Greenfield teacher receives award from Western Mass Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad
Photo by Paul Franz / Recorder
GREENFIELD — When Angela Mass turned the corner of the hallway entering the front lobby of Greenfield High School — thinking she was en route to the gymnasium to help out with a class final — she wasn’t expecting to find a crowd gathered there, anxiously awaiting her arrival.
“To walk around this corner and see something happen that I didn’t plan. It was so shocking,” Mass said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Last week, Mass was surprised by the Western Mass Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad with $500 for school supplies, $200 to the Terrazza restaurant in Greenfield and $300 to Euphoria Float Spa in Northampton. Joining in the celebration were current and past students, including two of her children, and staff and faculty. The event was sponsored by Western Mass News.
After a year of witnessing Mass try to rebuild community at the school through activities in and outside the classroom, her students felt it was time to give back to a teacher who had done so much for them in an otherwise challenging few years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There has been a lot of staff that have helped make this school a better place,” said Brielle Widelo, who nominated Mass for the prize. “The amount of time she has put into our school doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Mass, who teaches geometry, pre-algebra and social justice, reflected on what she considered to be the most challenging year in her 23 years working in education, saying she aimed to make this school year be full of “activities that made kids feel it was safe to come back to school.”
“We had to do things differently, but we made it work,” she said, speaking to events she helped coordinate, such as the homecoming celebration.
Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Hyundai, said Mass sets a “powerful example” for other educators.
“We’re happy to be part of something so wonderful,” Rome said.