A new addition, a new ally

“I like that I know I’m making a difference in the world,” Steve Gilgur said, smiling. “I’m impacting people’s lives directly.”

Gilgur, newly arrived from Mountain Lakes High School to West Essex this year, is a high-energy chemistry teacher with a smile always on his face. He’s the kind of person that jumps into new things head-on, with enthusiasm to spare.

A self-professed “science and techy nerd,” Gilgur openly embraces it with his passion for the sciences. Each time he enters the classroom, Gilgur starts teaching with enthusiasm, trying to awaken and foster excitement in his students.

“Even if it’s one student in the class that says after taking your science class, ‘I see the world through different eyes,’ … It may really change the course of their lives,” Gilgur said.

Gilgur was once a passionate material science engineering major, which requires working with and creating new metals, but when no jobs were available near his family, he decided to pursue education, he said, and immediately fell in love with teaching. He described how he loved finding the niche for kids who weren’t interested in sports or the arts, but rather the sciences or math.

The possibilities of science, at least to Gilgur, are endless, and can even be incorporated into the arts. Gilgur is the light and sound tech director for his wife’s theater group, in charge of making all the special effects on stage run smoothly. Though it may seem surprising at first, for someone so passionate about science to also have been doing theater for nearly 20 years, this is just normal to this light and sound techie.

“It’s this beautiful combination of falling in love with the arts but bringing my computer-nerd skills with it,” said Gilgur.

But that’s not all. Gilgur, just as he did in Mountain Lakes High school, said he’s planning on starting a chess club. This is where his care for his students’ well-being really becomes front and center. “The students would teach each other,” Gilgur said when discussing the possibility of a chess club for the students. “I would be just a club adviser.” While he admits that he’s not the best at chess, he knows that his students would be more than up to the challenge. After all, Gligur knows his students come first, and he will always be their ally.

“I like that [science] gives math a purpose,” Gilgur said. “Kids are learning math but they’re seeing how it can be applied to everyday situations we see in nature.”

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