Mr Mazzeralli Falcon Spotlight

Get to know Saint Stephen’s newest Mandarin teacher!


Mr. Mazzarelli

Mr. Mazzarelli has been all around the world, but fortunately for us, he’s landed here.

Yara Nimer, Staff Writer

This year, Saint Stephen’s welcomed a new Mandarin teacher to the Upper and Middle school. Mr. Jack Mazzarelli came from Taiwan, having moved to Florida three weeks before the semester started. The minute he stepped on campus, Mr. Mazzarelli said he just knew:“Saint Stephen’s was the perfect fit.”

If you don’t take Mandarin– as many of us don’t– you may not know Mr. Mazzarelli. This is why the Gauntlet took the opportunity to sit down and ask Mr Mazzarelli some questions so the student body can know him better.

Q:Where are you from?

A: “I’m from upstate New York, I moved here three weeks before the semester started from Taipei, Taiwan. I was in Taipei finishing my Chinese degree.”

Q:How did you learn Mandarin?

A: “I learned Mandarin on a whim. Originally, I went to school for chemistry at the University of Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island had a program where they partnered with the Department of Defense, and I really wanted to learn a new language so I decided to learn the language that had the most sources at the school. When I took my first Mandarin class, I fell in love with it and that’s when I decided that that was going to be my major.”

Q:Why did you choose to teach Mandarin?

A: “Shortly before I went to Taiwan, I was invited to work at an immersion school at the University of Rhode Island. For eight weeks I couldn’t speak English, because if you spoke English you would either be kicked out of the major or you would have to redo the year. Shortly after, I was asked to become a teacher. A question I would often ask myself was, “How did this language come to me so easily?” I had taken Spanish for eight years and I still can’t speak it, but I took four years of Mandarin and I can do chemistry and physics in Mandarin.

Q:What is your favorite part about Saint Stephen’s?

A: “I would have to say the community. When I was applying for jobs, I realized that this was the only school I wanted to teach at. After the interviews and meeting the people, I knew that this was going to be a second home to me. I can say that I have never had a student say thank you for class before arriving at Saint Stephen’s. Now, it’s something that happens almost everyday. The manners and community makes it feel like people really enjoy being here and I have a lot of respect for that”

Q:What is your favorite hobby?

A: “My favorite hobby is definitely ceramics. I’ve been doing pottery since I was eight years old and that’s actually what got me into Chinese. I used to make little ceramic flutes. When I was in Taiwan, we used to make these flutes called ocarinas. So when I was in Taiwan, I used to spend a lot of time looking at pottery.

Q:What is the best part of being a teacher?

A:“Definitely seeing the growth of the kids I teach. When you’re teaching a tonal language that uses symbols instead of an alphabet, you start from ground zero. There are a lot of markers where you see growth; for example, when a student recognizes a complicated character or when a student says a full sentence in Mandarin.”

If you see Mr. Mazzeralli in the halls make sure to welcome him to the SSES community!