The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Tenafly Honors Mr. Hegarty and Ms. Chasey As Teacher and ESP of the Year for 2023-2024

Tenafly+Honors+Mr.+Hegarty+and+Ms.+Chasey+As+Teacher+and+ESP+of+the+Year+for+2023-2024

As the year is nearing its end, it is important to congratulate those who made it so special. No wonder award shows hold such significance in American culture, truly showing gratitude to those well deserving of it. As movies such as Everything Everywhere All at Once were awarded Best Picture at the Oscars or Harry’s House winning the Emmy for Album of the Year, Tenafly High School has an award of its own: Teacher of the Year. While THS does not give a gaudy golden trophy, being named Teacher of the Year still holds substantial importance to the school district. This recognition underscores the impact exceptional staff members have on the student body and the academic landscape as a whole. All bragging rights of Tenafly Teacher of the Year are bestowed upon Mr. Michael Hegarty and Ms. Carla Chasey, one being a renowned history guru and the other being the unsung hero of the special education department. Both Hegarty and Chasey are more than deserving of this title as they bring immeasurable value to the educational community.

Room 211 is a war scene, consumed by historical references and led by their general, a passionate and outspoken leader who leads his army into securing victory in the final battle, the AP exam. Mr. Hegarty is an renowned teacher in the history department who is best known for teaching American history, specifically the rigorous course of APUSH. Despite priding himself on being engaging and humorous, Hegarty is a humble soul at heart. He was overwhelmed with emotion when last Thursday, November 30th, Mr. Morrison announced on the public address system that Hegarty had won this impressive accolade. “It’s an honor to be recognized, but I believe all teachers deserve recognition,” Hegarty said. Although he denies being worthy of this honor, other staff members in the history department tend to disagree. Ms. Cutrone, Social Studies Supervisor, recognized the efforts of Hegarty over his 27 years here at THS: “Mr. Hegarty exemplifies the very essence of Teacher of the Year. His remarkable gift for storytelling and dedication to nurturing critical thinking not only captivates students but leaves an enduring imprint, fostering a lifelong passion for learning. Beyond the classroom, his magnetic teaching style and genuine connections with students make him a beloved figure at THS. I can’t think of anyone more deserving than him.” 

While American history may seem like a bore to some, Hegarty makes it his goal to “try to do [his] best everyday for the students.” Many students enjoy his teaching style for APUSH, an onerous class with a hefty workload. The class is mostly independent as it is focused on Alan Brinkely’s American History textbook; however, Hegarty finds ways to teach topics through interactive lessons. He leaves an impression on his students, molding them to become some of the highest scoring students who take the APUSH exam with averages of 4s and 5s. Joe Cogan (‘25) described Hegarty as “a teacher who strives to engage his students and help them succeed.” The lesson plans are captivating and his casual tone makes APUSH less intimidating. Students play a series of extra credit games that add some fun to the class such as Hot Seat and Pictionary, giving Hegarty the other title of Supreme Game Commander. When outside the classroom, Hegarty is an avid sports fanatic and is the coach for two sports here at THS: Hockey and Tennis. His well-rounded character and vital role to this high school utterly proves his own opinion to be wrong, and that he is more than qualified to be named Tenafly Teacher of the Year.

Now focusing on a different facet of THS, the school district also grants an award to the Education Support Professional, or ESP, of the year. This year’s ESP spotlight is on Ms. Chasey who has been working in the special education department for nine and a half years. Chasey said her initial reaction was absolute shock, yet she still felt deeply touched and honored to be selected out of her esteemed associates. Mrs. Scanlon, fellow special education teacher, commented on behalf of the department: “We are all very lucky to work with Ms. Chasey. She always goes above and beyond to help the students and teachers of this school.  Her positive and supportive nature helps set the tone for the classroom. We are all thrilled Ms. Chasey was selected as this year’s Support Person of the Year and can’t think of anyone more deserving.”

Chasey stated during her interview that her favorite part about her job is graduation because “when students accomplish their goals, then [she] met her goal.” Her sweet disposition is greatly admired and is felt within the department, as well as the various students she guides throughout high school. When asked to give one piece of advice to the student body, Chasey said the following: “Every day is new and a gift is a chance to start again. Always wake up the next day, ready to start again.” Chasey’s humility coincides with her patient and understanding tone, something essential to being an ESP. Chasey is also extremely appreciative of her colleagues whom she loves as she noted, “they have become a family to [her].” Ms. Chasey is a pleasure to have here at Tenafly High School with her gentle persona and great influence she has on the students and staff.

THS is compiled of impressive professionals, but Ms. Chasey and Mr. Hegarty unquestionably fit the roles for the 2023-2024 Tenafly ESP of the Year and Tenafly Teacher of the Year. Mr. Hegarty is the fearless captain of the social studies schooner, navigating students through the tumultuous waters of American history with a touch of comedy, charisma, and game-night prowess. Ms. Chasey spreads warmth and encouragement, enlightening students and turning each day into a new opportunity for success. Both educators bring unique qualities to the Tenafly mix, showing how teaching is more than just a job, it’s a passion. So, here’s to Ms. Chasey and Mr. Hegarty, the undoubtedly meritorious recipients of the previously stated titles. May their teaching legacies continue to inspire students and allow adolescents to understand what teaching is truly all about.

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About the Contributors
Selah Jain, Staff Writer
Selah Jain ('25) is thrilled to be a part of The Echo to discuss topics from pop culture to local events and everything in between! Selah is currently stage manager for the THS theater department as she has a big appreciation for the arts. Aside from school, she loves music, traveling, and trying new things.
Isaac Topfer, Guest Writer
Isaac Topfer ('25) is beyond excited to be a part of The Echo and to write about contemporary events and pop culture. Isaac loves to learn, play sports, hang out with friends, and try new things. He is a member in various clubs and loves to stay engaged in his community.