Tim Burkard and Bob Schwartz
Tim Burkard, a science teacher in the alternative support center at Hazelwood Central High School, nominated Bob Schwartz for the Fox 2 Pay it Forward award.
Schwartz volunteers in the alternative support center twice a week, helping tutor students in math, science and conversational Spanish. When he is not volunteering at HCHS, Schwartz gives his time to the Team food pantry.
Burkard said he nominated Schwartz for several reasons.
“I nominated Mr. Schwartz because he is a great role model for everyone, not just the students,” said Burkard. “He chooses to come here multiple times a week to help make a difference. The relationships he builds with students are more valuable than the content he helps the students with.
“Prior to meeting Mr. Schwartz, I always pictured retirement as a time to relax. He has helped me to realize that that doesn’t mean sitting idle. He doesn’t come here because he has to; he comes because he enjoys it. Most importantly he enjoys helping others.”
Burkard said the nomination was a way to thank Schwartz for the time he dedicates to the students.
“When you really get down to it, the reason I nominated Mr. Schwartz is because I wanted to thank him,” said Burkard. “I say thank you to him every day he comes, and at the end of the year we pitch in to get him a small thank-you present. Mr. Schwartz is always humble and turns down the gift or lets me know no thank you is necessary. I wanted to show him that a thank you is necessary, and we really appreciate him coming and spending time helping our students and being a positive role model.”
As a part of the program, Fox 2 reporter Elliot Weiler came to HCHS to surprise Schwartz and present him with $500 cash.
Schwartz was surprised to walk in and be greeted by Burkard and Weiler. He said he was glad to receive the money and would be donating it to the food pantry.
Schwartz says volunteering makes him feel like he has done something, and enjoys being able to help make a difference in the lives of the students he helps.
“Anytime you can help a student learn something he didn’t know before, that’s a good thing. It’s why we are here,” said Schwartz. “I came from a work environment where we didn’t have to learn how to reach out to kids; that has been a challenge I have enjoyed here. If the students let you help them, we can go a long way together. If you can teach them a couple of things while they are here, that’s a good day. If you can really help reach out to one student in a week, that’s a good week.”
To view Schwartz’s story click on the link below: