Aidan Forbes’ commitment to excellence would have been admired by Edna Van Wart, who worked as a Huntington High School mathematics teacher for 40 years.
Valedictorian of Huntington’s Class of 2018, Mr. Forbes captured the Edna Van Wart Mathematics Award, presented annually to the high school’s top math student on the accelerated/advanced course level. The teenager is headed to Cornell University in the fall to study at the Dyson School of Business.
Miss Van Wart graduated from Barnard College in 1919. She taught for three years prior to coming to Huntington and beginning her teaching career here in 1922. She was on the faculty for the next four decades before retiring in June 1962.
In 1955, Miss Van Wart became the high school’s first chair of the mathematics department. She also served as senior class advisor for 14 years. Huntington High School’s 1946 and 1962 yearbooks are dedicated to the longtime district teacher.
“We regret her retirement,” said Principal Robert A. Cushman in remarks republished on page 121 of the 1962 edition of the Huntingtonian. “Over the span of forty years, Miss Van Wart has taught skillfully and well thousands of Huntington students. Her warm friendliness, loyal devotion and superior work have inspired and helped generations of students and faculty. We give her our best wishes with the full appreciation in our hearts of the privilege of having known and worked with her. We honor a great teacher.”
Thomas S. Chieffo, one of Miss Van Wart’s most dedicated and loyal students and a member of Huntington’s Class of 1958 was on hand in the high school auditorium to speak about his former math teacher and mentor during the ceremony. Mr. Chieffo funded the $500 scholarship award that was presented to Mr. Forbes.
A member of the last class of seniors that graduated out of the old high school building on Main Street, Mr. Chieffo went on to earn a BS degree at Manhattan College. He is retired as a chief engineer with Penick, a worldwide engineering company.
Mr. Forbes served as president of Huntington’s Math Honor Society chapter and was a four year member of the high school’s Mathletes team. He won first place in State History Day and went on to capture third place in the country in the National History Day finals at the University of Maryland College Park.
A starter on the Blue Devils’ league champion varsity soccer team, Mr. Forbes excelled academically, athletically and in every other way. From close relationships with friends and faculty members to enjoyable afternoons with his teammates and fierce debates in Advanced Placement US Government and Politics class, the teenager had a memorable experience over the past four years.
Kathleen Aufiero, Huntington’s chairperson of mathematics, 7-12 was on hand for the presentation of the scholarship award. Messrs. Chiefo and Forbes and Ms. Aufiero gathered together on the stage and posed for a commemorative photo.