Lyla Laffin and Sophie Brassard, Staff Writers
For those of you who don’t already have him as a teacher, New Paltz High School has recently welcomed a new member to the Social Studies department, Mr. Burger. He decided to come back to the Hudson Valley after going away for college because “New Paltz seemed like a great welcoming community to be a part of. It has certainly lived up to its reputation.”
Growing up in the Poughkeepsie area, Mr. Burger attended Arlington High School, then later attended SUNY Geneseo in Western New York for college. He stated, “I loved Geneseo and that area but it’s great to be back in the Hudson Valley. Leaving for a few years definitely made me appreciate this place much more.” New Paltz High School is not his first rodeo though; before coming here he taught in Troy, New York which is near Albany. In Troy, he was involved outside of the classroom as well by coaching the school’s JV baseball team. While teaching in Troy he was fresh out of college, and got to live with some of his college friends which he enjoyed. He shares, “Though it was a positive experience, I wanted to come back to this area to be closer to my now fiance and my family.”
We asked him about what some of his favorite things to do outside of school were, and some hobbies he has. He talked about how much he loves being outdoors and that he is super excited for the upcoming ski and snow season. He also enjoys running and biking, but due to the sun setting so early it is a lot harder to fit in time after school. However, above all else, his favorite hobby is photography. He said “my camera goes with me everywhere, so going through all of my pictures or scanning film takes up a lot of my free time.” Mr. Burger also mentioned that although he never intended to stray from teaching, if he were to choose a different career, he would be a sports photographer. He has done some shoots of snowboarding, skiing, running, soccer, and basketball events in the past, and did his first wedding and engagement shoot this past summer. “I enjoy taking pictures of everything, but shooting outdoor sports would be a dream summer job,” he says. Along with photography, he has begun to get really into film over the past few years. Mr. Burger has many talents and hobbies outside of school that could benefit the students of NPHS.
His message for the students of New Paltz High School was how thankful he was for everyone accepting him and giving him a warm welcome. “It’s never easy feeling like ‘the new kid’ and not knowing anyone, so I had a lot of nerves coming into the year.” His experiences make him want to remind us all to be friendly to others in the hallway, and welcome the new faces and people coming from other districts. He said, “just seeing friendly faces saying hello in the hallway goes a long way to helping new people feel a sense of belongingness here.”