Pope Francis High School science teacher receives Senate citation

Story and photo by Sharon Roulier

Pope Francis High School science teacher Robert Brodeur (left) poses with Sen. Eric Lesser (center) and legislative aide Ryan Migeed, Cathedral High School Class of 2011.

CHICOPEE –  For his many years of dedication to teaching high school students about science and its multi-faceted impact on the world, Pope Francis High School teacher Robert Brodeur was presented with a Massachusetts Senate citation June 16.

“At the heart of it is about inspiring the next generation of young people to care about science and the environment and the impact that all of those things have on the world around us,” said Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) in his citation presentation to Brodeur at the  PFHS campus.

“The work he does deserves recognition,” said Sen. Lesser in an interview with iObserve. “We have teachers and we have schools in our state that are doing really incredible work that lasts with kids for a lifetime.”

Brodeur has been teaching science for 42 years; more than 40 of those years were at the former Cathedral High School (CHS). He even taught Sen. Lesser’s legislative aide, Ryan Migeed, a 2011 CHS graduate, who nominated his former teacher for the award.

“I graduated the year of the tornado,” said Migeed, recalling the June 1, 2011 tornado that destroyed the former Cathedral High School building on Surrey Road in Springfield. He said he was in Brodeur’s honors biology class his freshman year at Cathedral.

“He was really tough. That was a tough class. But when I saw the award and a description of what it was recognizing, I immediately thought of Mr. Brodeur, the classes he taught and the scope of what he looked at in his classes,” said Migeed. In fact, Migeed said his sister, Hannah, who is in nursing school, also remembered Brodeur and his teachings on meiosis and mitosis, which she was currently studying in college. “She was saying that she remembered the way that Mr. Brodeur drew them on the board, and so she was trying to do the same in her studies now in nursing school.”

“I’m very honored. And I’m more honored that Ryan, a former student, from so many years ago that actually remembered the course and it impressed him enough to actually nominate me for the award,” said Brodeur in an interview with iObserve.

Brodeur was recognized for his teaching in honors biology, environmental science, oceanography, earth science and aquaculture, and received the Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary’s Award for Excellence.

Lesser also recognized the school and its legacy schools, Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School, with its own citation for the “bright exciting future that lies in store for years and decades to come.”

Brodeur’s award is a “testament to your school,” Lesser told PFHS officials, and presented a citation to the school “in recognition of your environmental science, oceanography, earth science and aquaculture program,” presenting the school with its own Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary’s Award for Excellence.

Michele D’Amour, president of the board of directors of PFHS said she was “incredibly excited.” The former teacher said she appreciated Brodeur’s dedication to his profession and his students.

“For us here at Pope Francis, it certainly makes your heart swell to know that these children are, as we enter a new phase in Catholic secondary education, with really talented and dedicated staff who are willing to stay here with us and devote their lives to teaching in a Catholic school,” said D’Amour. “We can’t ask for anything else.”

Read on iobserve.org