From SchoolBook by Beth Fertig:
An English teacher at Townsend Harris High School in Queens has been awarded a $25,000 cash prize for exceptional instruction from the Milken Family Foundation in California.

Rafal Olechowski, 37, has been teaching for a decade. In keeping with the Milken Foundation’s tradition, he was caught by surprise when presented with the award during a school assembly on Thursday.

Mr. Olechowski said he was thrilled. When asked what he does that’s so special, he said he tries to connect his 10th graders to literature through 19th-century romantic poets, specifically sonnets.

“If you look at Keats, someone like that, or Byron or Shelley, they appeal to teenagers,” he said. “They have this free spirit. I mean they’re the hippies of the 19th century!”

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