Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: HH Wells Middle School
School District: Brewster Central School District
City, State: Brewster , New York
About the Nominee: Vincent Savastano was nominated by Jessica Blumberg, one of his former athletes. Middle school can be tough for students. They go through challenges, their bodies change and, for some students, they go through their first relationships. Mr. Savastano, also known as "Coach Sav" was there for Jessica when she had him as a former gymnastics coach. He continues to be there for this hard period in a young woman's life and serves as a leader, friend and LifeChanger who instills the values of hard work and leadership in young women. Brewster is a better place because of this one man, and he has helped countless strong women with his kind, yet tough coaching.
At practice, Coach Sav is often found speaking with his team members about life choices instead of focusing on gymnastics movements. He knows this is more important than anything else. Coach Sav is known for being trustworthy and helpful for any problem, whether it's learning to do a back handspring or helping you realize it's not your fault that your parents are fighting. He encourages the Brewster gymnasts to give back to the community. The gymnastic program in Brewster faces several challenges, and Coach Sav has voiced his opinion many times about how it is a hard season for him to swing being away from his family, but he comes back every year.
Coach Sav allows his gymnasts to take leadership at whatever level they please. For instance, he allowed Jessica to run a fundraiser for a lunch lady with cancer. That year, the team dedicated the entire year to supporting breast cancer. The whole team learned about what they can do to affect the community. Jessica says that to this day, it remains her proudest accomplishment and taught her the most about teamwork and engaging a team. All because he believed in his athletes. In Jessica. Coach Sav allows his athletes to succeed, but he also allows them to fail, which is very important for growth. Jessica was placed in the Brewster Hall of Fame in 2012 and was the first candidate to be nominated by a coach for leadership, not necessarily athletic performance. Coach Sav also played a big role in helping Jessica get into the college of her choice. He did not have to, but wanted to go above and beyond to reach out to Virginia Tech's athletic director to let them know about Jessica. When Jessica was asked for a reference for college, Coach Sav was the first person to come to mind.
Because there are both JV and Varisty gymnastics teams and the athletes range from ages 12 to 18, this program and coach is a pivotal place for growth of young women in the Brewster community. Coach Sav teaches many teams and has changed the lives in thousands of students. He is known as a state title-winning coach for mens' lacrosse and a phenomenal football coach, but it is important to also recognize that he is a strong role model for young women. Young women face issues of identity and worth. Coach Sav creates a place where gymnasts of any level can learn something new in a safe environment, grow comfortably and succeed. The only requirement is hard work.