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a Difference


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I gulped mightily on page 32 of Jesse's story, and I cried when the class exploded in exuberance for Alicia on page 101. In between, I wondered whether I would have experienced better success in mathematics had I had a teacher like Sam "Cal" Calavitta. From the outset of Making A Difference...One Student at a Time, you get a sense of the unyielding care and discipline Calavitta infuses into his teaching as he encourages students to be their best. This book is a challenge to all teachers to set the bar high, dare to try new strategies to engage students in learning, and through it all, have fun. Well done, Mr. Cal!

Barbara Thompson

I am excited to read this book! He still remains my favorite teacher! I think of all the many wonderful things I learned from him always makes me smile!

Jamie Lynn Fischer Granados

The Calavitta family is one of a kind! Ty was so lucky he got to be in his class. We are blessed having all of them in our lives! Amazing people....

Natalie Jennings Wilcox

What a terrific, inspirational book. Each individual story grabs the reader until the end of the book. Kudos to Sam for recognizing the importance of what recognition and caring can do in a young persons life.


I have known Cal for over 15 years and he is one amazing man with an amazing family. He inspired my high school students (now adults) to reach in so many directions without limits. His way is awesome. I encourage anyone to read this. There has to be some wonderful wisdom in this book. Just having a conversation with him makes you think you can do anything!

Sally Nelson Wilcox

When Antonio came by with your terrific new book as a gift, know that it meant something significant to me, and I'm sure you know why. I read it the first night. You should be proud, no humbled, really, at the inspiration within its pages; and while my own career has had more privileged and fewer marginalized students, these anecdotes resonate still much the same with me, for I'm driven by the same love. I hope this story finds its way into many hands with open minds and open hearts for the sake of countless kids who are looking for goodness, hope, integrity, and such things that go beyond academic excellence.

Don Gebler

After having read Sam Calavitta's book, "Making a Difference, One Student at a Time", I was so blessed to see how he managed to communicate what he actually does so magnificently. I was blessed to serve as Superintendent of Schools while Sam was teaching at Calvary Chapel High School, and it is about time his story reaches a greater public. Reading the stories in this book, and knowing about many of them personally, I must stress that these are samples of what Sam does, but they are not unusual for him. I could tell you hundreds of stories of the young lives Sam has touched, each of them being every bit as inspiring as the ones contained in this book. It wasn't easy for Sam to write about himself, because he is one of the most humble men I know, but his impact on students is profound, and the stories are endless.I have had the privilege to work with many outstanding educators, in my over 25 years in education, but Sam is the best teacher I've ever worked with, and his passion for the art and craft of teaching is unparalleled in my experience. When Sam left our school, to move to Montana, we were devastated, and didn't know what we would do with our six Advanced Placement Calculus classes. One of the classes was the most advanced BC Calculus class, for which it is almost impossible to find qualified teachers. Sam assured me that his top students could teach themselves, and that he would help them through email. That gave me the crazy idea to ask Sam if he thought these top seniors could not only teach themselves, but could they also teach the other Calculus classes. Sam assured me that they could, and that he would walk them through the year via email and telephone contact. The rest of the school staff thought I was nuts but Sam negotiated on behalf of his students so that the top five high school senior Calculus students would get free tuition, college references concerning their high school teaching experience, master keys, and faculty parking spaces. At the end of the year our AP Calculus grades were the highest in the County, and it was a year we'll never forget.But of all the stories about Mister Cal, there is one that is closest to my heart. My oldest son William was never very motivated as a student, and was more into surfing than studying. But he was really impressed with Sam, and wanted nothing more than to have him as a teacher. But the lower level math teachers wouldn't allow him into the advanced classes that would have prepared him for Calculus. They said he just didn't have the ability. Against the advice of everyone else in the math department, Sam agreed to let William in his class. Sam believed in William when no one else did and it changed my son's life. He not only excelled in the class, and on the AP exam, but his other grades turned around as well. He now makes a living doing math, as a Civil Engineer, and he credits Cal for inspiring him to do what no one else thought he could do.

Dave Rolph

I have just finished Sam and Monica's book and I have to say it's a fantastic book. All you need to do is read the first page and before you know it, you are halfway through the book!Sam has exemplified the model teacher and sets the bar for all educators. It really puts everything we teachers do or DO NOT do in the classroom into perspective.Thanks for the added spark of motivation!

Erica Blair