Bassett has lost one of its most esteemed teachers: Mr. Pokorski due to natural causes in Hilo, Hawaii, where he had planned to move.
He is remembered as a personable individual who was always positive and in a good mood. “Tom was a joyful man. Never seen him upset,” shares Principal Mr. Griego. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, his passion for baseball began. He became a pitcher for a minor league baseball team, the Boston Red Sox’s, but was unable to continue due to an injury.
Over the years, he became a baseball coach for the University of La Verne, Pasadena City College, and Mt.SAC. Aside from being athletic, Mr. Pokorski also shared a loved for music.
Pokorski worked with students in independent studies, a special program no longer offered at Bassett.
According to Mr. Griego, Mr. Pokorski with a big smile had wanted more kids sent to him. He gladly received these students.
He had apparently been moved to Bassett Adult School. Pokorski disliked the idea of leaving Bassett since he would better serve students here, but would move if he had to. “Tom would go 110% for a student,” adds Mr. Stanzione. “[He] always wanted to see his independent studies students graduate”.
Mr. Stanzione maintained a professional and friendly relationship with “Tom”. They conversed every day – ‘“Hey Buddy, are you alright?” would usually start the conversation.
Mr. Stanzione mentioned that he had wanted to ask Mr. Pokorski to be his assistant coach for swim, because “he was always positive [and] knew about succeeding,” says Mr. Stanzione.
Mr. Pokorski was someone who if asked for a favor, he would do it, always seeing “something to the end,” adds Mr. Stanzione.
“Tom was a joyful man. Never seen him upset,” shares Principal Mr. Griego. “He was one of a kind. [He] loved to work with hard students”.
In honor of Mr. Pokorski, Mr. Griego, principal of Bassett, has created a perpetual plaque that will recognize a teacher who has gone above and beyond their expectations for students.
Every month one teacher will be recognized and their name will go on the plaque, along with being awarded “Outstanding Employee of the Month.”
The first teacher to be recognized for the remaining month of September through October is Ms. Ramirez.
Once the plaque has been made, it will be hung in Ms. Ramirez’s room until the next teacher is recognized the following month.
“Tom would go 110% for a student.” -Mr. Stanzione
The plaque in honor of a great teacher, Mr. Pokorski, will continue as long as Mr. Griego is at Bassett, and hopefully for many more years.