Cassim Tily chosen as HNGC Teacher of the Year

The enthusiastic science teacher shares his thoughts on a very weird year.


Photo courtesy of Cassim Tily.

Teacher of the Year is an achievement awarded every year to a teacher voted on by their peers. They go through multiple rounds of voting until one is finally chosen by popular vote. At HNGC this year, that teacher is science teacher Cassim Tily.

“The opportunity to make a positive difference in students’ lives is why I am in this profession,” Tily said. “It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to give students knowledge and skills that they can use in their lives. It may not be the academic content only. They can see how adults handle challenges with the proper mindset and can be inspired to handle their own challenges in a healthy manner.”

Due to changes made on campus, staff and students had to adapt to new regulations put forward for safety reasons due to COVID-19, and the learning environment has been impacted the most for many.

“As the world of education evolves during this pandemic, the use of technology has greatly increased,” Tily said. “I mean before I would simply rely on my great looks and amazing personality…Most of the time, the students are teaching the teachers about technology and I think it’s important for teachers to keep an open mind when students are telling us how they are willing to learn and actually complete their assignments.”

Freshman year is a very important year for many, the import of schedules and class periods, to the learning environment set forth by staff. Due to the pandemic, the year started on the wrong foot, but there is always a way to make learning more engaging and positive and a good teacher is one of them.

“I would describe Mr. Tily as a teacher who is going to push you until you get it,” freshman Caden Adams said. “He’s the type of person who doesn’t mind being honest with people if that’s going to help them be more successful.”

To be a teacher is to support the next generation, and to help them be as successful as possible no matter what the circumstances are. It is key to have a good support system to be able to get through those rough moments in the classroom and Tily proves to be a good impact on his students.

“One moment in Mr, Tily’s class that had a positive impact on me was when I didn’t do that great on a test,” freshman Sandy Akoy said. “Mr. Tily told me to believe in myself and don’t let one bad grade justify my future and I have always had that in the back of my head to remember that I’m not perfect – I’m going to make mistakes.”

As the school year is inching to its end, it has already been a year since the world changed unexpectedly, and this is an achievement indeed. This change brought out so much out of students and staff, both positive and negative. Tily seems geared toward focusing on the positive.

“We are so close to getting through a pandemic-filled academic school year,” Tily said. “And we absolutely conquered that challenge! I hope students realize this. Students may think they didn’t learn enough because we did not have a traditional school year. But I think it’s the opposite. Students have learned so many practical tools. We discuss this in my classes often, and I hope they can use these tools in the professional fields that they get into in the future!”