Sumner High School Teacher of the Year Tony Pirotta was one of just three educators in the country to win the 2022 American Civic Education Teacher Award, which he won for his leadership in the Ought to Be a Law program.

John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” Tony Pirotta, Sumner High School’s teacher of the year, is making a daily difference, and his impact will be felt in our community for years to come.

Pirotta teaches civics at Sumner High School. He was one of three educators in the country to win the 2022 American Civic Education Teacher Award. Tony also sponsors Sumner’s student government association, coaches the girls’ soccer team, announces football games on Fridays in the fall and spearheads Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Ought to Be a Law program. The hours he puts in at school are nothing compared to his passion for integrity.

Sumner High School Principal Robert Nelson said Priotta’s impact reaches well beyond the classroom.

“Tony is an amazing civics teacher who connects with his students on a daily basis. He is an incredible asset to our school and community. I am blessed and honored to have him on my staff,” Nelson said.

Pirotta focuses on teaching students that there is no better time to have an impact than today.

“I want to help my students understand that they can make a difference now. I feel that many Americans feel as though they are just one person that is somewhat powerless to effect change in their community. I want to show my students that that is just not true. Our communities will only become what we make them,” Pirotta said.

Sumner’s Student Government Association said Pirotta makes them desire to be engaged citizens. Pirotta leads the Ought to Be a Law program, created in 2008, for Hillsborough County Schools. Ought to Be a Law is a student-led service-learning program that provides students an opportunity to work with the Florida State Legislature in drafting, lobbying and presenting real legislative bills.

“While I hope the students enjoy the learning experience Ought to Be a Law provides for them. I hope even more that they learn about being engaged and responsible citizens that help build better and stronger communities. I hope they learn about service and treating people with respect,” Pirotta said.

Without a doubt, Pirotta’s students in the Ought to Be a Law program and at Sumner High School learn service, respect and compassion. Our community is different and better because of Pirotta.

Read more about Ought to Be a Law here:

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