by Sophie Krichevsky, Associate Editor (original article)
Townsend Harris High School’s own Brian Sweeney recently won the FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence, a $25,000 prize honoring one teacher from each of the five boroughs for showing commitment to learning through creativity.
Sweeney, who teaches English, was recognized for his work overseeing the daily school newspaper, The Classic.
He also created and runs a writing center where students can seek help from editors of The Classic. On top of that, he spearheaded a new senior symposium, during which second-semester seniors learn how to do college-level research papers on literary texts of their choice. Sweeney worked with Queens College to give students access to research materials; the finished products were displayed at the college library. And those are just some of his contributions to the Townsend Harris community.
In addition to a $25,000 personal prize, FLAG Award winners are given a $10,000 grant to put toward education initiatives at their schools. Sweeney plans to put that money toward the school’s student-run literary outfit, the Starling Press. The group publishes books written by student authors.
Sweeney thanked his students, colleagues and the FLAG Award committee in a statement. “Teaching means everything to me, and at the end of the day, it’s also just a lot of fun,” he said. “I have so much fun working with some of the most courageous and passionate students in America and being recognized for that in this way is the honor of a lifetime.”