Top Teacher: Steve Balogh - Mont Pleasant Middle School | WNYT.com

Top Teacher: Steve Balogh - Mont Pleasant Middle School

Sam Hesler
Updated: March 30, 2022 04:09 PM
Created: March 30, 2022 12:45 PM

"You have the girl at the end of the year that says, 'You know how bad my home life is, but for 53 minutes a day, I am going to laugh, learn, cry from one of your stories, and I am going to be safe,'" Balogh explained. "Where else can you get that? You know, every day you get it." 

For Steve Balogh, it's those moments that make teaching worthwhile. 

The social studies teacher at Mont Pleasant Middle School in Schenectady has spent the last 16 years creating a classroom that resembles a museum, making history come to life for his students with each activity, story, and item on the wall. 

"When we were learning about Rosa Parks, we moved our desks and made it like a scene that we were on the bus," said Joseph Hargraves, a student at Mont Pleasant. 

"He makes history interesting by putting a lot of things we wouldn't normally learn about, like in textbooks," added student Apolonia Allois. 

From license plates to technology from various eras, each item in Mr. Balogh's room has a story. Many of those items represent American heroes, who aren't found in a textbook or on the cover of a magazine, like Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham. He gave his life to save his fellow troops, and is a person Mr. Balogh wants each one of his students to know. 

"Don't tell me LeBron James is a hero, don't tell me Eminem is a hero. They are all great, but this is a guy who gave up his life for us," Balogh said. 

As he teaches students about this country's worst and finest moments, and about the men and women who protect it, he wants students to know they have the power to write their own story, despite what challenges they may face. 

"I want you to come and visit me at my grave and say, 'You know Mr. Balogh, I traveled around the world,'" he said.


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