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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Clubs, Activities, and Everything In Between: Brad Burzumato’s New Role at the Rock

Former AP World History teacher Brad Burzumato filled the open position of Student Activities and Engagement Coordinator this year to help students with clubs, activities, academics, and more.
Student Activities and Engagement Coordinator Brad Burzumato holds his son in a pumpkin patch. Photo courtesy of Brad Burzumato.

Every job has a “why:” a purpose that motivates one to complete their tasks and accomplish their goals New Student Activities and Engagement Coordinator Brad Burzumato’s “why” is giving students their “why.” “My driving force is finding those kids that wake up in the morning and ask, ‘Why do I go to school?’” Burzumato said. “I want to help give them a reason to come to school and help them find that club or organization that they get excited about, even if they’re not necessarily excited about class.”

As the new academic year rolled around, a position for the Student Activities and Engagement Coordinator opened up, previously held by Annamika Hacikyan. Burzumato, former history teacher, stepped up to fill the role and had significant aspirations for what he wanted to accomplish. “My goal in this role is to increase student participation in clubs and activities and extracurricular organizations,” Burzumato said. “We do that through a variety of means: [we want to] continue to improve upon our activity block, connect teachers and students who want to sponsor clubs and organizations by putting them in touch with each other so that they can have these cool opportunities, and help clubs do cool things and carry out events.” 

Burzumato began his career in 2014 and taught for nine years before landing his new position. He was originally drawn to teaching due to his passion for working with students and wanting to help them pursue their passions. Now, his new role allows students to achieve their goals on a much larger scale. “I hope to help improve the school and help students at the building level, as a whole school, and not just the 30 students that were in my classroom,” Burzumato said.

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Having taught a college-level history class, Burzumato was continually exposed to especially high-achieving students. “As the AP World History teacher, I was lucky enough to get the best of the best that the school had to offer,” Burzumato said. “I [taught] the top 30-40% of each class.”

Many of his students believed that Burzumato’s teaching was different from what they were used to. “His teaching style was informative, but [also] really fun,” junior Aneeq Yussouf, one of Burzumato’s former AP World History students, said. “It was a lot more engaging than the previous teachers I had. He seemed like he actually liked the subject and wanted to teach it.” 

Junior Sophie King also believes that his teaching style was unorthodox for a history teacher and misses the time she spent with him outside of AP World History. “He made [the class] interactive, and it wasn’t just him speaking at us; it was always a conversation,” King said. “It was always him telling us a story about the history that we were learning; he made it fun instead of being like, ‘Here are the facts.’ I miss him as a teacher a lot; it was fun to hang out in his room before school and [when we had] free time.”

Since he’s not in a classroom environment anymore, Burzumato has a broader range of students to work with. He now focuses on students who need additional help academically, as studies have shown that students who are more involved in activities outside the classroom — whether it be clubs, sports, theater, debate, or more — perform better inside the classroom. 

“I want them to know that they can come to me and ask for help — whether it’s about clubs or activities, or about the Age of Absolutism, which happened at lunch [recently].”

— Brad Burzumato

Although Burzumato appreciates the schedule flexibility that his new job offers him, having an administrative role has its challenges. “There’s a very big learning curve [when it comes to dealing] with things on the administrative side, dealing with people in the central office admin, and having a security role as a ‘hallway monitor’ at times,” Burzumato said. “It’s not something I necessarily enjoy, but it is important to hold students accountable and [make sure] they are where they’re supposed to be.”

Burzumato is also the head track and field coach. Junior Lilia Jones, a sprinter on the track and field team, says she misses seeing him but is glad he has taken on this new role. “I think it’s better for him because he gets more recognition,” Jones said. “I miss talking to him [as often as I did], but I still talk to him a lot.”

Although Burzumato is not a teacher anymore, he is still there to support students and be there for them. “I’m not just a hall or cafeteria monitor; I am here with information to try and help [students],” he said. “I want them to know that they can come to me and ask for help — whether it’s about clubs or activities, or about the Age of Absolutism, which happened at lunch [recently].”

Burzumato is optimistic about his future vision and believes Rock Ridge can be taken to new heights of excellence. “We’re already a fantastic school, but when Mr. Duellman and I lay out our vision for this school, we don’t have to deal with a lot of the things that most schools have to deal with,” he said. “So rather than sitting back and saying ‘Oh, man, isn’t life so great?’ we want to use that opportunity to go above and beyond and take Rock Ridge to a level that other high schools wouldn’t even dream of.”

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About the Contributors
Ananya Karthik
Ananya Karthik, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Ananya is a junior, and joined The Blaze staff  in her sophomore year. She is currently the Arts and Entertainment Editor, and she loves writing articles about events occurring in Rock Ridge. Her love of reading and writing, which began when she was little, only grew as she got older, and she quickly gained an interest in writing reviews. Now, she hopes to pursue a career or profession in journalism. In her free time, Ananya likes to watch TV shows, her favorite being Gilmore Girls, listen to Harry styles, and keep up with pop culture news on Instagram and Facebook.
Maddie Nyman
Maddie Nyman, Staff Writer
Maddie Nyman is a senior, and this is her second year on The Blaze. She enjoys working on The Blaze because she can focus on one of her favorite things: writing. She is starting her third year of running indoor and outdoor track on the Rock Ridge team, and is co-president of Chapter 9 ¾ of National English Honor Society. When not in school, Maddie enjoys running, reading, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with friends.  She hopes to continue writing great pieces for The Blaze and make this year the best yet!

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    Tiffany AhmedDec 7, 2023 at 11:50 am

    Wonderful article about a wonderful individual! Principal Duellman couldn’t have chosen a better person to fill Annamika Hacikyan’s shoes to take this position to the next level in getting more kids connected and involved at Rock Ridge! Mr. Burzumato is the best at putting kids at ease and inspiring them to reach for the stars!