Collegiate Honors Matt Togna for Excellence

Collegiate is happy to honor members of our faculty and staff for their dedication and passion. This year’s Upper School Hamill Family Endowment Award is presented to Matt Togna. 
In 2016, Bill and Susan Hamill and their daughters Blake '98 and Carter '01 created the Hamill Family Endowment in appreciation for the excellent teaching their daughters received while at Collegiate. The endowment recognizes and rewards outstanding full-time teachers who have 15 years or less of experience, with a preference for teachers early in their career. The endowment also rewards specific attributes in these young teachers who demonstrate faithful commitment to the teacher-coach-mentor model and demonstrate student success in inspiring student attainment in the areas of critical thinking and problem-solving, accessing and analyzing information and effective oral, written, multimedia communication and more. The Hamills recognize great mentors can come in many forms, and therefore this award is not limited to teachers who are solely classroom instructors.

The following remarks were made by Patrick Loach at the Opening of School Meeting, held August 2022.

This year’s Hamill Award recipient challenges and supports his 9th Grade students to rise to the challenges of a very demanding course. He works hard to bring science to life the moment he dons his lab coat and goggles and begins mixing chemicals, lighting the Bunsen burner, turning on the fume hood and demonstrating various reactions. When you walk by his classroom and the students are working on a lab, they are fully engaged, and he purposefully makes his way to each pair to check on their progress. The smile on their faces tells you that everyone is headed in the right direction. When they are not, this teacher is by their side to offer guidance and extra help. 

Frequently meeting students before and after school and during lunch, he does everything he can to ensure that his students are understanding the material. When not in the science lab, he can be found on the deck at the Collegiate Aquatics Center providing coaching to our swimmers. Even after a full day of teaching and a long bus ride back on the Chippenham, he exits the bus with a big smile. In recent years, he has stepped in to help Coach Kondo run the SCA. He has helped to prepare for the annual student leadership retreat, strung twinkle lights before a dance, made hot chocolate for donut delight, set up Field Day, cleaned up after Prom, and does just about anything you ask to help support events for the students. There is no job too big or too small that he is not willing to do when asked. 

Last year, I asked him and Dr. Angell to design a program to mentor new faculty, and they led a series of meetings throughout the year to introduce colleagues to the ins and outs of the Upper School. From counseling and academic services to Brunch and Feast, they made sure no stone was unturned. I first met our recipient when he was coaching my son’s summer swim team. No, he does not take the summer off and thinks it is fun to run a swim team of kids ranging from 5 to 18 years old. I tried to convince him to come to Collegiate and he said, “no, thank you,” but I asked if he would just visit. Even though he only spent a couple of hours on campus, he was impressed enough to take the next step. It has been our great fortune to have him join the science team and the Upper School, and I am incredibly proud to share that he recently finished his doctoral dissertation and received his Ph.D. 

Please join me in congratulating the 2022 Upper School Hamill Award recipient, Dr. Matt Togna.