Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jefferson High social studies teacher named Hillsborough Teacher of the Year

Jefferson High School teacher Patrick Boyko, center, shares in the celebration of being named Hillsborough Teacher of the Year on Thursday night with Van Ayres, left, Jefferson High’s principal, and fellow social studies teacher Johnny Balkmon.

KENT NISHIMURA | Times

Jefferson High School teacher Patrick Boyko, center, shares in the celebration of being named Hillsborough Teacher of the Year on Thursday night with Van Ayres, left, Jefferson High’s principal, and fellow social studies teacher Johnny Balkmon.

TAMPA

A social studies teacher at Jefferson High School, a classroom aide at the Willis Peters Exceptional Center and a dropout prevention specialist at Shields Middle School took top honors Thursday at the Hillsborough County Excellence in Education awards.

Patrick Boyko, 34, who majored in history and not education in college, won the coveted title of Teacher of the Year.

"I think it's safe to release this information now — I snuck into Interview Day," he told the audience at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, which included a jubilant contingent from Jefferson, where he teaches world history, wars of the 20th century and Holocaust studies.

The Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Julia Sarmiento of Shields, told the crowd, "I can't wait to go and tell all my students that I did it for them."

Instructional Support Employee of the Year, special education aide Amy Peters, said she feels lucky to go to work every day.

"I learn so much from the kids," she said. "Their love is just so unconditional."

More than 700 educators were chosen to represent their schools in the three competitions.

Committees consisting of district officials and community leaders selected 15 finalists and later conducted interviews to arrive at the final three.

Each was introduced by a student, and in the case of all three winners, they spoke of how their teachers helped them believe in themselves.

Boyko's student Rebeca Rodriguez, 18, who hopes to be a U.S. senator, described the self-doubts that consumed her when her team suffered a setback in an empire-building exercise in wars of the 20th century.

"That day I felt defeated," she said. "That day I let down the other four members of my empire. That day I began to question myself."

But Boyko assured her that "the fact that I had worked as hard as I did and the fact that I cared about the other members of my empire as much as I did, I had actually proven that I was capable of leading."

Through his lessons, she said, "he brought history to life for us. He allowed each of us a voice and each of us to tell our stories. We knew we had a teacher who cared."

Sarmiento was introduced by Leury Alcantara, now a student at Hillsborough Community College, who said he considers her more than a teacher. "I consider her a second mother," he said.

For Peters, praise came from 18-year-old Javontae Bryant, who said Peters "makes every day special" and taught him how to calm down and think before he acts.

After the winners were announced, Boyko thanked his parents, his teachers and his girlfriend for their support.

Then he urged the roomful of teachers to try not to dwell on the evaluations, observations and overall bureaucracy of the job.

"Remember when you were a child," he said. "Remember feeling like you were invisible. Remember the trivial things that ruled your adolescent life. Who made you feel safe? Our children need that safety just as much as we did."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com.

Jefferson High social studies teacher named Hillsborough Teacher of the Year 02/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.