Mr. Sangiorgi earns recognition at Big Apple Awards

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Known for his hands-on lessons and explosive antics, Chemistry teacher and Science Olympiad Head Coach Thomas Sangiorgi was recognized as a finalist of the first annual Big Apple Awards.

The Big Apple Awards, an event held by the New York City Board of Education, recognizes teaching excellence throughout the city. Candidates are considered for the award through nominations, and up to eleven teachers are chosen as winners. At the awards ceremony in June, chosen teachers received a monetary classroom grant.

Mr. Sangiorgi, who was caught completely unaware, only learned about the organization when a manila folder containing his certificate arrived.

“I had no idea I was nominated,” Mr. Sangiorgi said. “On the whole, this happened quite suddenly.”

Pleasantly perplexed, Mr. Sangiorgi chose to keep the award confidential.

“While I am honored that someone thought enough of my passion for teaching to have nominated me, telling people about it is not my style,” he said.

However, he expressed his appreciation for his job. “I am lucky to work with a group of dedicated teachers whose efforts have a huge positive impact on students’ educational experience. I feel fortunate to be part of that group.”

While Mr. Sangiorgi doesn’t know much about the organization, he considers the importance of recognizing quality teachers in their fields.

“With all the negative rhetoric regarding education that goes on in the media, the fact that most teachers are quality, dedicated professionals often goes unnoticed,” he said.

The award-winning teacher also runs the Model Rocketry Club, which started last year in May as a subsidiary of the Science Olympiad Club. A childhood hobby of his, it involves a hands-on experience in building and launching rockets. Mr. Sangiorgi urges all interested students to join.

“Those who want to build, launch, and recover a model rocket can do so in a safe manner and with guidance. Anyone else who is intrigued by the idea can watch about 60 launches an hour during our ‘blast-off.’”