The Board of Mathematics Teachers’ Association of Chicago has named St. Rita High School faculty member, Josh Blaszak ’02, as a Rising Star for math teachers. Blaszak, a resident of Bridgeport, has been teaching at St. Rita, his alma mater, since 2008. Blaszak is a graduate of Merrimack College located in North Andover, MA where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Upon graduation he brought his skills to Philadelphia where he became an Augustinian Volunteer helping with various non-profit organizations including being the program coordinator for the Augustinian Defenders of the Right of the Poor.
In 2008, Blaszak returned to his home town and his high school to become a mathematics teacher, something that was very close to his heart. “I owed so much to St. Rita, they gave me such an appreciation for math,” Blaszak stated. “My goal is to now share the gifts I have been given with the young Ritamen I teach.” Blaszak currently teaches freshmen algebra and advanced placement calculus, and while being on two ends of the spectrum, Blaszak loves the diverse nature of his classroom. “I get to teach the students as soon as they walk in the door as freshmen and right before they head to college; it’s pretty rewarding witnessing them mature in the classroom and their lives as well.”
The Rising Star Award is given out annually and each recipient must be nominated by a member of the high school. Assistant Principal, Joe Partacz, nominated Blaszak for this award because of his dedication to math, but more importantly, his dedication to his students. “I feel that Josh has come a long way in his teaching,” Partacz said. “He is an outstanding math teacher who cares about his students and their success in mathematics. It was an honor to recommend him for the Rising Star award."
Blaszak and three other recipients of this award will be honored at the Mathematics Teachers’ Association Board Spring Dinner Meeting held on April 10th at Nazareth Academy.
While Josh may be a standout mathematics teacher, he has touched the lives of young Ritamen in many different areas. He has served as the Director of Alumni and the Director of Public Relations. He has moderated the school newspaper, the math team, and was the freshmen class moderator. Currently, Josh holds the roles of Assistant Director of Student Activities, Director of Kairos Retreats, and is the junior class moderator.
While Josh seems to spend every waking moment in the halls of St. Rita High School, he has found time to further his education. In August of 2012, Blaszak received his Masters in Education Leadership from the University of St. Francis.
School principal, Brendan Conroy, speaks for the entire St. Rita family when he says, “We are lucky to have Josh,” but it is Blaszak who feels lucky. “Being a Mathematics teacher, especially at St. Rita, is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life. Each day I enter the classroom I can honestly say I love doing what I do.”