“Years ago, I used to make this joke that there are two conditions to pass eighth grade math, and everybody was paying attention, right? ‘What’s the first condition?’ You need to be able to spell my last name correctly, right, so C-A-C-I-C-O-V-S-C-H-I. Nothing easier than that, right? And everybody would be busy writing it down.”

Math teacher Corina Cacicovschi, or “Ms. C” as she’s affectionately known at AISB, may have set the bar high for her student’s spelling skills, but she’s also well known around AISB for being a caring math teacher who empathizes with students. Though, AISB students are not the only ones she cares for. 

In her own words, here is Cacicovschi’s story:

“I love the fact that I get to work with high-school students in PAVEL, a service learning group. I really believe that this is a worthwhile project and I’ve seen our students in the best possible shape when interacting with sick kids. We visit kids with cancer in the hospital. And you know how high school students are sometimes like, ‘I’m too cool for you, I have clothing and brands.’ But when you go to spend time with a sick kid, you forget about being cool, you forget about brand clothing. Their real angels get out and shine.

I’ve seen students that were worried, like, ‘Miss, I don’t speak Romanian, how am I going to play with those kids.’ And when they get there, they find sign language and playing games and drawing is so much fun. I enjoy going there as I see that we make a difference.

Cacicovschi (top left) and her PAVEL students volunteering with children at Fundeni Oncological Institute. (Submitted photo)

Sometimes, I go to the hospital to help them with math. These kids spend two weeks in the hospital every three months for treatment. When they are in good enough health they are happy to do school work. Doing school work means for them, I’m healthy enough to do school work. So when they hear that they are encouraged to do math, what they hear is Oh, there is hope, I’m good enough to do homework. So when I go there and ask a kid ‘do you want to do math?’ I see their smiles, they want to do math! Because working on math means I’m healthy enough to do school work

I have this image in my eyes of a particular girl. She was in 6th grade and she was in bed with one leg amputated and an I.V. in and she wanted to do math. She worked on some questions and then she asked if she could move on to the next step and her face lit up. She was curious and she wanted to learn more. So for that hour that we spent together she forgot she was sick. She thought about math and she was curious and she wanted to learn more. How could I not enjoy that, you know?”