Gene Sawan honored with amazing teacher award


Gene Sawan honored with amazing teacher award

Revere High School teacher Gene Sawan received an award from the Akron Beacon Journal, and after 35 years of teaching, has decided to retire.

Science teacher Sawan teaches multiple different classes, consisting of Physical Science, Honors Chemistry, and Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry. The Akron Beacon Journal published an article titled “Meet Amazing Teacher Gene Sawan.” Every month the Akron Beacon Journal gives out an “amazing teacher” award based on nominations by principals in Northeast Ohio. Along with teachers, they also recognize students. Only a few Revere staff members have ever received this award.

Principal of Revere High School Phillip King explains why he chose the science teacher.

“It’s hard to pick the best teacher, but I really felt that Mr. Sawan deserved recognition because of the time he’s put in, the relationships he has with his students, the way he has such a positive influence on so many students, and his professionalism,” King said.
When Sawan received the award, he heard from old students and their families.

“What was nice [was] that people saw it, and I heard from old parents and old students. The only recognition I really care about is the recognition I get from my students, the parents, and the community,” Sawan said.

Along with being recognized as an “amazing teacher,” Sawan has also decided that this will be his last year of teaching. Sawan decided this because he thinks it is time to let someone else step in.

“When you get to my age, you start to realize you’re not going to live forever, and if I could teach for the rest of my life, I would. I [also] figured my wife is taking a backseat in many ways for many years because of teaching, and I’ve taken the backseat to her because she is a teacher, too, and we both decided to hand the baton over to someone else to carry on the profession and spend some time together,” Sawan said.

Even with all the free time during retirement, Sawan explained that he can easily find a way to fill the time.

“[My wife and I] plan on doing a fair amount of traveling and tons of projects that I just wouldn’t have time for, and I’ve never been one to have trouble filling my time, so I’m not going to be bored for a second,” Sawan said.

At the beginning of Sawan’s career, he did not originally plan to become a teacher, but he did get his inspiration for the job from his mother, a past English and drama teacher.

“I worked in business, I worked on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, [and] I worked as a clothing manufacturer as a marketing person. I did a bunch of other things before I decided to become a teacher, ” Sawan said.

Sawan got his teaching degree from the University of Akron. His classes share similarities and differences, but Sawan could not choose a favorite.

“The AP [Chemistry] is great because you get into concepts that you just can’t deal with every other class. My Physical Science class, we do things where I just wouldn’t get to when I got into Chemistry. In Honors Chemistry I get a whole wealth of students that are really pretty bright to work with. So there really is no favorite class, they all have something special to offer,” Sawan said.

Through Sawan’s years of teaching he’s made friends with staff, including fellow science teacher Jeff Shane. Shane teaches h and AP Physics. This is his 31st year. Sawan and Shane talk in the mornings, and Shane is inspired by Sawan’s relationships with his students.

“I’ve watched how much he cares for his students, and it’s reinforced the idea that if you care, you can help reach most of them, and he’s really good at reaching out to his students,” Shane said.

Along with Shane, King has also seen the way Sawan can always encourage students. King added that Sawan is a great help with decision making because of his strong opinions.

“Every time I talk to [Sawan], he’s got a good strong opinion on how good students do, and he has a strong opinion on how things should be, or what we should do, so I really appreciate that. He also has strong beliefs, so I love working with him just because of that,” King said.

Sawan is not only a science teacher, but also is the advisor for the chess club, King can see the dedication and work he has put into the club.

“[His chess club] really means a lot to him, and I’m really glad that he does it, it satisfies a need or a want from our students. And not too many people are excited about the chess club but he was, and the class was always full with students from all over the place,” King said.

Through his 35 years of teaching, Sawan has impacted many students, staff, and families, and is happy to represent the Revere district.