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Posted: May 5, 2015

Long-Time Japanese Language Teacher Recognized

Chiharu Weisgerber of the Career Enrichment Center has been honored as a Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

Chiharu Weisgerber started teaching Japanese at the Career Enrichment Center 17 years ago. Just one session at first. Then two. Now three sessions covering Japanese 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (Advanced Placement).

Ms. Weisgerber, who was honored recently as the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month, said she loves seeing progress in each of her students. "A student who knew nothing about Japanese can write a short essay at the end of the first year," she said.

She said many of her students have continued studying Japanese at college and beyond. "I receive letters, emails, and surprise visits from them telling me that they have been to Japan and how important Japanese has been to their life," she said.

Ms. Weisgerber is a big fan of Star Trek, which motivated her in middle school to study English and to study abroad in the United States, which eventually led her to her career and life in New Mexico.

"Language is a tool to communicate," she tells her students. "Do not study Japanese just because you need language credits. Follow your interest in Japanese language and culture (even video games, anime, or manga) and motivate yourself to study so that you can use the language in the future to pursue your goals."  

Pepsi, in partnership with the APS Education Foundation, recognizes APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community.  The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $100 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website, social media and electronic billboards.