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Jerry Kuroghlian, Lifelong Volunteer

July 10, 2017

One of the most loved English teachers at Staples High School in Westport, Dr. Gerald Kuroghlian, retired in 2009 after a 42-year teaching career. He was named Westport's Teacher of the Year in 2004.During his teaching career, Jerry served in a volunteer capacity as Liaison Officer for the Connecticut Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and wrote this regarding his service. "To be a complete person,one must give as well as receive from a professional organization. I took many ideas from NCTE when I started teaching, and now is the time to give back to the organization and my peers. I love being with the people who make up NCTE and I have made many friends as a result."

His spirit of volunteerism did not end when he retired from teaching. The gifted instructor immediately began volunteering at Mercy Learning Center — the Bridgeport literacy and life-skills organization that gives hope to hundreds of women. In the winter of 2014, Kuroghlian noticed that the children of many of the women lacked warm coats.

He looked for a way to help. Two former students at Staples High School, Max Hoberman and Taylor McNair, offered to lend a hand to "Dr. K."when they heard of the need.

On Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, before the Staples boys basketball game against Bassick, Max and Taylor (plus a few teammates) collected coats for the needy.

"This is a great example of seeing a need, and responding to it," said Staples head coach Dan Woog. "Dr. Kuroghlian has been a long-time friend of the boys soccer program. We're happy to help him out, as he helps so many kids and women in need."

"Dr. K" has been a volunteer at Mercy Learning Center for 7 years. Bill Mitchell of Mitchell's of Westport is the person who introduced him to MLC. Jerry had taught all 3 of the Mitchell boys at Staples H.S. Bill knew that Jerry was a dedicated teacher and was also looking for a place to help others in Bridgeport. Jerry says that he learns from his students, as they learn from him. They are always very appreciative and respectful. They call him TEACHER. He has had students from Syria, Bangladesh, Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, and countries in Africa. Some have had little or no schooling in their native lands. Skill levels vary. For example some can speak English but want to learn how to read and write. Others need to improve all skills in English so that they can secure entry level work. Some work an overnight shift and come directly to Mercy Learning Center for their 2 hour class in English. He has had the pleasure of attending the ceremonies in Hartford in which some of his students attained US Citizenship.

To sum it all up, Jerry Kuroghlian is a teacher who continues, in retirement, to share his love of learning, his talent for teaching, and his desire to give help where it is needed.

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