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Harvard Club Honors St. Anthony’s Teacher

Karen Scharbach is named a 'Distinguished Teacher of 2014.'

Karen Scharbach is named a 'Distinguished Teacher of 2014.' Credit: Courtesy Photo
Karen Scharbach is named a 'Distinguished Teacher of 2014.' Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Harvard Club of Long Island has named Karen Scharbach, an educator at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, a “Distinguished Teacher of 2014.”

“Our awards recognize teachers who spend unfathomable amounts of time and energy on our Long Island teens, year after year,” said Dr. Judith Esterquest, in a press release. Esterquest is the Harvard Club of Long Island treasurer and chair of the distinguished teacher selection committee. 

“Dedicated teachers like Mrs. Scharbach inspire students to dream, to work to accomplish those dreams, and to think rigorously about what they want their future to be,” she added.

Scharbach is one of 12 teachers from school districts across Long Island to receive this award. 

She will be honored at the Harvard Club of Long Island’s annual University Relations Luncheon on March 29.  Following the award ceremony, Harry Lewis -- a professor of computer science, author and former dean of Harvard College -- will give a lecture titled, “Reinventing Higher Education in the Information Age.”  

Scharbach, who teaches AP-level math courses at St. Anthony’s High School, has served her community as a teacher for almost 35 years. With both her BA and Masters in mathematics, and as the first person to graduate from St. Francis College with a 4.0 GPA since its inception 90 years prior, she is praised for her dedication to bring to life "the most difficult math concepts for her high school students," according to the Harvard Club of Long Island.

When not in the classroom, Scharbach enjoys kayaking and swimming with her husband, daughters and grandchildren. Many consider her a model of service and dedication at St. Anthony’s, and each year more than 30 students entrust her with their letters of recommendation for their applications to college. 

Nominated by Christian Yeager, a former St. Anthony’s High School student who will graduate from Harvard College in June 2016, Scharbach was described as someone who “made sense of difficult material, constantly making it interesting and applicable. As an applied math concentrator at Harvard, I continually rely on the approach to learning that Mrs. Scharbach taught us.”

At a March 29 ceremony, the Harvard Club of Long Island will announce the winners of 2014 who will also receive scholarships for a “Harvard experience” at the university's campus in Cambridge, Mass. Previous scholarship winners have sampled resources available to Harvard students. They have met with faculty; visited research laboratories, rare book archives, and specialty museums; and enjoyed visual and performance art. The scholarships are funded by contributions from Harvard alumni living on Long Island.

“We are proud to honor these teachers, whose efforts enable our Long Island students to thrive at top universities and to be upstanding citizens,” said Susan Novick, Harvard Club of Long Island President.

When Brother Gary Cregan, the principal at St. Anthony's learned of this award, he noted that the school has "many excellent teachers," adding that “Karen Scharbach is a consummate professional. She lives for her students and could make even the most reticent math student come alive.”

This year’s 14 award winners were nominated by current Harvard undergraduates and then selected by Harvard Club of Long Island board members. These educators teach biology, chemistry, earth science, English, government, history, math, science research, and social studies. The winners teach in the Baldwin, East Meadow, Farmingdale, Herricks, Island Trees, Lindenhurst, Manhasset, Massapequa, and Syosset school districts, as well as the Long Island School for the Gifted, the North Shore Hebrew Academy, and The Stony Brook School.

Past winners from St. Anthony’s include Philomena Clement, an English teacher at the high school.

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