Three inspiring teachers who have gone above and beyond to help their students succeed have been named the winners of Humber College’s The Greatest High School Teacher contest.

Therese Hassan from St. Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, David D’Ercole from Monsignor Fraser College in Toronto and Lorie Field from Nelson High School in Burlington were all selected as this year’s winners. They were invited to the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation on May 30 for a special reception.

Humber’s long-standing contest offers entrants an opportunity to win a $500 gift certificate from the Humber Bookstore while honouring a special high school teacher who went the extra mile to inspire them and their peers.

To enter, they needed to write a 500-word essay describing their greatest high school teacher along with completing the registration form.  

Marta “Jaqui” Lopes, who’s enrolled in Humber’s Pharmacy Technician program, nominated D’Ercole. In the essay, Lopes wrote about struggling with math and how D’Ercole provided invaluable support that kept Lopes and the other students engaged.

“I remember the day I received my final math grade and came to his class in tears that I finally accomplished something worth sharing with everyone,” wrote Lopes. “I was one step closer to achieving my dreams of entering a post-secondary school and further pursuing my dreams.”

“David was an amazing teacher who gave me the courage that, despite the tough times I was going through, I could do anything I put my mind to,” Lopes wrote in the essay.

A person stands in front of a blackboard while speaking to an audience.

D’Ercole was pleased to see what Lopes was able to accomplish in his class.

“She knew I was pushing her to do well, and she ended up doing very well and became valedictorian for our school,” said D’Ercole.

Hassan was nominated by Rein Roxas, a student in the Tourism - Travel Services Management program. Roxas said Hassan “really loved her students” and worked hard to support them.

Roxas called Hassan “the greatest high school teacher I ever had.”

“She was not only a great teacher but also a mentor, providing us with support for our mental and physical health. Her vulnerability and support allowed me to overcome my challenges and become a better version of myself. I will always cherish the memories and lessons I learned in her class.”

A person smiles and laughs while standing if front of a blackboard.

Hassan became emotional when reacting to the nomination.

“I’m very hard on myself and I’m always challenging myself to do better and questioning whether I’m doing enough or working hard enough for the students that I teach. It’s really meaningful to get this (award) at this time and know the work I’m doing has reach.”

Kaitlyn Caughill, who’s enrolled in the Bachelor of Science –Nursing program, lauded Field for the unwavering support she provided.

“I just felt a connection with her and felt like she was a safe person for me,” said Caughill. “Mrs. Field inspired me to chase after anything and to not put myself down before I know the outcome. There were so many times where I didn’t think I was going to be able to do something but she pushed me to try.”

In the nominating essay, Caughill wrote about how the two still stay in touch to this day.

“What sets her aside from any other teacher I have had is that her care for her students did not end when you completed her course. She continuously looks out for every student she has had and is a pillar of support. For me, she was a crucial part of who I am today.”

The winning teachers received a plaque commemorating the honour. In addition to the award, the winning teachers will also get to choose a current high school student to receive a full tuition scholarship to Humber in their name.

Those who nominated the winning teachers will also have their names added to the plaque and will receive a recognition certificate.