By Dan McDonald
For Hometown News
BREVARD -- The past week and a half has been a whirlwind for Brevard County's newest Teacher of the Year, Jason Schack, and one, he said, he would remember for years to come.
"They've already sent me this giant package, so I can go on to compete in the Florida Teacher of the Year competition," said Mr. Schack, a physical education teacher and assistant athletic director from Melbourne High School, who was named to the honor at the Jan. 23 ABC Gala. "To be honest, it's so much paper work, I haven't even opened the package. I still want to enjoy the moment. But, come Monday, I'll open the package and get going."
For Mr. Schack, 33, who was selected to represent the county from a pool of 90 Brevard teachers, named Teacher of the Year at their local schools or programs, the process has been extremely gratifying.
"I'll be honest, I was surprised to win at Melbourne High," said Mr. Schack, who is the father of two daughters. "We have so many great teachers at our school, I feel blessed to be able to represent them."
When he first learned that he was named one of the six finalists, Mr. Schack said it was more than he could have imagined.
"Believe me, all of the teachers in that contest are great teachers, who really represent what teaching is all about," he said.
Then, when Mr. Schack heard his name called Wednesday night at the ABC Gala, attended by hundreds of his peers, shock was the first feeling that came to mind.
"I feel privileged to be able to represent the teachers of Melbourne High and Brevard County," he said. "We're all trying to make a difference in children's lives, and hopefully we do that every day."
"It's been so exciting," Mr. Schack said. "The students here have given me hugs, and high fives, and banners and hand written cards. It's been non-stop."
But, some of the greatest things, he said, have been the number of former students, who have contacted him after hearing the news.
"That's what teaching is all about. It's a chance to touch a student's life in a positive way," Mr. Schack said. "I think that's why most of us went into teaching, and I'm just proud to have the chance to represent the community."