Continuing its proud mission of service and excellence in teaching preparation, Fordham University Graduate School of Education Dean Virginia Roach thanked the supporters of the 14th Annual Joseph C. Zoller Memorial Fund Golf Classic for their help in creating opportunities for promising teachers with limited financial resources, and welcomed its newest scholar, Tommy Tsang of Queens, NY. The event was held July 16, 2018 at the exclusive Sands Point Golf Club in Sands Point, New York.
The Zoller Memorial Fund was created by Dick and Judy Zoller in recognition of their late son Joe, who died prematurely and tragically in 2004 at the age of 39. The Fund’s purpose is to ensure that continued financial assistance is provided to deserving teachers pursuing a graduate degree in education. Over the course of 14 years, the Zoller Memorial Fund has donated the proceeds from their annual golf outings and the fund has grown to over $525,000.
Tsang graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Philosophy. During his time at Fordham, Tsang strived to make a difference through Let’s Get Ready, a youth development program that aims to help first-generation high school students from low-income backgrounds with free SAT preparation, college counseling, and other support services needed to gain admission to and graduate from college. As a first-generation student himself, he understood firsthand the obstacles facing many of his students and made sure to establish a college-going culture in the program, during which student SAT scores increased by as many as 240 points.
Tsang said he hopes to continue his mission of helping children in under-served communities by pursuing a master’s degree in Adolescence English with a Special Education extension (M.S.T.) at Fordham, while simultaneously working as a Teaching Associate at The East Harlem School. Tsang explained that he has been interested in teaching since the first grade, but it wasn’t until 2014, his senior year in high school, that he became fully committed to pursuing a career in education. And, he didn’t realize how much he would love it until he started volunteering at The East Harlem School in the summer of 2016.
“For the first time, I had my own classroom of students I saw every day. Whether it was creating daily lesson plans, fun worksheets, quizzes, or creative assignments, I enjoyed every aspect of the planning and teaching process that is part of being a teacher. I will always fondly remember my 15 students that summer for helping me fall in love with teaching through their kindness, spirit and desire to learn,” expressed Tsang.
In recognition of his hard work, Let’s Get Ready presented Tsang with their annual Chairman’s Award in May 2017, given to two or three undergraduates each year who best exemplify the power of their near-peer model of students helping students get into and through college. Aside from his work through Let’s Get Ready, Tsang has also volunteered with The East Harlem School and CitySquash.
The Joseph C. Zoller Memorial Fund supports Fordham’s core mission to educate teachers in a values-laden setting that fosters the generation of knowledge and promotes inquiry and excellence. Joe’s vision was to create a better world by encouraging a love of learning in children that would last a lifetime.
Upon receiving the scholarship, Tsang said, “As I journey through my studies at Fordham and contemplate eventual days as a teacher, I will always keep Joseph’s memory as an inspiration to me. I hope that I can be as big an inspiration to my students as he is to future teachers through this fund.”