Teachers Before Townsend: Mr. Quach’s unique journey back to THHS


Chayti Biswas

Mr. Quach, Townsend Harris alumnus and physics teacher.

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Townsend Harris alumnus Micheal Quach has been working at THHS for the past year as a physics and earth science teacher. Although he grew up in Queens, New York, during Mr. Quach’s childhood, he would go to Vietnam a lot to visit his relatives.

Mr. Quach attended NYU for his undergraduate degree after his time at THHS. He never expected to have gotten in, but he said things worked out for the best. It was there where he met some of his closest friends and really became the person he is today. Currently, he is at Queens College finishing up his masters degree in education.

With the goal of wanting to help others, Mr. Quach has considered many careers in his lifetime. He said that at five years old, he wanted to be a firefighter because that’s the job the red power ranger had. Soon after, he wanted to be a surgeon, influenced by all of the medical TV shows he used to watch. “Eventually I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to help kids the same way my teachers helped and cared for me,” Mr. Quach said.

He worked many odd jobs and had some stints washing dishes, doing construction and working in warehouses. “I hated doing all these jobs, but I knew it would get me closer to being a teacher. It was many long nights and stressful years, but now that I’m here doing what I love, if I had to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat,” Mr. Quach said. 

Mr. Quach loves the hustle of the city and the ability to interact with so many different people.  He currently helps coach the robotics team, the Steel Hawks, and Science Olympiad and he hopes to eventually help coach sports such as handball and badminton. “Outside of school I do a lot of outreach to help those experiencing homelessness. Me and my friends will serve meals or deliver care packages around the city,” he said. 

In the future he wants to open a cafe or restaurant. “I want to be able to serve people, and it will also allow me to continue helping those experiencing homelessness with free meals,” Mr. Quach said. Continuing with these aspirations, he also hopes to open an animal shelter and counseling center. 

During Mr. Quach’s sophomore year in high school, he was taught by physics teacher David Stern. When asked about Mr. Quach’s return, Mr. Stern said, “as a teacher, seeing one of my former students follow his passion and work incredibly hard to get where they are is always a point of pride and joy for me. Micheal’s wanted to be a teacher ever since I knew him and to see him reach that goal is incredible. I’m even happier that I get to work with him because it gives me the opportunity to see firsthand just how awesome of a teacher he is.” In regards to Mr. Quach’s communication with his students, Mr. Stern said, “students love him as he is fun and energetic. He always makes sure students are doing okay and always makes himself available to help others.”

Sophomore and student of Mr. Quach, Sithi Das, said, “[He] is a wonderful physics teacher. The class atmosphere is always welcoming and it’s nice to be in his class.” 

Similarly sophomore Luca Kim said, “he is a great teacher and never fails to make lessons fun. The environment feels safe and academic.”