Betty Mayer, a teacher at Christ the King High School who is retiring after 34 years in the classroom, is planning a trip to Turks and Caicos on the first day of school in the fall, but it’s for more than just a well-deserved vacation. She’s going to need it to take her mind off of her former students.
“My friends are taking me so I don’t miss school,” Mayer said.
Mayer, an English teacher, will be joined by administrator and foreign language teacher Steve Giusto in retiring from Christ the King with over 80 years of teaching experience between the two of them.
“Their dedication to improving young lives has been inspiring to many. You will always be remembered as caring, passionate and energetic teachers,” wrote the school in a statement.
Mayer, who grew up in Flushing and taught English throughout her tenure, said that she loved introducing her students to the world of literature.
“In a world that’s so concerned with math and science, I think a love of the human side is so important,” she said.
Giusto began teaching Italian and Spanish at CTK in 1988 before becoming director of admissions in 2008 and assistant principal in 2010. He will continue working with the school on a part-time basis as a consultant.
As a foreign language teacher, he relished the opportunity to expose his students to a new culture. When he began teaching at Christ the King, a majority of the students were Italian-American, so the Italian program was especially popular. As chairperson of the school’s language department, Giusto spearheaded the effort to start an American Sign Language class.
When he crossed over into the realm of admissions, he said his goal changed to giving students an opportunity at Christ the King.
“The message that I want to give to the students is that their parents gave a huge financial investment. And there’s no doubt in my mind that that paid off,” Giusto said.
Both teachers are planning to stay in the New York City area at least part-time. Mayer is planning to spend more time with her son in California, and Giusto will travel down to his second home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for part of the year.
“My message to the students is Carpe Diem and to thine own self be true,” Mayer said.