AIDS Awareness Committee. What I saw at that meeting
impressed me to no end: Students working to communicate to other students
what they felt was important, sharing their ideas and their concerns. It
didn’t occur to me until later, when I began to work closely with the committee,
that there was someone else present, Mrs. Ballou. Mrs. Ballou was there
in the back of the room, helping us in the best way a teacher can—by letting
us figure out how to proceed by ourselves, stepping in only as a guide.
Mrs. Ballou’s guidance and sponsorship of the GMHS AIDS Awareness Committee
was absolutely invaluable, allowing us as students to learn how to plan,
work through problems, and reach other students.