Thank You: Saying Goodbye to This Year’s Retiring Teachers

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Thank You: Saying Goodbye to This Year’s Retiring Teachers

Mr. Cusano with student, Ivy Zingone infront of artwork.

Mr. Cusano with student, Ivy Zingone infront of artwork.

Ivy Zingone

Mr. Cusano with student, Ivy Zingone infront of artwork.

Ivy Zingone

Ivy Zingone

Mr. Cusano with student, Ivy Zingone infront of artwork.

Taylor Yaghmaie, Anistyn Boshka, and Joe Nathanson

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As the 2018-2019 school year comes to an end, we reflect on the contributions students and staff made to the Stamford High School Community. Stamford High School is a family in which each individual has their own immense impact on our Black Knight community. Stamford High fosters some teachers that mentored the current teachers at Stamford High now. This cultivates a generation of teachers at Stamford High which has left a mark on our school that are sadly leaving us after this year. Some of these influential teachers are Art Department Head Paul Cusano, World Language Teacher Maria Cahill, Music Teacher Gloria Sinaguglia, and Science Teacher Carmela Vavrinec.

 When describing Cusano, the traits “hardworking” and “passionate” are understatements. Cusano started his career working for Stamford Public Schools 39 years ago and became a member of the Black Knight family 27 years ago. Over the years he has taught a variety of classes. Some of them include all levels of Drawing and Painting, Sculpture, Photography, and even Bird Carving.

Cusano said, “Teaching is very rewarding for yourself, as well as the students you’re trying to teach.” Stamford High has a very diverse range of students, some who need more help and others who are more independent. No matter the type of student, Cusano created close bonds with them and always shared words of encouragement with them. He was devoted to forming relationships with them to make them more engaged or interested in the specific topic.

 Ivy Zingone, a student of Cusano, said, “My favorite thing about Cusano is how passionate he is towards his job in motivating those around him to find passion within their work as well. He always provided an environment where collaborating creatively was inspiring as well as challenging which is the perfect balance for students with serious goals in the arts.” As an educator, he loved to grow every day and used different teaching techniques from his colleagues. Cusano said that one of the most important lessons he’s learned during his time at Stamford High is, “without passion you don’t get anywhere.”

Maria Cahill started working as a teacher at Stamford High in the Fall of 1977, 42 years ago. Her time at Stamford High began before she was a teacher – as a student. Cahill is now a longtime World Language teacher who puts her best foot forward to help her students perfect their worldwide culture and language. Over the course of her time at Stamford High, she has taught French and Spanish, although she is Italian by birth. Cahill has devoted many hours to Stamford High, whether it be as a class advisor, by running the drama club, or several clubs such as the Future Teachers of America or the Diversity Club. Cahill has truly left her mark on Stamford High. A student from her Spanish 3 Honors class, Abby Wexler, said, “Ms. Cahill was truly an amazing teacher. She was extremely dedicated and her first priority was making sure her students learned. Having her as a teacher truly enhanced my Spanish and my experience at Stamford High.” Cahill is excited to embark on a new journey of retirement; although she will never forget the memories she has made at Stamford High, she said, “It is a time in my life where I need to move forward. And although many things brought me to this point, I am happy to start a new chapter of my life.” Cahill is also expecting to be a grandmother very soon, and looks forward to spending time with her grandchild.

Gloria Sinaguglia started teaching at Stamford High School thirty years ago. Prior to teaching at Stamford High School, she was the band director at Westhill High School. When she began teaching at Stamford High School she established the Madrigal Singers group, but also teaches a wide range of classes such as Concert Choir, Piano Classes, Voice Classes, and Orchestra.

Sinigaglia had a remarkable career at Stamford High. She was able to prepare the ensembles to sing for President Bill Clinton and President George Bush. She was even named Stamford’s Teacher of the Year in 2016. Sinaguglia said she enjoyed being able to watch her students grow and succeed after they graduate. Sinaguglia decided to retire mostly because she has new babies in her extended family and she wanted to be able to enjoy them.  Sinaguglia told us she will mostly miss making music, helping her students, and “the spiritual part of making music together.” She still hopes to continue her music career by teaching music privately and being able to spend time on her own music, however she told us it will never be the same as her experiences at Stamford High.

Carmela Vavrinec is a part of the science department at Stamford High School. As a teacher at Stamford High, she taught Physical Science, Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science. She also served as the Science Department Head for a period of time. Before her teaching career in Stamford, she has taught at schools in Vermont, New York, and Stratford.

Of all the places she taught, Vavrinec told us she enjoyed her experience in Stamford the most. She made many memories at Stamford high, one of her favorite memories is being able to see her students succeed. Vavrinec will miss Stamford High, however she said, “It’s time to retire and enjoy life.”

To all the teachers leaving Stamford High, we thank you for everything you have devoted to Stamford High School. You have been a part of helping a large range of students and impacted the school for the better. Thank you for helping to make Stamford High the best.

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