Shawn Flanagan, biomedical sciences teacher at Newark High School, received a unique birthday present this year. At the end of the school’s annual honors and awards assembly, he learned that the 2018 Arcadian was dedicated to him.
The senior class nominated staff members for the dedication in fall 2017. Flanagan received the highest number of votes.
In revealing the mystery clues as to who the yearbook was dedicated to, Arcadian editor Bailey McCormick said the individual taught in Newark for 17 years; currently teaches Project Lead the Way, biomed and Advanced Placement biology; and taught living environment, chemistry, forensic science and sixth- and eighth-grade science.
“He also helped run Boy Scout Troop 122 in Newark, and is the junior membership supervisor at Newark-Arcadia EMS,” said McCormick, a junior. “His mission as a teacher is ‘to make sure you realize what biology and science can mean for you now and in the future.’ This year’s yearbook dedication goes out to Mr. Shawn Flanagan.’’
Two of the four students whose photos appear on the dedication page to Flanagan read their reasons for why they chose him.
“After being one of Mr. Flanagan’s students for the past five years, it is clear to me that teaching is not just a job for him, but his entire life revolves around it with a great amount of passion,” said Landon Barrios, a senior. “Whether it be staying until 6 p.m. to help a student catch up on work, offering a ride to a student that may not have a way to or from school or just being a good friend, he always puts his students before himself. Throughout the past five years he has made me love science, and has helped me realize that I want to pursue a career in the medical field. He has proved to myself and others that he truly loves what he does for a living and, because of that, he has left a great impact on many lives. Thank you, Mr. Flanagan, for everything you’ve done for your students, and congratulations.”
“I chose Mr. Flanagan, because over the years he has made me feel important about myself and has shown me that I can do anything as long as I work for it,” said Megan Cauwels, a senior.
Members of the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to Flanagan. After coming forward to receive a yearbook from McCormick and congratulations from the entire staff — including co-advisers Amanda Kessler and Jackie Miller — Flanagan said he was honored to receive the recognition.
Flanagan said this graduating class was special to him, because he and the Class of 2018 came to NHS from Newark Middle School the same year. He said he is fortunate in his life to have had two careers he has loved.
“As a paramedic, I thought nothing could top the feeling of helping someone in need until I became a teacher and got to see a student I’ve known and worked with for a semester, or a year or five years, achieve their aspirations,” he said.
Flanagan grew up in Rhode Island, and has taught in Newark Central School District since 2001. He is a critical care paramedic, certified by New York state since 1998. He was certified by the state of Rhode Island as an emergency medical technician in 1992. Flanagan has been a volunteer provider for his emergency medical services career that spans 25 years, working with Newark-Arcadia Volunteer Ambulance, Brighton Volunteer Ambulance and in Rhode Island with the URI Community Ambulance and South County Ambulance and Rescue Corps. He worked with Rural/Metro Medical Services of Rochester and Lyons Town Ambulance.
He earned his bachelor’s degrees in biology and zoology from University of Rhode Island. He holds a master’s degree in education from Roberts Wesleyan College, and attended paramedic school at Monroe Community College as well as critical care paramedic training at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Flanagan completed coursework with Project Lead the Way at Stevenson University in Pikesville, Maryland.
At NHS, Flanagan serves as the teacher/coordinator for the school’s Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences program. He taught multiple courses, including Regents biology, living environment, chemistry and forensic science. He taught at NMS in sixth- and eighth-grade science, and established the eighth-grade living environment course for students wishing to take high school biology.
He is an American Heart Association instructor for basic, advanced cardiovascular and pediatric advanced life supports, and served the state as regional faculty to assure the quality of courses and programming as training new instructors.
Flanagan served on the Newark-Arcadia EMS board of directors for 12 years, including two years as vice president and four years as president. In 2012, he was named the Newark-Wayne Community Hospital EMS educator of excellence. Flanagan is the Eagle rank coordinator for Boy Scout Troop 122, co-adviser to the NHS Empty Closets/Open Hearts Organization and a volunteer with Big Brothers of America. In his spare time, he is a “Star Wars” enthusiast, Lego builder, superhero and Superman historian and enjoys various movie genres.
Kessler said this was the first year she taught the yearbook class.
“It was quite the learning experience,” she said. “I’m very proud of my yearbook staff and the hard work they put into making this book meaningful. They truly encapsulated what it means to be a ‘Real Red’ here at NHS. Also, a shout out to Jackie Miller for all the behind-the-scenes editing and so on.”
Kessler introduced NHS senior and Arcadian staff member Jadon Treese, who produced a video about what it means to be a “Real Red,” this year’s yearbook theme.
The staff produced a special yearbook, the Reds Wagon Yearbook, at the request of Matthew Groot, who teaches the functional skills development class with Sarah Kiley at NHS. The yearbook was presented to Groot, Kiley and members of the class.
At the end of the assembly, attendees viewed a slideshow that chronicled the 2017-18 school year at NHS that was produced by sophomore Ella Crowder.