By: Jeffrey Xiang — Editor-in-Chief
Social studies coordinator Mr. Chuck Fazzio will retire this year after over 30 years of teaching at Sharon High School.
In his time at Sharon High, Fazzio has served as a teacher, assistant principal, social studies coordinator, dean of students, and more. He has also been a mentor to students and teachers alike.
Fazzio first entered Sharon High School in 1973 as a freshman. Fazzio says that he hated his time at the high school. “I swore I would never return to this place. I hated high school. I was popular. I was president of the student council, but I just had a miserable time here. I never thought I would come back, and I never thought I would teach,” added Fazzio.
During his college years at Boston University, Fazzio says that his attitude towards teaching changed. “Then I went to college, and one thing led to another, and I ended up getting a teaching degree,” said Fazzio.
Starting in 1985, Fazzio began teaching at Sharon High and has stayed at Sharon High ever since. Besides being in the front office, Fazzio has also served stints as the student council advisor, freshman baseball coach, and president of the teacher’s association. English teacher Mr. David Heller says that Fazzio has kind of done it all.
Fazzio says that one of his proudest achievements at SHS is creating the Humanities Program, which later inspired the American Studies and World Studies courses.
French teacher Ms. Kathleen Turner says that the creation of the Humanities program exemplifies what made Fazzio a pioneer in educational ideas. “Mr. Fazzio has been a teacher who was ahead of his time in terms of doing project-based learning and in terms of doing community service learning. He created the Humanities program and the American Studies program because of his belief in the importance of interdisciplinary learning and that history cannot be separated from literature and vice versa. He was a trendsetter in a lot of ways in terms of educational ideas. What’s trendy now in educational circles Mr. Fazzio has been doing for thirty years,” said Turner.
“I came to Sharon because of the Humanities program and because I got such a great vibe from Mr. Fazzio when I interviewed,” said Humanities and Journalism teacher Mr. Glenn Shiebler.
“I knew instantly that he (Fazzio) and I would be a good team, and we were until he abandoned me to join the “Dark Side” of administration,” Shiebler joked.
“I will always cherish these years with him and his offbeat sense of humor and his penchant for speaking his mind when we needed a reality check. I wish him all the best in his much-deserved retirement,” added Shiebler.
Fazzio tirelessly promoted character initiatives and character building in the school. Fazzio says that his advice to students was “always to try to do the right thing, and when you stumble and make a mistake, to own up to it and stumble visibly so that you can make things right and move forward.”
Fazzio also says that he always reminded students that they will always be remembered for their last worst act. “You can do a thousand great things, and if you do that one really bad, stupid thing that you don’t own up to, and if you don’t make it right, that’s how you’ll be remembered,” said Fazzio.
Reflecting on his career, Fazzio says that he’s enjoyed his time here at SHS. “It’s been a good career. It’s been kind to me. I’ve made good connections with students, which makes teaching fun,” said Fazzio.
“I’ve been blessed with good students and wonderful colleagues all these years. I’ve learned a lot from them all,” added Fazzio.
He says that there is a lot he will miss. “I will miss seeing my colleagues on a daily basis. I will miss morning coffee in the faculty room,” he said.
“When you work in a place for this long, it does become home. It’s a home away from home,” said Fazzio.
Social studies teacher Ms. Courtnay Malcolm says that the high school will miss Fazzio just as much. “He is the most genuine, passionate, giving, wonderful, kind person that I have ever worked with in any profession ever. I’m going to miss him very, very much. We all are,” said Malcolm.
Heller says he agrees that Fazzio is an extraordinary educator. “He’s kind of the gold standard in this building for what kind of a model educator is,” said Heller.
Turner adds that he has been a leader for teachers both in official and unofficial capacities. “Mr. Fazzio has been here forever. He’s a person teachers know they can go to for advice and ideas for teaching classes and working with difficult students,” said Turner.
“He is able to make connections and bridge gaps between people who have different ideas, both among faculty and among students in his classroom. He prides himself in challenging people’s thoughts and making people think for themselves,” added Turner.
Fazzio has also been known to keep things lighthearted and pull off all sorts of pranks. “Mr. Fazzio is the king of practical jokes. He’s always doing things on the sly to trick people, and he never owns up to it. Which gets really frustrating when you know it’s him and he won’t acknowledge it,” said Turner.
She adds that, despite her best efforts, she has yet to get him back for his pranks.
Fazzio says that keeping things light has made the school a better place in his eyes. “Along the way, I’ve always tried to have some laughs in the classroom and outside the classroom. Just to keep things light, make coming to work fun,” said Fazzio.
“I used to greet kids in the doorway and toss a football to them. Trying to make work fun, for me anyways,” added Fazzio.
Turner says that Fazzio is a renaissance man, having many different talents, and following his retirement, Fazzio plans on continuing with his talents. “It’s time for new adventures and neglected passions. I’m going to be starting a small woodworking business where I will be making cabinets. I’m going to pursue my music. I’ve been singing with the same person for 29 years now. We’re hoping to cut a new CD with new songs,” said Fazzio.
Fazzio also plans to continue with causes at SHS that he feels are important. “I’ll also be around. There are still initiatives that I feel strongly about, like the equal opportunities schools initiative,” added Fazzio.
Fazzio says that he has always told his students to daydream as his last quote on report cards each year. “Inventors and innovators are people who dream, and you have to make that time,” said Fazzio.
“Remember to take time to daydream because it’s good for you. It’s healthy,” said Fazzio.