Culinary teacher Matthew Thompson wins teacher of the year


photo by PJ Hagerty High School

Thompson poses with his family and Frasca. They came in to surprise him with balloons and flowers during his Culinary 4 class.

On Oct. 6, culinary teacher Matthew Thompson was announced as teacher of the year. Thompson was teaching his Culinary 4 class when the announcement was made, and the class erupted into cheers when they found out. Senior Brody Kane was one of the loudest in the room, cheering and congratulating his teacher of four years. 

“I was so happy for him,” Kane said. “I knew he deserved it. He really makes a connection with his students and he genuinely cares about them.” 

Thompson, equally surprised, expressed his gratitude to all the students who voted for him. 

“[This award] means everything to me,” Thompson said. “I was not expecting to win [teacher of the year].”

Principal Robert Frasca came to the room to gift Thompson with balloons and a bouquet of flowers, and his wife and children even made a guest appearance to surprise him. Out of a list of more than 20 nominees, Thompson was selected to represent Hagerty in Seminole County’s teacher of the year contest. 

In previous years, teacher of the year nominees have been selected by a panel of teachers, but this year, the voting was in the hands of the students. A Google Form was sent out on Sept. 20 that asked students to nominate a teacher of the year and why they thought that teacher deserved it. Thompson credits all his success to his students. 

“I couldn’t have done it without [my students],” Thompson said. “They all care about each other and take care of each other. They’re the reason our program keeps growing. We became one of the largest, if not the largest culinary program in the county because of them.”