Prestigious "Distinguished Teacher of 2017" award presented to "teachers who change lives."
Farmingdale, NY - March 22, 2017 - Celia Blumm of Farmingdale High School has been named a “Distinguished Teacher of 2017” by the Harvard Club of Long Island.
“This award honors teachers who transform lives,” explained Dr. Judith Esterquest, Harvard Club of Long Island Chair of the Distinguished Teacher Selection Committee. “Devoted teachers like Celia Blumm offer Long Island students deep expertise, extraordinary talents, and countless hours of attention. By capturing the minds and imaginations of our children and preparing them for challenges that were unknown even a few decades ago, these teachers shape the future of our country.”
Celia Blumm will be honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon on April 30, along with 11 other teachers from across Long Island. Following the award ceremony, Professor Annette Gordon-Reed who holds chairs in Legal History at Harvard Law School and in History at Harvard College, will lecture on “The Hamilton Image in the American Mind.” Gordon-Reed has won numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation (“Genius”) Award and the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.
Celia Blumm has taught Humanities at Farmingdale High School for the past 15 years. After raising her children as a stay-at-home mom, Ms. Blumm served as a part time HIV/AIDS educator and activist. Working with high school students reaffirmed her “empathy” for students going through their teenage years, the “most joyous and trying time of life.” Ms. Blumm eventually graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University with a degree in Comparative Literature.
Teaching at Farmingdale has allowed Ms. Blumm to “combine my love for literature and my desire to spend my life among teenagers.” The Humanities program at Farmingdale is a “rewarding and rigorous program…a unique team-taught course of study which combines the historical and literary achievements of Western Civilization with its cultural development throughout the centuries,” including art, architecture, music and philosophy.
Ms. Blumm is passionate about her purpose in the classroom: “I strive to reignite the curiosity, the wonder, the awe and love of learning. Our goal is to help to craft citizens: critical and nuanced thinkers who are comfortable living in a word of varying shades of complex greys.”
Ms. Blumm was nominated for the award by Suraj K. Muralidharan, a Farmingdale High School alum who is currently a freshman at Harvard College. Mr. Muralidharan said that Ms. Blumm’s class was rigorous and closely “simulated a college classroom.” Despite her high expectations, she also maintained a “unique and always witty sense of humor and approachability.” “I have never enjoyed an English class as much as Mrs. Blumm’s.”
John Lorentz, Superintendent of Schools for the Farmingdale School District, supports Mr. Muralidharan’s views. "Celia Blumm is an exceptional teacher who has combined a life time of experience and incorporated it into her teaching. Her work has produced some of the highest achieving graduates of Farmingdale High School. We are honored and proud to have her as part of our team.”
The Farmingdale School District has had three previous winners: Peter Macchia in 2014, Scott Drucker in 2012 and James Hughes in 2008. Mr. Macchia, who teaches science, was also honored with a scholarship to visit Harvard.
At the ceremony on April 30, the Harvard Club of Long Island will also announce the Distinguished Teacher of 2017 who will also receive a scholarship for a “Harvard experience” at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Mass. Past winners of the scholarships have enhanced their teaching by sampling the resources available to Harvard students: meeting with faculty; visiting research laboratories, rare book archives, and specialty museums; and enjoying visual and performance art. The scholarships are funded by contributions from Harvard alumni living on Long Island.
This year’s 12 Distinguished Teacher Award winners were nominated by current Harvard undergraduates and then selected by Harvard Club of Long Island board members. This year’s award winners teach economics, English, history, math, physics, and science research. The winners teach in the Baldwin, Farmingdale, Herricks, Lynbrook, Manhasset, Mt Sinai, Sewanhaka, Smithtown, and Syosset school districts.