Harvard Club Honors Three From Syosset

Harvard Club Honors Three From Syosset
Harvard Club Honors Three From Syosset2
Harvard Club Honors Three From Syosset 3
Harvard Club Honors Three From Syosset 4

The Harvard Club of Long Island has recognized three members of the Syosset Central School District for excellence in their field. Syosset High School Principal Dr. Giovanni Durante has been named a “Distinguished Educator” while Kim Costa, who teaches English at South Woods Middle School and Georgette Kagan who teaches social studies at the high school have each been named a “Distinguished Teacher.” 

Each year, HCLI asks current Harvard undergraduates to nominate a secondary-level teacher who made a positive difference in their lives.

Costa’s former student credited her for instilling a love for reading, writing and public speaking that was absent prior to becoming her student. “This year I am writing my senior thesis and I often remind myself of the skills I learned in [Costa’s] eighth-grade class: reading texts carefully, making a cogent analysis, and clearly articulating an argument. Ms. Costa’s influence is even apparent in my extracurricular activities: her penchant for poetry kindled one in me, which led to the vice presidency of my high school literary arts magazine, and at Harvard to create a Poetry Public Service Project with a federal judge,” wrote Costa’s former student.                    

Dr. Durante’s nominator compared the principal to a teacher and called him a mentor invested in all students who instilled in her empowerment and optimism and supported her along the way. “Dr. Durante made it an absolute joy for all of us to come to school every day, creating a positive environment, not only for us to excel in our work, but also for teachers to. He made me recognize the importance of creating such an environment in my own work, which I continually strive to do in my leadership activities at Harvard,” wrote Dr. Durante’s nominating student.        

In nominating Kagan, her former student called her an inspirational teacher who fascinated students with her account of international trips, her insight into historical events and her personal awareness of current events. “Most noteworthy is Ms. Kagan’s investment in each and every one of her students. I will always remember how she allowed my thoughts to be heard in a sea of other students. I would consider myself a success if I could inspire just one of my students that way she has inspired me,” said the student.             
“On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire central administration team, I congratulate and thank Ms. Costa, Ms. Kagan and Dr. Durante for their dedication to our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Rogers. “We are fortunate to have these three as part of our team, and they deserve this recognition. They epitomize what a Syosset education stands for: preparing students for success in college, their careers and life.”   

Every year the HCLI recognizes 40-60 Distinguished Teachers, with 12-14 honored as finalists for a Harvard fellowship, the latter of which Costa has been named. Fellowship winners will be announced at a university luncheon in April.