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One of Townsend Harris’s finest recently received acknowledgement from a local newspaper for his dedication to teaching science.
The New York Daily News honored science teacher Thomas Sangiorgi with its “Hometown Heroes’ in Education” award at a special ceremony in Times Square on September 17. The award is presented annually to selected NYC public school teachers, principals, and staff.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio described the Hometown Heroes awards as “just a small expression of gratitude for the continuous and often undervalued efforts of our educators.” He added, “The work our teachers do each day is priceless for the future of our city, and for that I thank and salute you.”
The winners of the award are hand-picked out of over 200 submissions by a panel of judges, including NYC public schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, and State Education Commissioner John King, among others. This year, 11 educators from throughout the city received the award.
The judges focused on the distinguishing qualities of each educator, and the difference each makes in the lives of their students on a daily basis. Mr. Sangiorgi was nominated by Queens Borough United Federation of Teachers representative James Vasquez. Mr. Vasquez cited Mr. Sangiorgi’s “charismatic” personality and “memorable lectures” as the reasons he deserved recognition as one of the best educators in the city.
Mr. Sangiorgi is an advisor for the THHS Science Olympiad, and is currently the NYC Regional Director of the club. He is also credited for establishing the Model Rocketry Club three years ago at the school, and he teaches Chemistry classes and Advanced Topics.
“Mr. Sangiorgi is passionate about teaching and getting students excited about learning and thinking, not only about Chemistry – [but] about everything,” stated Assistant Principal of Math, Science, and Technology Susan Brustein.
“I am extremely humbled,” stated Mr. Sangiorgi.
When asked about his inspiration to teach, he explained that he is “the cumulation of all the teachers that who have influenced [him].” He distinctly remembered former colleague from Cardozo High School Ed Freedman, and his consistently interesting classes.
“He was riveting…he made students want to come to class just to see what’s going to happen next,” said Mr. Sangiorgi. “That’s the kind of guy I strive to be.”
Sophomore Mitchell Mu said that he greatly enjoys Mr. Sangiorgi’s class. “[Mr. Sangiorgi] has people volunteer to help him with his demonstrations, which makes the class fun, interesting, and informative. There is not a moment where you are able to sleep because you are constantly thinking up ideas,” Mitchell said.
Sophomore Ada Liu agreed, saying “He also recently melted a gummy bear in front of the class just to see what would happen, which was pretty cool.” She added, “He also has a great sense of humor, so I am able to like chemistry.”