The End of the Bongiorno Era
Multiple Writers | On 17, Jun 2021
By Connor McCall and Juan Teira
At one time or another, everyone has seen Mr. Bongiorno standing outside of his room at the end of the second floor hallway. Whether he was yelling at freshmen to get to class or talking with his students, Mr. Bongiorno has always been there, and he is a staple of Hudson Catholic. Unfortunately, Mr. Bongiorno will be leaving Hudson Catholic this summer and will be moving on to another school. Fortunately, The Commentator was able to obtain an exclusive interview with Mr. Bongiorno as he says farewell to Hudson Catholic.
Starting off the interview, we asked if there was anything that we could do to keep Mr. Bongiorno at Hudson Catholic. He laughed, but ultimately shut us down.
“It is time for me to go,” Mr. Bongiorno said, “But I am not leaving for any negative reasons. I will definitely miss my coworkers, the administrators here, and the students, most of all.”
Mr. Bongiorno has dedicated six years to educating students here, spending time after school as well helping moderate several extracurriculars, including this very publication you are reading. Mr. Bongiorno has said that the transition will be difficult for him, but we are all very happy for the new opportunity that he will be taking and we are sure that everyone will miss him as well!
Curious to see how Mr. Bongiorno got his start in a teaching career, we asked him about his early life and his education: “I’m from Staten Island, New York… where I currently live, and where I grew up. I went to Hunter College where I got a B.A in English then I went on to get my M.A in English and Education. I have been teaching now for twelve years: six years in middle school and six in high school.” Mr. Bongiorno’s passion for teaching is shown in his work and in his academic achievements with multiple degrees in English. His work has even resonated with the students that he has taught in the past as he has stated that he is still in contact with some of his former students.
We wanted to dig a little deeper into why Mr. Bongiorno chose to teach English, so we asked how that career came about.
“I have always been someone who has loved stories and reading and writing. I have always been very, very creative, since I was a little little kid in kindergarten, [when] I would write my own books and put on my own plays… I didn’t really think about teaching until I was in my senior year in high school.” Even in his youth, Mr. Bongiorno has always been passionate about English, and his passion lives on today as his work was recently featured in The Writer magazine. His inspiration behind the piece was an artwork that he saw in a museum when he was traveling in Spain.
It is clear to see how Mr. Bongiorno appreciates the English language and has made writing a hobby of his.
“I could never quite pin down what I wanted to do when I thought about where I would be as an adult,” Mr. Bongiorno reminisced. “I thought about being a journalist, being a novelist, about going into publishing … I spoke with [one of my teachers] about how I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do… she said ‘Have you thought about teaching?’ It was funny because I had never even thought of it.” Luckily for us, Mr. Bongiorno made the decision to pursue a teaching career. We cannot imagine what the teaching profession would be like without Mr. Bongiorno and his joking with students about a novel or lesson. It is truly unimaginable.
Mr. B also mentioned that you need to have a good sense of humor when teaching, especially when you are a new teacher. Patience also goes a long way, but mainly it is having a sense of humor.
Mr. Bongiorno also mentioned how, especially for an English teacher, educators must tap into what the students have to offer right away because many of the students are immensely bright and extremely talented. I don’t think anyone can disagree with the B Man in regards to that statement.
And Mr. Bongiorno’s final message to the graduating class? “I am in awe of them and everything they accomplished.” He elaborated about how unique this graduating class is especially because they graduated amidst a global pandemic. Surprisingly for the well talented B Man, he even said that he might not have even been able to do what they did when he was their age.
During our interview, we experienced a rare occurrence: One of our questions left Mr. Bongiorno speechless. We asked him how much the students at Hudson Catholic have provided him. The B Man is nearly never at a loss for words. When he finally got his thoughts together, he said how the students made him have so happy and filled with so much pride and joy. Mr. Bongiorno said he has loved each and every one of his classes and students. “As a teacher,” he said, “you really can’t ask for more than that.”
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