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Westmount elementary teacher strives to be the difference every day

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There are few teachers who know their schools as well as Alexandra Zorbas. Her love of learning began at Westmount Park Elementary School, and 50 years later, she is now one of the school's most beloved teachers.

"I was here through my whole elementary years!" said Zorbas. 

Her academic journey came full circle when the student returned as a teacher after earning her education degree from Concordia University.

"I love the community feeling. I love the parents, the families, and especially my colleagues," said Miss Alex, as she's known to her students. 

Her colleagues say they're lucky to have her. 

"Alex is a mentor to other teachers," said Debbie Beitel, a retired teacher who has come back specifically to help out in Miss Alex's classroom. 

"Miss Alex is always ready," said kindergarten teacher Melanie Dignard. "She's over-prepared, which makes it even better for everyone else that shows up, and she's so positive." 

That positive energy extends to lessons that include reading, writing and relationships.

"They need to know how to resolve conflicts and to work together and to work with each other," said Zorbas. 

After 34 years of teaching, she still has the gusto to keep going. 

"She's one of those high-skill, high-will people," said principal Marco Gagliardi. "She's got not only the experience, but she's got the will to continue to do it and continue improving her methods as well." 

Her students agree.

"She always has spare cupcakes!" kindergartener Eliot Greco said.

The English Montreal School Board's (EMSB) Facebook page is full of comments from former students about how Miss Alex made them feel special.

"This is the best class I ever saw!" said her current student, Joud Alghamdi.

Zorbas said she strives to be the difference in someone's day.  

"I love the inner city," she said. "I love the kids who are having difficulty. I love to try and make a difference in their life and to make it work for them."  

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