Student and Parent Testimonials

Here's what VEG students and parents have to say…

January 2015
"My time with Ms. Phillips in school and in Village East Gifted were easily some of the best experiences of my childhood. Participating in the Odyssey of the Mind competition & learning Latin and Greek word roots are just a few of the many memories from my times with Ms. Phillips. Experiences like these have allowed me to "think outside of the box" and now that I am in high school I find myself using many of the things I learned in Village East Gifted everyday. Ms. Phillips is one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable people I know. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who has done more in their lifetime than Ms. P." Andrea R. Grade 6: Dix Hills, NY

April 2009
"Contrary to what other students might think, I'm Ms. P's biggest fan. Personally, I think that the absolutely wonderful, wholly unorthodox and original approach she takes towards teaching academically advanced students more than justifies this sort of dispute. To put it simply: she's worth fighting over. I think Ms. P.'s lifelong philosophy is "thinking outside the box", a belief she spreads wherever she goes. She's always looking for new ways to impact others. Ms. Phillips never reaches the bottom of her well of ideas. Her teaching methods are, quite frankly, genius, and she is individuality's biggest fan. Many of us consider her the finest educator we've ever encountered. One struggles to define Ms. P., but the best word to sum up her multifaceted personality is: awesome." Matt M. Grade 6: Cutchogue/Mattituck, NY

March 2010
"As I was reading Jacques Lacan's Ecrits for class, I stumbled upon a quote of his that struck me as being wonderfully, almost uncannily pertinent, ""The most corrupting of comforts is intellectual comfort, just as the worst of corruptions is corruption of the best." Which, in retrospect, were the exact words I was looking for to explain what I thought to be the core of Ms. P's educational philosophy, as well as the root of its success. It's a beautiful defense of the idea that constant, self-motivated discovery of new knowledge, even from sources generally considered long-spent, is the truest form of learning, rather than the didactic dispensing of previously collected knowledge on the part of some distant, unqualified authority figure." Parent and Professor Debbie K. Roslyn, NY

April 2015
"Quantifiable gains in academic performance are the first and easiest things to point to when parents ask whether or not your program works (because it does, and now the numbers prove it.) Long Island was pretty bad at writing before VEG came along. You're doing the world a service. One of the reasons that your program works so well, at least in my opinion, is that it breaks so radically from the standard high school teaching structure, and thus keeps kids from associating the two and getting fed up with VEG because they're fed up with regular education." Age 15 VEG Alumni @ Bard College

December 2014
"Her pupils (myself included) could not be more devoted to her. To attain this sort of fanatical respect, most other teachers would have to resort to some kind of Big Brother-esque conditioning program; they'd have to forcibly brainwash their kids to attain any level of affection. Ms. P doesn't have that problem. We don't love Ms. P because she's always watching- we love her because she's awesome." Grade 5: Mattituck, NY

November 2008
"I joined Village East Gifted about a year ago. Since then, I have met many people like myself and learned so many valuable skills. I teach my ELA teacher vocabulary terms now. I can interpret the meanings of words in different languages because I know the Latin root words. Village East Gifted is probably one of the best places a gifted child could go to. There are so many amazing students and classes that are not only informational but fun. Suddenly learning SAT terms isn't boring. When I think of going to Village East Gifted it is a good feeling. I know that I'm among friends with a teacher that believes in me and supports me."
Your Student, Arden Tully Grade 8: Northport,NY

January 2008
I am so happy in Mrs. P's class because I learn so many different things. Mrs. P is awesome because she makes everything we learn so exciting and fun. All I can say is that she is great! She is my most favorite teacher ever! Student Smithtown, NY

June 2012
"Our daughter has been at VEG for nearly seven years. I have never seen another teacher with the insight and enthusiasm that Ms. P exudes. She opens new educational doors with her classes and guides each child toward achieving his or her best. Over these many years, I have watched in amazement her energy and care as she teaches the varied subjects she offers and how much the kids enjoy the learning process. Ms. P is a gem! Thank you for all you do - for the honest and true love of learning you've demonstrated and the power of example that you are. We think that you are the best and feel so very fortunate to have you in our lives!"
Lisa D. Melville, NY

October 2014
We are so glad we found you. Every class Andrew finds more & more stimulating. If we are doing something on Sunday , he reminds us all day we have to hurry up because he cannot be late. Your teaching programs are so "out of the box" that he enjoys each and every class. He comes home laughing & smiling and extremely happy. He responds to you objectives and teaching techniques. I just wish everyone of Andrew's teachers were as dedicated and wonderful as you. Dolfina D. Dix Hills, NY

November 2009
"We have seen seismic change in our son since he started at Village East Gifted two years ago at the age of nine. He is very bright and an eager learner, but had not generally shown much imagination, was painfully shy, hesitant to try new things, and a very "in the box" rigid thinker. Under Tobi Phillip's nurturance at VEG, and with the stimulating curriculum and in the company of such intellectually vibrant companions (of various ages, an experience that school and sports do not provide), he has come to life intellectually in ways beyond our hopes. He has become much funnier, more outgoing, much more cognitively flexible, and far more ready to admit to and pursue interests outside the ever-present suburban sports culture. It has also been such a joy to see him working with VEG in the Odyssey of the Mind Competition for the past two years. He has even voluntarily missed sports practices and games - unheard-of for him! - to come to his classes with Ms. Phillips. He enjoyed working with his teammates creating, building, painting, acting, trouble-shooting and finally competing. VEG has been a priceless experience for him - and for us." Jane W. Huntington, NY

April 2014
"One of the things in my life that I am most grateful for is finding Tobi Philips and her school. From day one I knew it was a perfect fit. My son Liam, left her first class beaming with happiness and excitement as he still does to this day, a year later. He will give up anything not to miss one of her classes. As a mother this is such a gratifying and reassuring feeling. She has such a unique and engaging style of teaching that ignites a child's mind with a burning love for learning that you can't extinguish. Something so simple as teaching her students Latin prefixes, suffixes and root words will stay with them forever giving them a broader vocabulary and comprehension of languages. She is a phenomenal teacher and extremely caring individual who cares for each and every child knowing their strengths and weakness' in order for them to continue to grow to their greatest potential. Her energy and creativity is endless. I feel she is making a profound impact in my child's future academic success and that to me is priceless!" Michele McLaughlin, East Northport, NY

September 2009
"I wanted you to know how very appreciative I am of all VEG has done for my children and for me. That one of my children has earned a perfect score on the Math ELA is quite impressive to us. That one of her sibs has earned a perfect score on the English ELA is also impressive. That another of my children has earned the highest score on his high school "brain stormers" team, (on which he's the only freshman), and this while in competition at Yale, thrills us!" Lane R. Dix Hill, NY

October 2010
"Ms. Philips has been a wonderful influence on my son throughout his years at VEG. She sets an example that anything is possible and hard work can be fun when its taught in a caring environment. Her endless energy and creativity in the classroom  sets the tone for a  truly unique learning experience.Every year she continues to set the bar higher for herself and her students. It is a rare gift that she generously shares with anyone who is lucky enough to know her." Denise G. Melville, NY

September 2011
"A Day at VEG": Village East Gifted seemed one of the few programs to offer a promise of something new and radical, yet with feet firmly on the ground. There's a dearth of original or creative thinking in the G & T materials I've read; yours was different. Secondly, time after time in my research the successful schemes (I'll step aside from defining 'successful' for the moment) I've seen have been fired by a passionate and committed individual. I've almost come to believe that it's not the scheme but the person who makes things work. You come over as just such a person. I'd seen a load of very good schools before I came to see you, all of which did wonders for raising the achievement of disadvantaged and others. Yet I had this nagging doubt that the primary aim of a generalist school meant that it was not releasing the most able. I think our day with you confirmed that however you manage it you give the most able their own special food and mix like with like." George Martin Stephens, Renowned Author and Former Headmaster of St. Joseph's School in England.

June 2014
"Village East Gifted has been a wonderful influence on my son throughout his years at VEG. The program sets an example that anything is possible and hard work can be fun when its taught in a caring environment. The energy and creativity in the classroom sets the tone for a truly unique learning experience. Every year, Ms. P., the founder, continues to set the bar higher for herself and her students. It is a rare gift that she generously shares with anyone who is lucky enough to know her." Karen J. New Hyde Park, NY

May 2019
"My daughter has been attending VEG for the last few years. Mrs. Phillips is an extremely creative, enthusiatic teacher who makes learning fun! My daughter looks forward to each class and comes home excited to share new ideas and experiences. Her vocabulary and confidence in her writing has blossomed and is reflected in her academics. I highly recommend this program!" Leslie Horowitz, Dix Hills, NY

February 2016
"We just had our son's teacher conference and she said that she has noticed a marked improvement in his attitude towards reading & writing, which I absolutely correlate with VEG – so thank you! " Heather P. Huntington, NY

May 2017
"The past year at Village East (our first) has been a wonderful experience for my daughter. It's a safe, encouraging environment where she has been allowed the freedom to express herself without the confines of a traditional classroom. The imaginative projects have allowed her cerebral talents to be exercised and she looks forward to each week with excitement (no kidding!). Tobi Phillips is a gifted teacher who makes learning things like grammar and punctuation fun by turning the lessons into games (the local schools would benefit greatly by using some of her methods!) She is nurturing, generous, and truly cares for her students' progress. I highly recommend the program for children who are talented learners and for parents who want their child to have fun while learning." Elizabeth V. Plainview, NY

June 2017
"We are abundantly thankful to have our son enrolled in Village East Gifted program. We have seen our child soar to new heights of learning that he was not receiving in his standard school curriculum. Our 9yr old son presented an entrepreneurial business plan regarding what it takes to start up a restaurant. We were impressed with the work and attention to detail during the presentation. His vocabulary has advanced and the teaching of sign language is ingenious. It is wonderful to see our son get excited about learning in a creative, dynamic and safe environment. Thank you Ms. Phillips for giving us the opportunity to enrich our child's development. We appreciate the new and innovative ways your program challenges him." Lisa Gobbi St. James, NY

June 2013
"My children have benefited tremendously from the incredible opportunities provided them at VEG (Village East Gifted). Thank you, Ms. P., for giving our children so much of yourself. You really have inspired them to be even more amazing!" Nancy P. Muttontown, NY

February 2009
"Most remarkable, is that so many gifted students, of all ages, share this absolute certainty about the "rightness" for them, of what Village East Gifted offers. It's an extraordinarily unique and wonderful program. It is astounding that each of my so distinctively different gifted pre-teens, then teens, has felt so strongly positive. Each has, at some magical moment, echoed the proclamation of one, "VEG is my life!"Lane R. Huntington, NY

April 2008
"Still believing that the greatest thing to happen to three of my children was their opportunity to participate in, and grow from, their experiences at VEG with you! I'm sure that their ability to think in smarter ways was enhanced by Village East Gifted. The transformative power of the VEG classroom (and all of outdoors...?) is remarkable! " Cindi L. Huntington, NY

March 2012
"I feel so fortunate to live on Long Island; that my entire family is the beneficiary of this unique and wonderful program! I can't say enough about how thrilled we are with VEG and the superb president and founder, Ms. Tobi Phillips. Each of the offerings of VEG has proven, to the children in my household who've been fortunate enough to attend, to be something so far above and beyond what we might have had the right to expect. So many of their good friends, their real friends, are through VEG, and those friendships will sustain them, I am hoping. Each of my children has felt that the 'touch' of you has been something that yields incredible rewards. We are all so appreciative. Thank you, Ms. P." Jessica W. Herricks, NY

January 2015
"'Delight in what you do' is the definition of the Village East Gifted Program designed and founded by Tobi Phillips. My son was also delighted to attend the programs. It is nice to see him smile and look forward to the classes. Who knew English grammar could be so much fun?" Parent- Nesconset, NY

March 2010
"Village East Gifted has taught my kids how to think outside of the box; to consider alternatives and to challenge their perceptions, and pre-conceptions. Two of my kids were yours earning a perfect score on the Math ELA…a perfect score on the English ELA! (Not the same child, ah well...) It is not just the 'matter' that the children have learned, but the "expansion of consciousness. And… the delight they've taken in the processes of working with you - PRICELESS!" Ally G. Great Neck, NY

April 2009
"I don't know how to adequately convey the depth of gratitude felt by us all - your program is terrific and my children have clearly benefited from being participants over the years. I appreciate the breadth of their knowledge and the scope of accumulating wisdom and need you to know that we feel so much of what they have gained is attributable to their work with you!" Peter A. Huntington, NY

May 2012
"At Village East Gifted, my daughter found an environment that motivates her to practice and perform at a very high level. She enjoys the intellectual challenges provided by the teacher, Mrs. Phillips, as well as the many unique and creative activities that fulfill her curiosity for learning. VEG has encouraged my daughter to developed advanced ways of thinking and problem-solving in small group settings where she has been able to interact with peers and form many great friendships." Andrea T. Northport, NY

January 2018
My daughter is in third grade and has been taking classes at Village East Gifted for over a year now. I am truly amazed by the development of her vocabulary and her writing skills at such a young age. Ms. Phillips shows unlimited depths of creativity by developing lessons that are informative and fun at the same time. The program is just the thing I was looking for to supplement my child's education and prepare her for a bright future. The lessons expand her mind with critical thinking exercises and a challenging curriculum. The small classes create a comfortable and welcoming setting with children of similar interests and learning capabilities. My daughter has developed some great friendships along the way and always leaves class with a smile on her face. Renee M. Dix Hills, NY

October 2010
Village East Gifted has greatly enriched my daughter's life. This exceptional program sparks a love of learning in a relaxing and calm environment. The sophisticated and well-rounded curriculum inspires the children to learn to their highest potential. My daughter adores her teacher and her classmates. I just learned today that my daughter scored at a 12.9 (college!) reading level. Thank you for all of your hard work this year. She is very proud of the progress she has made with you this year."She is thrilled to be surrounded by other highly gifted children who encourage and support one another. I highly recommend this program. Parent, Huntington, NY

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