An Interview with the Principal, Mr. Giovinazzi

Anchor newspaper staff sit down with our new principal, Mr. Anthony Giovinazzi.

Mr. Giovinazzi, after bidding students good-bye at the end of a school day.

Photo Credit: Hayden Bouza

Mr. Giovinazzi, after bidding students good-bye at the end of a school day.

As the new school year rolls around, it’s important to note how far we have come in the past three years. Three years of solitude, fear, COVID testing, and a lot of Google Meets (seriously, way too many; students couldn’t be happier to not have to remind their teachers that no, they aren’t presenting their screen and teachers not having to plead for cameras on). While last year school did resume, much of the year was behind literal, and sometimes metaphorical, masks. For students, it hasn’t been easy to be truly present in school after all this time. For many, it’s going to take student, staff, and administrative support in order to have a successful year. As the new principal of Hen Hud, this is what Mr. Giovinazzi hopes to do; reintegrate students, as well as staff, back into the school community and foster a comfortable, welcoming, and inspiring environment in which to thrive.

When we stepped into Giovinazzi’s office, it didn’t feel as we expected it to. Honestly, we thought it was going to be like we were being “sent to the principal’s office,” a foreboding, mysterious room you hope not to end up in. In actuality, the office felt comfortable, nothing awkward between any of the people in the room. Sitting down in surprisingly comfortable, cushioned blue chairs at a wooden table to the right of the principal’s desk, it was clear that Mr. Giovinazzi was going to live up to the expectations of him we had already formulated. From his visits to several classrooms in the morning, frequent saunters through the hallways, and his standing on the front steps in front of the school as buses arrive, a quality of presence and involvement is obvious. Giovinazzi, without even having said anything so far, has made a concerted effort to make himself visible and approachable, something he notes as one of his “greatest strengths” when asked. Both of us agree; we do not think the effect of this has gone unnoticed. 

Qualities of this vein were present throughout his answers to our various questions. The overarching theme of the interview, if there was one to note, would be the emphasis on student and staff involvement, communication, and comfortability.  His favorite part of the job, he notes, is simply “working with kids,” whether it is seeing them get off the bus in the morning or walking out in the afternoon. Recently, Mr. Giovinazzi has taken pride in the massive success of the club fair. As two people who were in attendance, we can vouch for this; the cafeteria was packed, filled with a sort of calming, exciting atmosphere, an “organized chaos,” if you will. It was definitely a contrast of previous years, a true sign that the days of the pandemic and seperation of people are coming to an end. 

Giovinazzi, a former football and lacrosse athlete during his high school years, recognizes the role that athletics, music, and the arts play in a student’s development. Club and sport participation is something the school can utilize as a great strength, largely for the benefit of a student’s development and creation of a “well-rounded student” ready to thrive. When asked what he thought Hen Hud’s greatest strength was, Giovinazzi’s answer was simply “opportunity.” This term was all encompassing; from the offered AP courses, electives, clubs, sports, Project Lead The Way, BOCES programs, and the arts and music productions, it was clear that the ability for students to have access to an expanse of options was vital to the principal. 

For all high school students, there is always a sense of dread about the unknown: college. While a pressure might be felt on a fraction of students to have an understanding of what to do, this sense of uncertainty is acceptable to the principal. Getting students to be “college and career ready,” in Giovinazzi’s words, is important, but it isn’t everything. He knows first hand; originally an English major in college after finding writing enjoyable, it became impractical after he couldn’t land a job. Before that, he had considered business. A singular accounting class had ended that idea. Giovinazzi admires children who, even from an age younger than high school, know what they want to do when they step outside the K-12 system, but it isn’t something necessary to succeed. A plan only goes so far when life is thrown at you, and sometimes, no plan, not even Plan B, can remedy that. What can be helped, in Giovinazzi’s eyes, is the cultivation of an environment within the education system to showcase to students their options, which is why clubs, sports, and specialized programs are crucial to the school’s and student’s prosperity. 

As our time came to end with the principal, a few things stood out. Giovinazzi, first and foremost, is just another person. Another person hoped to better what he regarded as an “already great school,” and do as much as he could to accomplish this goal. Another person who listens to Classic Rock in his free time (we both approve of his music taste as Classic Rock fans ourselves) and who enjoys gardening, nature, exercising, and above all, spending invaluable time with his family. School might have only been in session now for a handful of weeks, but it’s no doubt there’s been a noticeable change from prior years. Hen Hud, here comes a great year, and when you get a chance, try to remember those who are trying to make your school year as great as it can be, especially your new principal, Mr. Giovinazzi.