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Emily Dinoto captures the hearts of students with a smile and a warm hello.

Toughest day of the year

Sad good-byes exchanged last day of classes

March 17, 2017 — 

For Emily Dinoto, known as the person behind the counter with a warm, welcoming smile at the Hard Chalk Café, it was the toughest day of the year: The last day of classes.

She exchanged many hugs and sad good-byes from students as she closed shop until September, the start of the next school year.

Students also showered Dinoto with greeting cards and gifts—beauty creams, oils, and bubble baths. …. “and even an adult colouring book!” she says, laughing.

What’s her secret? For Dinoto, connecting with students is as easy as a smile and hello.

“The best thing that could happen is when a student walks by with their head down like they don’t want to be noticed, and you end up being friends with that person.”

“I think that’s the best feeling for me—ever!” she says.

To many students, Emily quickly becomes a confident, sharing their stresses, fears and frustrations—something she does not take for granted.

“That’s special, too because you know they trust you. I had nine phone calls from kids today who didn’t have classes, just to say goodbye. So that’s pretty special, I think.”

Dinoto says her experiences at the Hard Chalk fill her with hope for the future.

“If our future is in the hands of these students, the future looks great,” she says.

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