"The program was both thoughtfully conceived and masterfully implemented"


Northampton, MA 01062

Marshal Givens
JFK Middle School
100 Bridge Rd
Florence, MA 01062

February 20, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

    My name is Marshal Givens and I am the 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher for
the Wild West Team, and Nick Kachulis has asked me to write a letter in
support of the continued funding of the Ancient Greece Project.  I do so
willingly and without reservation or hesitation.

    Allow me to begin by saying the Ancient Greece Interdisciplinary Unit was a
profound success.  With Nick as the driving force throughout, the program
was both thoughtfully conceived and masterfully implemented.
evidence of the program’s success were the hundreds of exhibits on display
for students, parents, and visitors during the showcase on December 22,
2006, however, less tangible but just as important evidence of engagement
was on display every day.

    I met Nick for the first time last year when I was approached about the
extension of the Ancient Greece Interdisciplinary Unit into all 7th grade
teams.  When we met this year to review the unit I was impressed by the
level of sophistication of the teaching materials.  Nick provided teachers
with two binders that included calendars, pre-teaching and post-teaching
materials, information for topic extensions, and much more.  These materials
were clearly chosen to provide both breadth and depth to the topics for
students with multiple learning styles.

    Before the program began I was concerned about the eight week time frame
Nick outlined in our meetings.  I worried eight weeks would be too much time
for students to maintain their enthusiasm and engagement - I was wrong.  
Nick Kachulis is a master storyteller, and he used this gift, along with
maps and images, to bring the world of the Ancient Greeks to life for our
students.  His lessons, which reflected the State standards for this topic,
helped me to re-imagine what is possible when teaching classical
civilizations.  The authenticity of Nick’s commitment to the students via
this quality of his presentations was instantly recognizable and proved to
be the cornerstone of an immediate rapport with our students.  My students
were constantly asking “Is Mr. Kachulis coming today” or saying “I found
something about Greece on the internet / in the newspaper I want to show Mr.
Kachulis.”  At the end of the program, most students, I include myself in
this category, realized the
past eight weeks had been an experience we would
be talking about many years later.

    As I stated earlier, the culmination of the program was a massive material
display of student work that we refer to as the Ancient Greece Showcase.  
Nick provided the students with many choices of topics and ideas for
presentations.  He volunteered his own time outside of the program to
advise, assist, and encourage the students in their endeavors.  In the end
we displayed projects created in and based on information received in Social
Studies, English, Art, and Music.  I could give you details about the
individual projects but it was the overall effect of the hundreds of
projects all assembled in our school’s Community Room which most bears
mentioning.  For the first time in my experience as a teacher I saw what is
possible when teachers engage the same topic in multiple classrooms at the
same time.  I’ll leave you with one example - three students wrote a short
skit about the Peloponnesian War (Social Studies) with a sideplot about
Greek Mythology and Plays (English) which used masks made in Art and began
with a short piece of Ancient Greek music performed with a flute - this
level of cross-curricular integration was only possible because of the
expertise of Nick Kachulis.

    In closing, I look forward welcoming Nick Kachulis back to my classroom
 next year.

                                    Marshal Givens