Chalkboard Champion: Teacher combining love of teaching with passion for community service

Updated: Jan. 17, 2020 at 5:00 AM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota County teacher is now the newest Chalkboard Champion and the recipient of $500.

Phil Puzzanchera teaches social studies at Brookside Middle School.

“The interaction with students has been awesome. Just understanding where they are in their lives and just doing the best job I can to help them understand the topic that we’re studying at the time. They are so fun, I mean the range of emotions that all of them go through. They bring such creativity, such enthusiasm,” said Puzzanchera of his students.

He has spent the last 25 years teaching and has taught at Brookside Middle since 2001.

Aside from teaching students the content, he has a passion for community service. Each year he and his students participate in the local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

"We've been participating because of them. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be doing it. There's a hunger in this school and this age group, who want to do something to solve problems," said Puzzanchera.

This passion has left an impact on students as well.

“This is just a way to give back to the community. He’s totally made an impact on my life because my grandma and grandpa had cancer so I really had a connection to it,” said seventh grade student Natalie Moravec.

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