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Tonawanda wrestlers honor district faculty members

Tonawanda Warriors wrestlers recently thanked teachers of the City of Tonawanda School District with it’s first Faculty Appreciation Night.
There are thank you’s, and then there are the kind of thank you’s that are hard to put into words because they truly come from the heart.

The Tonawanda Warriors wrestling team recently gave such a thank you to the teachers of the City of Tonawanda School District with it’s first Faculty Appreciation Night.

Prior to the Warriors Jan. 16 home match against Eden, members of the faculty were introduced to the crowd and were given a special greeting from a wrestler.

What made the night so special is that each teacher was hand picked by a wrestler for for the impact the teacher had on that student’s life.

THS sophomore Jake Logan explained his selection of math teacher Al Zarcone.

“I’ve always liked him as a teacher and as a person.” Logan said. “I think it’s great that we did this. It shows how we appreciate our school and the teachers.”

Zarcone, echoing the feelings of his co-workers, said he so was very touched to be selected.

“When you go into your mailbox and you see an invitation for something like this, it really reminds you of why you became a teacher,” Zarcone said with a smile. “(Logan) is a good student; he’s exactly what you would want your son to be like. So when it’s someone that you hold in such a high regard it’s extra special.”

Watching the match with his son, A.J. Zarcone, who turned 8-years-old, Al said this was a perfect night and one for the memory bank.

The night was the brain-child of Warriors varsity coach Jeff Hess, who’s from the Class of 1996. He wanted to make sure his athletes understood the importance of teachers and the role they play in shaping lives.

To Hess’s joy, he didn’t have to twist any arms. His kids were on board right away and almost instantly began debating what teacher they wanted to select.

“I think it meant as much to the kids as it did to the teachers,” Hess said. “I know everyone that went on the mat tonight looked up in the stands at their teacher before they went out.”

Noting what a tight-nit community Tonawanda is and always has been, Hess said teachers are always supporting athletics and this was just a way for the kids to acknowledge and appreciate everything they do for them.

Senior Collin Barnard selected THS vice principal/athletic director Brad Halgash not only for the incredible impact Halgash has made on the athletic program, but also for the impact he has had on the upperclassman’s life.

“Ever since he’s been athletic director he’s made big changes,” Barnard said, ”and with him being vice principal, he kept me out of a lot of trouble and kind of helped me get myself straight.”

Knowing that teaching can very often be a thankless job, to have a moment such as this made every faculty member smile.

“This is the first year that Mr. Hess was our head coach and he wanted to do something like this and I thought it was very special,” said THS principal and new school superintendent Dr. James Newton.

“I love when the student pick a teacher and someone even selected me...It’s just very special when the students pick a teacher because the teachers do support them and it’s nice when the students do appreciate that.”

The night also included members of the THS band performing the National Anthem as well as several other songs during the evening.

Teachers that were honored wore special maroon polo shirts that were purchased by the Tonawanda Wrestling Booster Club.

Other teachers honored were Mr. Frank, Mr. Hardleben, Mr. Hawley, Ms. May, Ms. Warthling, Mrs. Brown, Ms. Piazza, Mrs. Andres, Mr. Novits, Mr. Zastrow, Mr. Eberhardt and Ms. Runfola.


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