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May 18, 2012 > Beloved teacher Trish Nunes is retiring

Beloved teacher Trish Nunes is retiring

Submitted By Ida Wong

That old phrase, "They broke the mold when they made her," couldn't be truer of any other teacher than it is of Ms. Trish Nunes, PE (Physical Education) teacher at Warm Springs Elementary School. Referred to as "The Pied Piper of Warm Springs," by Mrs. Ethel Murphy, one of her past principals, Ms. Nunes has spent the last 33-1/2 years of her life endearing herself to countless students and their families whose lives she has touched as teacher, mentor, and friend.

Coming from a family that was among the early settlers of Fremont, Nunes has followed in the tradition of her great-grandfather Oliveira and grandmother, Mrs. Carrie Nunes. Her great-grandfather was a long time school trustee for whom Oliveira Elementary was named; Ms. Nunes' grandmother worked many years for Washington High School, and still supports education long after her passing, with a "Carrie Nunes" Family Annual Scholarship Fund.

Leaving her own legacy, Trish Nunes will be remembered by the children in countless ways. They will remember her for giving out "Dungeon Dollars" to be traded for prizes like baseball caps, or the privilege of being PE teacher for a class period. They'll recall the crazy nicknames she assigned to both students and teachers, like "Foghorn Leghorn," "Gobbledygook," "Muffie," or "Alphabet Soup." When they see a Mickey Mouse, they'll remember how much she loved Disneyland, and a shopping cart will remind them of all the students clamoring to push Ms. Nunes' cart full of PE equipment.

And, they'll certainly think of her and smile when they drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains and picture her challenging them to kiss a banana slug at Science Camp. They will remember how she believed in them, encouraged them, and was always ready to listen. When they see a kid out of control, they'll hear Ms. Nunes' voice calling out, "Go hug a pole," and Popsicle sticks will forever remind them of running around the blacktop, counting laps for the monthly mile.

Ms. Nunes didn't believe in just putting in her time teaching PE, but supported the students, the school and her colleagues in more ways than can be listed. She was basketball coach, Student Counselor Advisor, and Science Camp teacher. She headed up Jump Rope for Heart, earning over $10,000 for the American Heart Association (AHA), and started a Running Club before school to increase awareness of healthy living, which resulted in kids collectively running hundreds of miles each year. She helped raise school funds as Fall Stampede Coordinator, Script Coordinator, Education Association Coordinator, and started the Partners In Education Program.

Ms. Nunes chaired the 60th Warm Springs School anniversary celebration and co-chaired the 75th anniversary. In addition, she was a support provider for beginning teachers, a member of the Student Study Team and on the Fremont Unified School District's PE Curriculum Committee. Nunes was a member of the California Teachers Association, a Program Leadership Team Member, and Fremont Unified District Teacher Association representative for many years. She never passed up an opportunity to serve her students and her school.

Honored frequently throughout her career, Nunes earned the AHA Educational Award, AHA Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Service Award. She was also presented with multiple Sylvan Favorite Teacher Awards, the James Leitch and Warm Springs PTA Volunteer of the Month Awards, and nominated as a finalist for the Fremont Unified School District Employee of the Year Award. She's listed in Who's Who in American Teachers. We could go on and on...

When asked about her plans once she retires, the list was almost as long as the list of service and activities from her teaching career. Ms. Nunes is looking forward to spending time with her family and traveling during Spring Training and, at the top of her list, visiting every MLB (Major League Baseball) Stadium. She's excited to have more time to go antiquing, work on genealogy, play tennis and golf, and maybe even learn how to play the piano. Then, of course, there is her first love - the beach!

It's hard to imagine school beginning in the fall without this larger-than-life personality welcoming back her many children from their summer of fun, and greeting "newbies" to the campus. If you ask anyone, they'll say Ms. Nunes IS Warm Springs. Recently a Facebook page was started by ex-students from 15+ years ago, and the first thing many recall is Ms. Nunes. She will be leaving her name behind, engraved on a commemorative tile on the wall near her beloved gym, and inscribed again on one of the special bricks marking Warm Springs School's 75th celebration.

But the most important thing Trish Nunes will leave behind is a big part of her heart and a legacy of love and concern for the children and families of the Warm Springs community.

All are invited to come and celebrate Ms. Nunes on Friday, June 8, 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., at Warm Springs School!

Celebration for Trish Nunes
Friday, June 8
3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Warm Springs Elementary School
47370 Warm Springs Blvd., Fremont
(510) 656-1611

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