SHS Mourns the Loss of Beloved Teacher

Teacher+and+Coach+Matthew+Harbilas+past+away+Monday+October+5

Curtesy of SHS soccer

Teacher and Coach Matthew Harbilas past away Monday October 5

Jimi Cosentino, Contributor

On Oct. 5, 2020, Stamford High School lost a teacher, a coach, and a friend to so many, with the passing of Matthew Harbilas. 

Harbilas played a significant role in both the Stamford and Norwalk communities. He was a native of Norwalk and was part of the 2006 graduating class of Norwalk High School. After attending Southern Connecticut University he landed a social studies teaching job here at Stamford High School. Harbilas was very involved in the athletic programs at both Stamford and Norwalk High. At Norwalk High, Harbilas became the assistant coach for both the baseball team as well as its football team. He was also the assistant Stamford High girls soccer coach from 2015-2017. 

Harbilas’ strong, upbeat personality is something the Stamford High community will never forget. He brought so much joy and wisdom to the students and staff here at Stamford High. It’s hard to find people who consistently go out of their way to see how you’re doing or even have a simple conversation with you. This is where Harbilas was different. He always made time for his students and truly cared for them. He had a substantial impact on the Stamford High community and beyond. 

I personally had Harbilas as a teacher at the beginning of this school year. He was the most easy to talk to, laid back teacher I’ve ever had. Although I only had Harbilas for a short amount of time and didn’t get the opportunity to know each other too well, Harbilas immediately from the get go displayed  how much of a genuine, down to earth guy he truly was.  

Stamford High Principal Raymond Manka recalled the first time he met Harbilas, which was when Manka was an assistant principal at Norwalk High School and Harbilas was coaching there. He explained that just from a short interaction he could tell Harbilas had “Great knowledge of the teams, the game, and a clear passion for baseball.” He then went on to say Harbilas was a “kind, genuine and honest man with a clear passion for students and coaching and I appreciated that about Matt. I will miss our sports talks and I will miss what Matt brought to our school, staff, students and student athletes. A great young man who has left us way too soon.” 

Not only were staff affected by this but many students were devastated by the tragic news as well. Alain Paul, a former student of Harbilas’, commented “I’m still in shock. He was a great person with a chill personality who cared about each and every one of his students. Harbilas was such a well respected guy and a great coach. He will always be remembered. Rest in peace Harbs.” Quintan Young, another former student of his, had these words to say, “Mr. Harbilas was the most laid back, fun to talk to teacher you could ever want… Even on Mondays when he knew it was too early and everybody was tired he would turn on a movie or have a fun class discussion.” Many people can agree with these statements, Harbilas was a friend to so many here at Stamford High. 

His co-workers, athletes, students, family and friends, will remember him forever. His positivity radiated throughout the school. Saying he will be missed is an understatement.