Teacher Feature: Mr. Manzo

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Teacher Feature: Mr. Manzo

Kelly Arboleda, Writer

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Since ‘08, Mr. Manzo has been a friendly face to students here at New Milford High School. Everyone here looks up to him. Literally: he’s very tall. He teaches five classes a day, all grades and all levels of history. He teaches Modern World History, Regular Ed, History CP, Honors, United States History II, and Introduction to Law.

Something you might not know is this Mr. Manzo’s favorite part about teaching is that he’s able to interact more with his students and get to know them better. Because of that, he appreciates the fact our school has a small number of students, making the student body grow together and become more united, especially in the classroom. He believes it makes it easier for students to talk and interact in class when he has a bond with them.

“Working in a smaller school like New Milford High School allows me to get to know students more interpersonally. Even when you don’t have a student in class here you sort of know them, and you can interact and get to know them through other types of activities.”

Mr. Manzo’s dream wasn’t always to be a history teacher. When he was in high school he wanted to become a Phys. Ed teacher. He loved sports and he was passionate it about it. However, he was discouraged by one of his Phys. Ed. teachers. He was told that it wasn’t the best idea. Apart from putting him down, he still believed he was meant to stay and educate in sports curriculum.

He started initially went to SUNY Orange Community College, but only attended three semesters. He decided to take a year off to try and figure himself out. After a year or so at being a plumber, he decided to go back to college, finish the year, and get his associate’s degree. After finishing the year, he started working at Pearson Education for about a year and a half and within that time, he worked in the history and social science department. “I had access to all these great history books, so on my lunch I would go into this little library we had on our floor and I would go into town reading about anything and everything.”

After Pearson Education, Mr. Manzo decided to live in Germany for a year. He had an opportunity from one of his friends to go to Germany and he took it. While living in Germany he realized how much he admired the study of history. In Germany, Mr. Manzo was able to understand and learn more about history itself. He was surrounded by it: the paintings, the literature, the museums, and more. After coming back from Germany, Mr. Manzo felt strongly about going back to school. This was because he was surrounded by all the magnificent history there was and he wanted to know so much more. It Intrigued him so much he decided to study it and make it his profession.“I was on the fence. By the time I was 24 and really thinking hard about coming back to school I had forgotten about being a physical education teacher. It was actually living in another country that made me realize what I wanted to do later on in life. I was living in Germany and I was surrounded by history and I was just so amazed, it’s something I always had a penchant for and always enjoyed and loved. So when I was surrounded by all the history I just got into reading about history, I got to go to museums, I just tried to be as cultured as possible and a lot of the things that I particularly enjoyed were in the field of history. It all kind of pointed towards history.”

Therefore, when Mr. Manzo came back from Germany, he attended Queens College for three years. He majored in History and minored in Education. Mr. Manzo was very focused and determined; his goal was to graduate and get a job in a certain amount of time. He wanted to get on with his life and be the inspirational and cooperative teacher that he had strived to be. And obviously, it has paid off as Camilo Vargas (‘19) says, “He is super chill and relaxed. I honestly think he’s a great teacher who really expands your way of thinking.”

Finally, to leave you with a little bit of advice from Mr. Manzo: “Work your butt off and work towards your goals. Even if it’s something that life gets in the way for a minute and you have to put it aside, as long as you can come back and get to that goal, then do it. But work hard, that’s one of the biggest things I can honestly say. Just work hard, if you do, there’s a good chance you’re going to get to where you want to get and be realistic about your limitations.”

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