LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michael Cartolano

Position: Retiring Art Teacher / Department Chair
School: H. Frank Carey High School
School District: Sewanhaka Central High School District
City, State: Franklin Square, NY

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Michael Cartolano was nominated by Lori Tarantino, a family member.

Mr. Cartolano has made such a huge difference in the lives of so many students and colleagues. He started teaching art in 1989 at Freeport High School. Then, he transferred to H. Frank Carey High School in 1996. He has been serving as the department chair since 2004.

Mr. Cartolano strongly believes that art education has the broad potential to positively impact and transform students' lives. He is a wonderful mentor to his students. He has dedicated himself to teaching and being a positive role model, not only to his students, but to all who meet and know him.

Mr. Cartolano created, taught, and participated in curriculum writing for the very first Design I & II courses in his district, as well as Media Arts and AP Studio Art. He has also taught ESL Art, PALS Art, and Transitional Art. He is committed to extracurricular programs, and he has served as an advisor for the film and photography club, the M.I.K.E .club, the can-struction committee, and chairperson for Relay for Life.

Mr. Cartolano has invited veterans and those who joined the military to come back to the school to be honored. Mr. Cartolano has been honored with the Dad's teacher of the month award in 2001, teacher of the year in 2002-2003 , and the Howard W. Nordahl School community service award in 2006. He's truly loved and respected by his students and colleagues. He is not only an amazing teacher and chair person, but a wonderful human being.

"Michael is genuine, compassionate, and good-natured. He puts his whole heart into all he does," said Tarantino. "He has changed and helped guided students' lives, and he truly is a LifeChanger in his community."



Comments (113)


Joan Cartolamo Posted 16 days ago

Your parent would be so proud, I know I Am!

Steve Abbananto Posted 18 days ago

I feel honored to have been a student of Mike’s. His presence and demeanor in the classroom is a special kind of balance between business and fun—the kind you can’t help but give your respect and attention to. As a student one of the things I most appreciated about Mike was he always made sure I knew what to expect AFTER high school. I always felt that he was invested in my future as an artist regardless of whether or not I was in his class. I also had the unique privilege to work with him during my student teaching experience. To see behind the curtain and know how much hard work he puts in day in and day out gave me a new level of respect for him and a realization that if you want to be as good at something as Mike is a teaching, you can’t let up for a second. It’s inspirational when you come across a person who’s passion for something can’t be extinguished. Mike was a life-changer for me in every sense of the word. If I hadn’t been one of his students I very well might have never gone down the path of an artist. He brought me under his wing early and made me believe I could succeed no matter how difficult the field is. It’s a journey that I’m still on and one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I know that he’ll be there every step of the way whenever I reach out and that’s why he not only deserves this award—he defines it.

Andrew Berardi Posted 18 days ago

Mr. C is a one of a kind, genuine guy who always put his students first. Before I had Mr. C as a teacher, he noticed the doodles in my marble notebook. He would take the time in between periods or lunch to give me tips on how to improve my skills and encouraged me to take AP art classes. I signed up for digital media classes with Mr.C, where he taught me how to use Photoshop, which I still use to this day. If it wasn't for the positive influence Mr. C had on me, I would have never chosen a career in Advertising and Graphic Design. After graduating Carey, Mr. C and I became friends and he always made an effort to check in and make sure EVERYTHING in my life was going well. This is the reason why my good friend Mr. C should receive the LifeChanger of the year award…he continued to be a positive role model beyond the walls of Carey High School. I’m just one kid, out of hundreds whose life he has changed.

John Kiefer Posted 19 days ago

Mike Cartolano is the “The Gold Standard” for what every educator should aspire to be. Throughout my time as a student, I’ve had many techers and Mike Cartolano is by far the most impactful one of them all. I first had him as my teacher in 11th grade for Digital Design, Before this I never cared for art because I wasn’t good at drawing. But this class I couldn’t get enough of and the main reason for that was because of Mr. Cartolano. Mr. Cartolano has an enthusiasm and positive attitude that was infectious for everyone around him. Not only was he knowledgeable about what he was teaching but he also dedicated his time to each and every student for whatever they may have needed him for. My senior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to end up taking 2 of his classes and looked forward to being at them every day. Especially, his Media Arts class because I discovered my love for photography. Till this day, me and the kids from his Media Arts class still talk about what a great teacher/person Mike Cartolano is. Although, I never pursued a career in the arts I still till this day do photography because I love it and I owe a big part of that to Mr. Cartolano. I can say now that Mike Cartolano is more than a teacher but a great friend of mine that I still talk to and can ask for advice. In and out of the classroom Mike Cartolano is a class act and positive influence for the people around him. Whether, that be students, colleagues or friends. I am grateful that I had the pleasure of learning from him and I bet all of his other former students would say the same. That is why I believe Mike Cartolano should receive the Lifechanger of the Year award because he certainly changed my life and helped shape who I am today. He’s also the makes the best ribs you’ll ever eat!

Adam Frank Posted 24 days ago

30 YEARS.........3 DECADES......A span of time in which life happens. Births. Deaths. Happiness. Sorrow. We grow as individuals and we grow as a community. I met Mike Cartolano .... Mr. C.....as a student in my first year at Freeport High School. I was a Freshman and it was his first year as a teacher. Mike has a connection with his students. He has the patience and tolerance of a saint. Mike knows how to channel someone's inner ability and allow them to express themselves as their own individual. He also has the ability to bring people together....whether it be for a stage crew to pull off a musical or a candlelight cancer memorial. His upbringing and his values are brought with him everywhere he goes and are revealed with all the work he does, wether it is at work or at home, Mike is a caring, compassionate, creative and loving Teacher friend and mentor. There are very few friends that I still stay in touch with over the years. Mike is one of the few that i still do. Mike Cartolano certainly is a "Life Changer"

Andrea Pichardo Posted 1 months ago

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike for the past 17 years at Carey. He has always been a teacher I admire for his consistency, kindness, compassion, work ethic, sincerity and overall great outlook on life! His greatness and exceptional connections with students is something I hope to achieve each year. I’m a better educator because of him. He is deserving of this award and I’m going to miss seeing him in the hallways. Best of luck in retirement Mike!

Sharon Flynn Posted 1 months ago

Michael Cartolano is one of the most special human beings I have ever met. As the assistant principal of H. Frank Carey High School, I have come to know Mike as teacher, chairperson, artist, friend, confidante, peace maker, shoulder to cry on, leader, innovator, creative genius, advocate, support system and yes... a life changer. Mike has change my life for the better, both as an educational leader and as an individual. Mike puts students first. Simple equation- do whats' best for kids. Students clamor to be in Mike's classes and when they get there, they never want to leave the art department. He raises "art" kids who find a safe haven within the walls of his classroom and those of his teachers. He sets examples and raises the bar for his colleagues. He is a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He has this ability to turn everything he touches into something or someone special. I am so honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside Mike for so long and if there was ever a life changer who deserves for us to stand up and cheer for, it is Mr. Michael Cartolano, the best educator and man that I know.

Haley hitchcock Posted 1 months ago

Mr. Cartolano was one of the most inspiring art teachers I ever had. Without his guidance and encouragement I might not of gone to art school to become a photographer. He’s one of the kindest teachers I’ve ever had an amazing role model. He also genuinely cares about each and every one of his students. He’s an amazing teacher and I learned so much from him throughout the years. I couldn’t think of anyone more suited for this honor!

Katie LoRusso Posted 1 months ago

Mike Cartolano is an amazing educator. I have worked with Mike for the last 14 years. Being a music teacher, Mike is always supporting the arts and is so dedicated to show his students and others that the arts are so important. He leads by example to his students and colleagues and is truly deserving of this award. Congratulations Mike!!

Nick Castel Posted 1 months ago

Mr. Cartolano is a fantastic teacher and his presence will surely be missed. Not only is he a skilled educator, but he connects with his students in such a way that creates a fun, comfortable atmosphere for learning. Anyone who has had the privilege of taking his classes knows how easy-going and helpful he truly is. Mr C. has guided me in my journey as an art student for just two years now but his impact will remain with me as I continue in my career.

Mary Hegarty Posted 1 months ago

I have known Mike for almost 20 years. We started out as coworkers and soon developed into a friendship which will last a lifetime. He is one of the most admirable men I know. He is selfless, caring, compassionate, consistent and true. He will do whatever it takes to lend a hand and make this world a better place. I have witnessed first hand how he can turn a life around. It is truly amazing to see this "superhero" transform someone right in front of your eyes. I strongly believe he is a LifeChanger in any community he enters! I can honestly say, I am a better person for knowing Michael. God Bless !

cassandra papajohn-shaw Posted 1 months ago

Mike is such a devoted individual. I have had the honor of working with Mike for eighteen years. He is an integral member of the art chairpeople at the Sewanhaka Central HS District. We have shared many experiences, initiatives and laughs! I can always count on Mike for his honest opinions and hardworking nature. Through every new challenge, Mike has been a solid, dependable, and reliable colleague and friend. He rallies students, teachers, and chairpeople alike. Mike is truly a Lifechanger in every way!

Kevin Ermann Posted 1 months ago

There isn’t a person on this planet more deserving of this award then Mr. C. He is the perfect model for what a teacher should be. He is relatable and is able to build long lasting relationships with his students well beyond the years of high school. Mr. C was my favorite and still is my favorite teacher from Carey High School and it has been 16 years since graduation. He still takes the time out of his day to reach out to me and ask how I am doing and how my life is. He is nothing but a gentleman and a pure educator. He has expanded the minds of many students and made it fun too. This award should already be in his hands! God Bless Mr. C.

Domenick Russo Jr. Posted 1 months ago

Mike Cartolano is one of my greatest role models. He lit the fire that inspired me to pursue my career as a photographer and graphic designer. I enjoyed going to every one of his classes, and I know that feeling was mutual amongst all of my peers. Some of my greatest memories in high school were in his classroom. Whether it be a group project he'd cooked up or a movie he thought was inspiring, whatever was on the docket was sure to be the highlight of my day. It was in this classroom I developed skills that helped me grow into the man I am today. Mr. C always had my back, and he still does to this day. Really a wonderful guy, and I couldn't think of a better recipient for this award. His personality encapsulates the essence of what this award is all about. He has absolutely changed my life, and for that, I am so grateful. Mr. C, my good friend, you deserve this!

Lysaundra Persaud Posted 1 months ago

Michael Cartolano is one of those guys who is just going to be so happy to be nominated and is going to already count that in itself as a win. He is a humble guy and an amazing teacher. I have worked with Mike for 13 years and I have to say, I hardly know any of my colleagues besides those in my own department (math) because I keep to myself. Michael does not operate this way. From my first day in the building, Mike introduced himself to me and was just so warm and friendly and made me feel like I was home. He let me know I could come to him for anything, whether it be advice on how to manage my classroom or simply directions to the nearest restroom. He makes everyone in the school feel at ease whether it is a teacher, custodian, clerical, staff or students. He is a lovable guy and he putts his heart and soul into everything he does. I have a whole collection of mini banks, figurines and treasure boxes from the fundraiser he holds with his art class every year. He is the first to volunteer to do anything to help bring the school community closer together.

Christopher Schnepf Posted 1 months ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Mike for 18 years. I first met him when I was the school psychologist for a program for students with severe emotional disabilities. He did tremendous work with these students. He brought out their talents and made them feel like they mattered in this world, which was no easy chore. In another instance when I was working as the building school psychologist, he came to me with some serious concerns about one of his students. As a result of his intervention, that student was able to receive the crucial help that he needed. I then worked with him as chairperson of the special education department. He continued to go out of his way to make all of his students but especially those with disabilities feel part of a group. The world is a better place with people like Mike Cartolano! He truly has changed the lives of students, and I thank him for that.

Renato Piedra Posted 1 months ago

Ahhh where to begin! Mr. C, my good friend! Let’s start by saying that he had a great influence in my life while in high school and even after I graduated. He is one of the most patient teachers I’ve ever had in my life. He was Always happy to explain, teach, show, help you with whatever you needed it. He always looks out for his students in and outside the classroom. He always made sure everyone was comfortable in class, made sure everyone was ok and if you weren’t having a good day he would definitely find a way to put a smile on your face. He has been more than a teacher to me, he has been a friend and I hope it remains that way for many years to come. He is an amazing person and with an award like this, is the least we can do to recognize the wonderful person he is!

David Pichinte Posted 2 months ago

Mr.C is not only a teacher and a mentor, but he is also a friend. He makes sure to try to befriend every student he has. He helped and pushed me with my art even before I had him as a teacher. He makes it a priority to be a friend first and a teacher second. During highschool, I had really bad anxiety and depression and I felt comfortable enough to go to him with my problems. He made sure to listen and help me get the help I needed. Anyone who meets Mr.C can tell you how lucky they are to have him in their lives. He is a great teacher and an even greater friend.

Robert Bruno Posted 2 months ago

There's a lot that one could say about Mr. C not only if they were lucky enough to have him as a teacher, but also if they know him in any capacity. As a professional illustrator, Mr. C shaped my early trainings in high school and was one of the best mentors I had in high school and continue to have in my life. Mr. C is the one who first instilled the idea that I could pursue a career in art one day. This was incredibly Important for me as most people in my life at the time had little to no experience in the field. Mr. C was always incredibly respectful, insightful, open minded committed to and more than willing to give his time to help others, especially his students. There is no one more deserving of an award like this.

Meghan Parenteau Posted 2 months ago

Mike is an outstanding educator who thrives on developing creativity and fostering positive relationships with his students. He always keeps in close contact with all of his students facilitating them to receive positive recognition in the area of art and digital design. Students and teachers alike idolize not just the educator he is but the person he is.

JP La Rosa Posted 2 months ago

There’s so much to say about Mr.C but he’ll always be the man who puts others first before himself. I never knew anyone could change my life as much as this man. As a young teenager I was uncertain about so many things but he proved that with confidence and dedication you can achieve anything. I’m proud to say I’m a graphic designer and videographer all thanks to one person and one personal only, that’s Michael Cartolano. He’s more than a just a teacher but a father figure sent from above.

Meghan Parenteau Posted 2 months ago

Mike is an outstanding educator who thrives on developing creativity and fostering positive relationships with his students. He always keeps in close contact with all of his students facilitating them to receive positive recognition in the area of art and digital design. Students and teachers alike idolize not just the educator he is but the person he is.

Terry Rolla Posted 2 months ago

To say Mike Cartolano was an amazing teacher for my daughter, then a caring, kind and thoughtful colleague, and now a friend that most people only wish they could have, would just begin to describe how special he is to me. I could mention the many charitable things he did for kids and faculty, both in and outside of the school day. For instance: the MIKE Club, which raised money for different select charities each year, the art galleries and displays he worked on throughout the district, the many activities he helped me with through Student Government (and there were many), the Art and Poetry Nights, Canstruction, (a food fundraiser), and pretty much every other school activity. When someone is as gifted as Mike, one could easily take him for granted because we would just ask, “Mike, could you help us design this or that?” and Mike and his students would help make it so. Not having his skills, we would never know what it took to make something as beautiful as Mike always made it, or what we were really asking him to do. Because Mike has never taken “center stage’ , we had this tendency to take him for granted, but every student, and every person that ever worked with him, knows the time, and mostly the love and dedication he has given to us all. The truth is, he has taught kids and adults alike. He is a perfect role model for all to aspire and imitate. To pick one thing to write about, when you know Mike, is hard to do. I am going to write about the first Relay for Life Fundraiser in 2006, that our school ever sponsored . Mike chaired the Luminary Committee, which in itself was no easy task . This particular fundraiser took a year in planning. Students who ordinarily wouldn’t participate signed on and got involved . Mike’s organization and artistic eye really made a difference in this event. It’s one thing to have an idea or picture in your head, it’s another thing to make it happen . Beyond our wildest dreams, Mike found a way to honor those we’ve lost to cancer, and all the survivors, of which I was one. Each name was displayed on a big screen, which ran throughout the 24 hour time period of this outdoor event. The luminaries were lit and displayed across and around the entire track in a perfect shaped design making every person there feel that they were making a difference. The word HOPE was spelled out with luminaries and placed lovingly on the bleachers by students, parents and teachers, shining as bright as could be! We raised over $100.00 dollars that day, but what we all walked away with was worth much, much more! That feeling of hope and strength and empowerment to do good deeds is what Mike has given to all of us. His friendship to me and Carey HS is steadfast and true. Mike, I will quote one of my favorite lines in a song from the Broadway show “Wicked.”: “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” Terry Rolla

Fran Farella Posted 2 months ago

There are teachers that teach and then there are teachers like Mr. C who uses his abilities to not only be a master of his craft pushing the boundaries of development but also being a friend and a positive Influence on peoples life.There is a quote by Diana Ladd that says, "If you can help one person in this world, then it's enough, and I've done my job." I was one of those students and by no means unique to this situation, just a name on a long list of students that Mr.C has helped along the way. And if you know Mr. C that one job is never done and just one person could never be enough. Mr. C has devoted his life to being a teacher, a listener, a friend, a life coach, and someone who believes that any of us can make the impossible possible. Where you come from or what you have done made no difference to him. He takes the time to know you for who you are. When I was in 10th grade, school was not important to me. I was one of those students that you could not get through. I had potential. I had some talent, but did not care until Mr. C spoke to me. I still remember that day. His approach was like no other. I was his equal; he respected my background and the person I was. I knew he genuinely cared. I grew up expected to work after school and on the weekends. A college degree was not the route for me, much less an art degree. I also didn't have the grades, but Mr. C challenged this notion by asking me to sit in his Media Arts class to see what I thought. Mr. C was the one that showed me that there were other possibilities. I had no formal training, just a shred of talent. Mr. C spent the next three years, allowing me, encouraging me to explore the field of Art. His dedication helped me be a better person, to believe in myself, and be curious. Today, I am now an Emmy Award-winning Motion Graphics/VFX Artist. Every day I thank him for taking five minutes to pull me aside and planting the seed that change the course of my life. Nowadays, I call him Mike. He has been a present figure in my life since high school. Two years ago, he asked to come in and talk to his students about the field of Arts. It's been 20 years since I graduated, and his students treated him with the same respect, honesty, and admiration that I remembered when I was his student. To me, Mr. C is one of a kind, and each of us that has been lucky enough to have him in our lives is truly blessed. He may be a teacher by trade, but he is truly a superhero, a guardian angel, and an inspiration to many.

Brian Messinger Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano changed my life, and has undoubtedly done the same for countless others. He is the embodiment of an extraordinary educator, and anyone who has sat in his classroom has emerged better because of him. Mike is a gifted artist whose greatest work was brigthening the lives of his students. If his career was a canvas, it would be filled with the images of all of those students who Mike has helped over his career. This help far transcends the world of art; Mike helps them with life. He goes above and beyond because this is his calling: to help others. For his colleagues at school, he is a role model. When I started out as a teacher and later department chairperson, I looked up to Mike. His warmth, class, and attention to detail was inspiring. A simple yet powerful example of Mike's leadership would be when he presented students with awards. Mike always had a few sentences about each student that encapsulated each one to perfection. He took the time to prepare those remarks because he instinctively knows that those moments mean the world for a student and their families. That is what Mike does: takes the time to show the world how much he cares. We can only dream of a world with more Mike Cartolano's, and I am grateful for the 18+ years spent working with him.

Paul Farley Posted 2 months ago

Mr. C started his teaching career the same year I started high school and he remains the best teacher I’ve ever had. Aside from being an incredibly engaging and talented art teacher, Mr. C always demonstrated a genuine interest in his students’ success, both in and out of the classroom. Mike Cartolano is the most plainly decent person I know, his reliably sound judgment and good counsel always working to the benefit of his students. Beyond being a great teacher, that’s what makes him such a powerful force in the lives of his students. It’s impossible overstate the impact that Mr. C’s mentorship and guidance have had on me. It’s also difficult to quantify the impact his career has had on the community he serves. However, I hope the fact that I’m writing this on his behalf—as a student almost thirty years after the fact—expresses it well enough.

Francesca Marchese Posted 2 months ago

Being a senior, I got the honor to share the halls with Mr. Cartolano for many years. He is not only an amazing art teacher, but an overall amazing person. He truly loves all his students and goes out of their way to help them with anything, whether is has to do with art or nothing of the sort. He helped me when I was having personal issues, he helped me build a portfolio for college and pushed me along with all his students to challenge ourselves and do amazing things. I will miss Mr. Cartolano dearly, he has left a very valuable mark on my life.

Roi Daconto Posted 2 months ago

To sum up all the qualities of a man like Mike Cartolano is almost impossible. He is truly selfless. He gives of himself so freely not only to his school but to every student in our building. He genuinely cares about the lives of all his students and takes a vested interest in them. For Mike, there is no such thing as free time because every minute, of every day, you will see him mentoring a student, supporting a student, encouraging a student, and building lifelong relationships with each one of them. Mike is ethical, moral, fair, loyal, supportive, thoughtful and most of all kind. He does far more than anyone knows and gives far more than he will ever admit to. He does it all so quietly and unassumingly. His heart, I am sure, is made of solid gold! Mike is a man that you can trust, that you can rely on, that you can lean on, that you can go to at any time and for anything. Mike is a man of reason and a man who is guided by his strong faith. He is a man that has supported me, mentored me, and encouraged me. Mike gave me my career and I will be forever indebted to him for changing my life. Mike is an inspiration and a role model. Without a doubt, Mike is a life changer in his community and in the lives of everyone he knows and loves. Mike is a man that I call my friend, my hero, and someone that not only deserves this award, but he truly embodies what this award is…Mike Cartolano is this award!

Stephanie Holdcroft Posted 2 months ago

For the last 23 years I have had the privilege to have worked with Mike. I have seen, first hand, what an outstanding educator and person he is. He is exceptional with his students and exhibits excellence in everything he does for them. He has been an influential part of so many lives both inside and outside of his classroom. Those that have been taught by him are lucky and those that have worked with him are inspired by his passion on a daily basis. There is no one more deserving of an award like this than Mike. I am truly honored to be able to call him my colleague and friend and look forward to seeing the wonderful things he will continue to do for his community in retirement.

Chris Yee Posted 2 months ago

Mike is, simply put, an amazing human being. He is an extraordinary Art educator, department chair, mentor, advisor, artist, and friend. Mike Cartolano is someone I have looked up to my entire career. In September 1996, Mike and I attended our first Sewanhaka CHSD Opening Day Ceremony together and I remember sitting together, in the auditorium, along with one other new Art hire. The three of us would eventually become Art chairpeople, together, in three different school buildings at Sewanhaka. Mike had just come over from Freeport and this was my first job in education. Mike has been there every step of the way with me, and always had sage advice to share and lead/taught by example. Over the years, Mike's influence has spread to every member of our discipline in each of the five buildings, because he is the friendliest, most generous, most genuine, honest, and passionate educator I had ever seen. His fair, firm leadership style and awesome relationship with his department was admirable. Mike has always acted professionally, practically, and progressively. Yes, he had inspired all of us fellow teachers to be our best, but the true measure of Mike's legacy and scope as a life-changer is with his students. Those who have had the incredible good fortune to be a student in one of Mike's classes, have without a doubt, benefited in some great way, and changed forever. Some have become artists, some followed in Mike's footsteps as Art teachers, and most have walked away with an appreciation for the visual arts. But all have fond memories of Mr. C. I have seen, firsthand, former students, current students, former colleagues, current colleagues, peers across the various subject areas and his own alike, all share at least one thing in common- the utmost love and respect for the man. Mike has always put his students first, and over the years, I've heard countless stories about them, spoken in the same way a fatherly figure recounts cherished memories of his children or old friends, fondly, as if these classroom occurrences happened yesterday. Mike is an exemplary individual who has given this district, especially the H. Frank Carey community, everything he had. I have seen this all the way from Elmont. Mike's talent as a draftsman and designer, shouldn't be overlooked, as he aims to utilize both of these skills in retirement. Mike is extraordinarily fun to be around, always prepared with a joke or a story and always the life of the party. For all of these outstanding qualities and accomplishments, Mike's career should be celebrated. I know that I am extremely grateful to have been his colleague as Mike Cartolano is truly an impactful and positive life-changer, to me and to all who are lucky enough to cross paths with him... because he just makes the rest of us better.

Juliana Campisi Posted 2 months ago

It's always cliché to say this, but Mr. C has without a doubt changed my life. As a former student of his, I can say that Mr. C is one of the most caring, selfless, and supportive teachers Carey High School has to offer. I always knew I loved art as a kid, but it wasn't until I took a Design Studio class with Mr. C that I began to realize it can be turned into a career. He never once doubted my ability (or anyone's), and opened up a world of new possibilities that I didn't know existed. With his help, advice, and encouragement, I was accepted (and graduated!) into the college of my dreams and was able to turn what once was a hobby into a full blown career – none of which I would have even known I could do if it weren't for him. Mr. C has the ability to make kids feel safe, accepted, and capable of more than they know. I can confidently say that he's had this effect on just about every student who was lucky enough to be taught by him, and I will never forget the important foundation that he helped build – based on positivity, thoughtfulness, and dedication.

Cindy Cullen Posted 2 months ago

I have known Mike since my first day of teaching 29 years ago. He has been an exceptional friend and role model. His attention to his profession and his empathy for his students have made him the type of educator kids never forget.

Laura Hashey Posted 2 months ago

What a tremendous tribute to Mike! The outpouring of love, respect and gratitude by so many of his students and colleagues is a tremendous testimony to how he influenced the lives of those who were fortunate to know him. Mike is caring, kind, funny, and positive with everyone he meets and is always willing to share his time and energy to help others. I am sure that he has changed the lives of many others he touched through his work with veterans, cancer fundraisers and his generosity to charitable organizations. Congratulations, Mike, on a very well deserved retirement! See you soon, I hope, at the next family BBQ!

Chris Lazizzera Posted 2 months ago

There is no one more deserving than Mr. Cartolano for this award! He is an amazing teacher that cares a lot about each and every student. Congrats Mr C!!!!!

Matt Vita Posted 2 months ago

Mike was a teacher turned mentor turned friend... as a teacher he had a unique ability to connect with kids from all walks of life in a genuine way that made you feel respected and understood, which helped focus and draw students into the work and you could tell how organic it was from the way the kids respected him back. As a mentor to somebody who was a class clown and skated the boundaries of what was acceptable behavior on a daily basis Mike helped sharpen and focus my ideals of what right and wrong are, while never stunting my creative and mischievous character. As a friend he’s been all these things and is still a sounding board I know I can reach out to whenever I need, even if we don’t talk every day. As my Dad would say “He’s one of the good ones”

Victoria Mora Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano was 100% one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. And although I only had him my last year of high school, it was as if I had him every year. He welcomed anyone into his office and always made an effort to help you with anything you asked. And he has an amazing way of making you feel confident about your artwork even if you didn’t feel the same at first. And at a time in my life when I thought no one cared, Mr. C showed me different. For me personally, the one thing I will forever be thankful to him for was when I was in my senior year applying for colleges. Mr. C took time out of his own busy schedule to sit down with me and help me as much as he could to put together an amazing admission portfolio. And I will never forget, when my dream school at the time put me on the waitlist, how Mr. C went out of his way to personally write a letter on my behalf to the Dean of Admissions expressing how strongly and confident he felt about my art in hopes that it would lead to my acceptance into the school. And although the outcome wasn’t one either of us wanted, it doesn’t matter because I will still never forget all the effort he put in for me. He believed in me and my talent and that’s all I could ever ask for.

Julian Valencia Posted 2 months ago

In high school, I would always see alumni coming back and visiting their favorite teachers. I noticed that A LOT of those alumni returned to see Mr. C. I was always curious why they kept coming back to see him. What was so special about this teacher? It was finally my turn to find out. It was really quickly that I understood why so many students came back to visit him. He’s not just a teacher. He’s a mentor. He’s a friend. Mr. C was there for academic help and life help. There are many GREAT teachers but not many are great at being a friend. Mr. C showed me what it looks like to be passionate about a career and love what you do. I am grateful that he never listened to the teacher who told him he should be a florist.

JOSEPHINE CURIALE Posted 2 months ago

It’s true that the way we treat others determines our character, but there is another outlook of which Mike is the best example we have ever experienced: “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” (Wizard of Oz) Mike is so loved by others! He has truly been a life changer! From what we know of him as a friend, his kindness is unbounded. He possesses the heart, the brains, and the courage to have made a difference in so many lives. The proof is in the countless friendships he has retained and maintained over the years. Bravo,Mike! We love you! Josephine and Al Curiale

Anthony Facchini Posted 2 months ago

As a young struggling aspiring educator, I met Mike while working as a one-on-one aide to a student with autism in one of his classes. After seeing something in me, Mike decided to take me under his wing. As a young, fresh out of college student with no idea what direction to go, I found myself having a hard time with the teacher certification exams. Once he found out about my struggle with the different exams, he began to help me with test preparations and even with applying to jobs in the area. His guidance, persistence and knowledge led me to getting my dream job as a teacher. I know I couldn't have done this without his help, and he continues to help me everyday for the past seven years. Mike is the type of person that when you look up “kind”, “caring”, and “whole hearted” in the dictionary, his picture comes up. The amount of effort he puts into teaching his students is more than any teacher does because he truly cares about each and every person that walks into his room. He continues to inspire young artists to go out into the world and share their craft with everyone! The most amazing thing I have seen is not only what he does for his students while they are in high school, but what he does for his students after they graduate. He continues to keep in touch with so many people whose lives he has changed and will do anything for them at the drop of a hat. Mike is my mentor, friend and role model. I could only dream to make as much of an impact throughout my career as he has done over the past 30 years at Freeport High School and H. Frank Carey High School. This man is not just the life changer of the year, he's been a life changer for 30 years and will continue even after he retires.

James Ohliger Posted 2 months ago

I can think of no teacher that has touched my life in a more meaningful way then Mr C, Mike as I have come to call him in our near 30 year friendship. I was a freshman in the second class he ever taught and through the years we’ve forged a meaningful and valued friendship. Whether it was teaching, art club, or stage crew Mike always offered a guidance and example that I could take learn from. He is a model educator. His care and compassion for all his students make him supremely deserving of this award and I have no issue recommending him for this award.

Jonathan Kaufman Posted 2 months ago

While it would be difficult to thoroughly encapsulate the career and impact of Michael in this forum, i'd like to offer my sincere appreciation and admiration of this exceptional educator. I have known Mike for my entire career and have seen first hand the impact that he has made on students. He is not only a dynamic and educator and talented artist, he is an altruist to the highest degree. Michael's role in the world of education is merely a vehicle for his true role as a humanitarian. This fine man shows genuine concern for students and colleagues alike. While his talents are wide reaching, he truly changes lives by recognizing the needs of all of his students and at risk students. I have seen him truly help and guide so many students who had few options. I can say without hyperbole that he has likely saved the lives of many students who have crossed his path. I would be hard pressed to think of a person who is more deserving of this honor.

Lucas peña Posted 2 months ago

Mr. C is a real one. One of the chillest teachers I’ve ever had. He was the most inspirational art teachers I have ever meant.

Joan Chieffo Posted 2 months ago

I had a hard time deciding which button to press, friend or colleague as what started as a working relationship has grown and transformed into a special friendship. Mike Cartolano has impacted my life in so many ways. He is one of the most genuine and kind people I have ever met. His love for his job and his students should be the definition of teacher for all in education. He is always seen with a helping hand, smile and productive classroom. His students are eager to work not only for the content to be learned but for Mr. Cartolano's infectious passion and incredible work ethic. As we have become friends I have also witnessed an unbelievable number of alumni who have come to Mike Cartolano's classes as guest speakers, visitors and encouragement for other students. The respect for the work that Mr. Cartolano has done for these students is obviously not forgotten and continues with each class that walks through his doors. As a friend he never forgets those he calls friend and I am so thankful I am lucky enough to be one of them. His intense faith and loving heart have made me a better person by having him in my life. Mike runs his classroom as he runs his life, with heart and extreme dedication. Thanks for being you , Mike Cartolano!

Chris Lazizzera Posted 2 months ago

There is no one more deserving than Mr. Cartolano for this award! He is an amazing teacher that cares a lot about each and every student. Congrats Mr C!!!!!

Paul Farley Posted 2 months ago

Mr. C started his teaching career the same year I started high school and he remains the best teacher I’ve ever had. Aside from being an incredibly engaging and talented art teacher, Mr. C always demonstrated a genuine interest in his students’ success, both in and out of the classroom. Mike Cartolano is the most plainly decent person I know, his reliably sound judgment and good counsel always working to the benefit of his students. Beyond being a great teacher, that’s what makes him such a powerfully positive force in the lives of his students. It’s impossible overstate the impact that Mr. C’s mentorship and guidance have had on me. It’s also difficult to quantify the tremendous impact his career has had on the community he serves. However, I hope the fact that I’m writing this on his behalf—as a student almost thirty years after the fact—expresses it well enough.

Annabella Gatto Posted 2 months ago

Mr Cartolano is one of the most kindest and understanding teachers I’ve ever had! He takes time to help his students understand the lesson and is very patient. You always see him smiling in the hallways and he will always say hello to you! He takes time to know each of this students. He is the best!

Cathy Rode Posted 2 months ago

As the past supervisor where Mike began his first job , I can honestly say it was an honor to work with him. From the moment he started to his last day,he was a hardworking selfless,professional.whos served as a role model for both his students and faculty alike. He is an intelligent,creative ,innovative and proactive team player and an outstanding supervisor today. He commands respect from others while maintaining a personal touch and a great sense of humor. It is hard to find someone who has a combination of so many great qualities. In all the years I know him he has been committed and involved in helping his students with their personal life as well as developing them into artists leading them by setting an example of hard work coupled with love. After working together over 38 years ago ,I am happy to say that we are still great friends and that he truly deserves this award!

Christine Randazzo Posted 2 months ago

Michael Cartolano was my mentor for my student teaching experience at H. Frank Carey High School twenty years ago. I already knew he had a wonderful reputation with his students and I was excited to be mentored by such an amazing Art teacher and human being. Mr. Cartolano put his whole self into what he taught and after that he kept doing more. Students loved coming in to see Mr. C!! They asked for Art advice but also I realized that they loved his life advice. His calm demeanor and beautiful outlook on life made students feel as though they could conquer creating art and the world! I realized that I wanted to be the same kind of teacher. He made me feel so comfortable in front of the class; telling me to get to know students. For instance, don’t forget to compliment this one, he scored a touchdown this weekend. Or say something to that one, her art work won an award yesterday. He knew everything about each of his students. He made it personal. He made students feel proud of themselves and want to come to his class. Twenty years later, I am an art teacher in an elementary school. Mr C. and I still keep in touch. I still ask his opinion on art and life! He still has all the answers! Michael Cartolano is a dedicated, wonderful person. He touches the lives of everyone he meets. He is a magnet. Students and colleagues alike are drawn to him. His positive attitude and calming demeanor allow for a perfect 10!

Roi Daconto Posted 2 months ago

To sum up all the qualities of a man like Mike Cartolano is almost impossible. He is truly selfless. He gives of himself so freely not only to his school but to every student in our building. He genuinely cares about the lives of all his students and takes a vested interest in them. For Mike, there is no such thing as free time because every minute, of every day, you will see him mentoring a student, supporting a student, encouraging a student, and building lifelong relationships with each one of them. Mike is ethical, moral, fair, loyal, supportive, thoughtful and most of all kind. He does far more than anyone knows and gives far more than he will ever admit to. He does it all so quietly and unassumingly. His heart, I am sure, is made of solid gold! Mike is a man that you can trust, that you can rely on, that you can lean on, that you can go to at any time and for anything. Mike is a man of reason and a man who is guided by his strong faith. He is a man that has supported me, mentored me, and encouraged me. Mike gave me my career and I will be forever indebted to him for changing my life. Mike is an inspiration and a role model. Without a doubt, Mike is a life changer in his community and in the lives of everyone he knows and loves. Mike is a man that I call my friend, my hero, and someone that not only deserves this award, but he truly embodies what this award is…Mike Cartolano is this award!

Amy Beck Posted 2 months ago

I met my husband in Mr. Cs class. And my husband won’t comment about how important that class or how important Mr. C was is in his life. So here it is: I met my husband in Mr Cs photo class. My husband attributes his graduation to Mr C. Why? Because my hubs wasn’t good at normal school and Mr. C gave him a million reasons to continue on and art was what he was good at. And when I say good, I mean amazing. Award winning on a state level that would not have been realized if Mr C didn’t encourage it. Further to this, Mr C is practical. He has steered my career in the right way. He talked to me about what I wanted, what I was actually good at and my sensitivity factor. No other leaders did that and it changed what I pursued and has led me to a happy life

Francisco Posted 2 months ago

In all my years of academia, never have I had a teacher with such a compassionate nature. As a once aspiring artist, Mr Cartolano was my inspiration. While under his instruction, I was taught the fundamentals of contemporary art and photography. His motivation along with his caring nature shaped me into the professional I am today. I know I do not stand alone, and that is why my good friend, Mr Cartolano deserves this nomination!

Christopher T. Fiore Posted 2 months ago

If one could define the word professionalism in graphic form, it would be a picture of Mike Cartolano! He embodies all aspects of the word. Mike is a true educator who builds relationships with all students, even those not in his classes. He maintains the sense of initiative to branch out and positively affect the lives of those he doesn't even know. His sole focus is to make a student's life better than it already is. He has the keen ability to form a connection with young adults and make them feel important, confident, smart, safe and validated. Mike motivates students to work, to dream, to care, to improve, to smile. His influence allows students to compete to be better than themselves, to stretch their minds and limits. Mike's compassion is a driving force behind his success as student advocate. He consistently puts the interests of others before his own, as this selflessness is on display each day of the year. This is evident in the opportunities he creates for students and his recognition of others. Role model, confidante, mentor, leader and friend are also frequently used to describe this creative genius. His inspiration will continue to live in the lives of so many, especially as they pass on the knowledge, kindness and love that he modeled. Mike Cartolano is a rare breed of excellence that so many try to emulate, but can rarely equal.

Damien Posted 2 months ago

I have known Michael Cartolano for over a decade, and I can truly said he is one of the most kind-hearted and selfless individuals I have ever known. I was a student in Mike's digital design art class my senior year of High School, and on my first day, I quickly saw why Mike was so respected by every individual that ever walked through those halls. I never left that class without taking away something valuable in which I could apply to my every day life. Fast forward ten years later, and although I may not be his student in school, I am still learning a tremendous amount thanks to Mike's willingness to help. Whether it's how to smoke the best ribs you will ever taste, or advice regarding anything you may come across in life's journey, Mike is so eager to help guide you. As you can see from the other comments, Mike is so loved by many, and I am truly blessed to be able to call him a friend. No one deserves this award more than Mike Cartolano, the educator who has definitely changed my life.

Joanne Bergbom Posted 2 months ago

In my 36 years of teaching I have never met another teacher who exhibits as much care and concern for his students both when they are enrolled in his classes and after they graduate as Mike Cartolano. He inspires the students in his art classes to reach for the stars and open themselves up to all the rich possibilities of the imagination. He is their revered mentor, but he is so much more than that. Every student knows he or she is valued as an individual and accepted for who he or she is by Mr. C. Mike champions them inside and outside the classroom. We sit together at the Faculty Scholarship Committee Meeting and the Homecoming interviews where Mike contributes so much about "his students" because he truly knows them at a level that most teachers never reach. It is inspirational to the rest of us to hear Mike praise students for qualities that many of us completely failed to see. I am a twelfth grade English teacher, and at the end of every year I ask my students to write a letter of thanks to any teacher they select. I deliver those letters the following September. Every year Mike's mailbox ifs full of the most sincere letters of appreciation from students who say he changed their lives and their futures. Mike is never finished with his students when they graduate. He keeps in touch with more students than I could count-- five years, ten years, or more after they have graduated. He knows about their careers and their families. He continues to follow their joys and their heartaches, and he offers his help whenever he can. He has brought any number of successful art students back to provide guest lectures for his current classes. As a colleague Mike is the voice of reason and the person who is always looking out for the general good of the school. As an artist he is called upon endlessly to provide artwork and ideas for school-wide events, and he is often the initiator of such events. He has organized CanStructions for charity requiring countless hours of his own time in preparation and creativity. During this pandemic which has so disheartened our graduating seniors because of all the milestone events they are foregoing, Mike set up a slide show of 100 faculty members who shared their own high school yearbook photos and turned it into a contest for the students. As Director of Student Activities, I have seen Mike take on enormous tasks to provide students with opportunities they would not have without his influence. He has been a prime mover in several Relay for Life events, organized many band showcases for our local musicians who wanted a chance to show off their own bands, organized and run video contests and film showings for our budding filmmakers, and even founded a M.I.K.E. Club (for Michaels and Michelles) to perform acts of kindness in the community. It's easy to see that the opportunities he presents to students are far ranging and tap into both their talents and their altruism. To know Mike is to know that he truly changes lives.

Damien Posted 2 months ago

I have known Michael Cartolano for over a decade, and I can truly said he is one of the most kind-hearted and selfless individuals I have ever known. I was a student in Mike's digital design art class my senior year of High School, and on my first day, I quickly saw why Mike was so respected by every individual that ever walked through those halls. I never left that class without taking away something valuable in which I could apply to my every day life. Fast forward ten years later, and although I may not be his student in school, I am still learning a tremendous amount thanks to Mike's willingness to help. Whether it's how to smoke the best ribs you will ever taste, or advice regarding anything you may come across in life's journey, Mike is so eager to help guide you. As you can see from the other comments, Mike is so loved by many, and I am truly blessed to be able to call him a friend. No one deserves this award more than Mike Cartolano, the educator who has definitely changed my life.

Michael Posted 2 months ago

In 20 years of working in education you realize that people like Mike Cartolano do not come along often. Mike is an extremely dedicated educator, he defines the word. He manages to build character, instill discipline, inspire creativity and motivate students day after day. He does this as well as anyone in our profession and does so in an extremely humble manner. Mike does a great job building relationships with students that make a difference in their lives during their years at Carey High School and beyond. There is no question that Mike Cartolano is a true 'life changer'.

Laraine Rudy Posted 2 months ago

I’ve worked with Mike for about 25 years. As a special education teacher, I always tried to incorporate art into literature. Mr C was always able to come up with fabulous projects for my students to enhance their understanding. His calm, reassuring manner always won the kids over. I was on the interview committee when he went for the chairperson job. It was probably the best and most sincere interview I ever saw. He’s one in a million!

Bonnie Robbins Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Mike. So glad I hear your retiring. Enjoy the next chapter it’s truly the best. So justly deserved!

Barbara Ejnes Posted 2 months ago

Michael Cartolano is the most dedicated, personable and passionate teacher I have ever met. He lights up whenever he talks about "his kids" and based on how many stay in touch with him after graduation, I would say that he has made a huge impression upon their lives. His energy when he enters his classroom is boundless and his humorous approach towards life is definitely appreciated by his students. Michael is the pure definition of LifeChanger and should feel really proud of the positive influence he has shared with all of his students.

JOSEPHINE CURIALE Posted 2 months ago

It’s true that the way we treat others determines our character, but there is another outlook of which Mike is the best example we have ever experienced: “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” (Wizard of Oz) Mike is so loved by others! He has truly been a life changer! From what we know of him as a friend, his kindness is unbounded. He possesses the heart, the brains, and the courage to have made a difference in so many lives. The proof is in the countless friendships he has retained and maintained over the years. Bravo,Mike! We love you! Josephine and Al Curiale

Glenn Jersey Posted 2 months ago

Mr. C is a person that when he comes into your life, you never let him go. He is the definition of a true friend and an incredible mentor. Caring, thoughtful, loyal, and encouraging are just a few words I would use to describe Mike. He has been a major influence in my life from the time I was in High School, to the present. Over the course of our 16 year friendship, he continues to encourage and enrich my life everyday for which I am truly thankful. Mike has always been there for me. He will drop anything to help a friend in need. He is terrific listener and provides positive, truthful advice. It is no wonder he is the focal point in many people’s lives. For those who did not have the wherewithal to maintain a friendship with Mike have deprived themselves of something great. I know I am not alone in saying that I am truly blessed to have Mike in my life. Our friendship is something I never take for granted and truly value. Thank you for everything Mike. You are truly an amazing teacher, mentor, and of course, friend. I love you.

Roger Johnson Posted 2 months ago

I'm very proud of my cousin Michael. I always knew you would be a caring compassionate educator as you always exhibited exceptional qualities throughout your life. Enjoy each day as you transition into a new phase of your life and I know you will still be a strong influence to those that you will touch.

Thomas G Ciapi Posted 2 months ago

What an honor. Congratulations and the best to you. From Texas ! ????

Monica Stoller Posted 2 months ago

MIke has been such an incredible mentor and supporter of my daughter Jessica Burgalassi, one of the art teachers in his department. When she first started at Sewanhaka, she shared with me what a wonderful leader Mike was. He was always so engaged with both the students and the teachers. I heard so much about him that I friended him on Facebook and I've gotten to know him over the past year. I am so grateful to Mike for his guidance and friendship to Jessica and he is going to be missed greatly! Mike absolutely deserves this award!!

Stacy (Miller) Hosemann Posted 2 months ago

High school was not my favorite place. But there were a handful of teachers who helped me get through, even if they didn’t know it at the time. Mr. C was one. I was not a great artist, but I always took art classes with Mr. C because he brought such warmth and dedication to his classes each and every day. He never seemed tired or unhappy with his job. He genuinely enjoyed being in the classroom with his students and he took the time to get to know them. He is one of the teachers who made me want to become a teacher; I hope that my students look at me the way students look at and look to Mr. C. I am sorry to all students who did not get to experience him as a teacher; it is a true loss for them.

Petros Stambolis Posted 2 months ago

I was a student of Mr. Cartolano's almost 20 years ago and he is still very much a part of my life today. I am also far from the only person who can say that. Mr. C was more than just a teacher, he was also a friend, someone who genuinely cared about you, your goals, and your fears. Throughout my high school career, when I was spread pretty thin, Mr. C was always there to make sure that I was keeping art in my life and challenging me to make the most of my abilities. Now that I have pursued a career in design Mr. C still maintains an interest in my work, my well-being, and my family. While Mr. C could have been a nominee for this award during any year which he has been a teacher, it is only fitting that he be recognized this year. The relationships he's formed with his students have extended well beyond the years in which he has been standing in front of them. While at this moment he no longer can, it is nature of those relationships that has made him someone that will always be there for you even when he physically can't.

Barbara Schreck Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Mike!! Enjoy your retirement!! God Bless

Beau Papazis Posted 2 months ago

He is a man who is admired by many current and formers students. Michael Cartolano AkA “Mr. C. “ has transformed my perspective of art and how I look at life. While attending H. Frank Carey Junior/Senior High School from 1997-2002, I'm blessed with being mentored by the Great Mr. C. for 3 of the 6 years I have attended the school. In that span of time, I not only grew as a person, but I’ve also honed and mastered my artistic design capabilities under his tutelage. To being recognized by New York State Assembly with Citations, Assisting to win grants for the school, Placing in major art competitions, and Having accepted a scholarship by New York Institute of Technology at Old Westbury for my digitally rendered artwork are great accomplishments for me. All this by utilizing the skills and techniques taught in his classes. While attending my senior year at H Frank Carey, Friends, Family, New Yorker's and Americans alike felt the effects of the tragic September 11th events. It was during this time, I was challenged by Mr. C. to design digitally rendered art posters titled “Through Tragedy & Triumph, America Prevails” for many departments of the school. Designing those posters in my senior year, when the world seemed so uncertain helped me to overcome the stresses of that time period while serving a purpose to my high school community. This small glimpse of my life under his guidance is just one of many examples he has helped me to maximize my potential. This man truly is a remarkable, selfless human being who cares about his students. Mr. C, I salute you for helping me to become the man I am today as well and being a great friend in the passing years. Good Luck on your retirement!

George N Koroluck Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations on your well deserved retirement. Enjoy it in good health! George

Greg Vedder Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano is easily one of the kindest and most genuine people you will ever meet. He was always lending his expertise in education and always had great things to say about student's artwork. He will be sorely missed by SCHSD Art Department!!! Good luck with your next adventures!

Kathy Greiche Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano and I started working at H. Frank Carey H.S. the same year. He has always been a kind and generous soul. All of the students respect and adore him. They can be found in his classroom during their off periods sharing life's tribulations or simply to spend time with him because he makes them feel important and valued. Over the years, students have returned to speak to his classes, to ask for guidance and advice or to catch up with their favorite high school teacher. The faculty and staff have the same admiration for him. He is a positive voice and presence in our building. He brings out the best in people, and he makes us want to be better. I have never met a kinder, more compassionate, and generous human. He embodies everything this award stands for, and there is no one more deserving. Best wishes on your retirement, Mike. You will be missed.

LAWRENCE A. KOROLUCK Posted 2 months ago

Hey Mike, What a way to start a retirement! Looking forward to getting together and do some BBQ. Congratulations!!! Larry

Francesca Cascio Posted 2 months ago

Mr Cartolano was hands down the best teacher I ever had. Nobody cared about their students more than him. It's been over 20 years since I graduated, and he STILL makes time for me. I took Media Arts with Mr Cartolano and loved learning to develop photos in the dark room and joined the Photography Club. He helped introduce me to one of my biggest passions in life. He knows how to make you laugh, he listens with genuine interest, and I am so grateful to count him among my dearest friends all these years later. Even during these trying times of global pandemic, he helps build community and bring positivity into the world via online groups where people who have never met come together to exchange inspiring quotes, photos, or music. There is no doubt about it; Mr Cartolano is the salt of the earth.

barbara A brewer Posted 2 months ago

I can't think of anyone that cares for his students more than Michael. Congratulations on your retirement Mike. xoxo

Deborah Madia Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Michael on your retirement I know how dedicated you were and still are I know you were a great teacher and your students loved and counted on you and I know you gave them the same respect back congratulations again be safe and I will always have you in my prayers ??

Kristen Shanley Posted 2 months ago

If you can judge a person on the lives they touched, then Mr. Cartolano deserves the biggest praise, thank you, and recognition allowed! Art is a subject area in school where students can explore their creativity and self-expression. Whether or not students have a natural artistic ability, or are just learning it as a skill to be practiced, they are lucky enough to be taught, encouraged, and inspired by Mr. Cartolano. He is a well respected, dedicated, and most importantly well loved teacher that has worked his entire career as a labor of love.

Meghan Parenteau Posted 2 months ago

Mike is an outstanding educator who thrives on developing creativity and fostering positive relationships with his students. He always keeps in close contact with all of his students facilitating them to receive positive recognition in the area of art and digital design. Students and teachers alike idolize not just the educator he is but the person he is.

Mike azzariti Posted 2 months ago

Anyone who has been blessed enough to have Michael cartolano as a teacher knows what a amazing person and role model he is. He is one of the kindest, nicest caring people anyone could have ever meet I was blessed to have him as a teacher,and to this day he is still a close friend to my family and I. Good Luck on your retirement Mike, wishing you all the best! Enjoy!

Isabella Gamba Posted 2 months ago

There is no one more deserving than Mr. Cartolano for this award. He has changed so many lives in and out of the classroom. He is the most supportive and inspiring teacher and I am so lucky to have learned so much from him!

Dr. Michelle Maltempi Posted 2 months ago

Michael is a caring and supportive educator. He not only goes above and beyond for the faculty and staff of the school by holding wonderful events; but is truly someone the student body looks up to. He is an educator that would meet the LifeChanger title as he continues to influence and impact his school community in such a positive way!

Blake Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano is one of the most upstanding citizens I know. He was a great teacher and was truly there to help students out of the goodness of his heart. Mike always made each and every kid feel at home. He would connect with each student on a individual level and try to work with them and bring out their best despite their artistic level or background. He would help students on his own time to help them achieve their goals. Not only did he make class fun, but he truly made it feel like a home where all students got along. It was like an escape mid day. I along with many other students looked forward to his class and he has taught us so much. He is a real class act, upstanding man, and a great friend. He was loved by many students and by staff due to his kind hearted nature. There will never be another MR. C.

Anita Fuschetto Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Michael!!!!

Robert J Cassara Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano is a fellow administrator at Carey Jr./Sr. High School and and has been a huge influence since I started working in the school 10 years ago. He is a friend, mentor and role model to both students and teachers. Mike is also a HUGE BBQ fan and taught me how to smoke meats and make bacon. And everyone likes bacon. Thank you Michael!!!

Francesca Cascio Posted 2 months ago

Mr Cartolano was hands down the best teacher I ever had. Nobody cared about their students more than him. It's been over 20 years since I graduated, and he STILL makes time for me. I took Media Arts with Mr Cartolano and loved learning to develop photos in the dark room and joined the Photography Club. He helped introduce me to one of my biggest passions in life. He knows how to make you laugh, he listens with genuine interest, and I am so grateful to count him among my dearest friends all these years later. Even during these trying times of global pandemic, he helps build community and bring positivity into the world via online groups where people who have never met come together to exchange inspiring quotes, photos, or music. There is no doubt about it; Mr Cartolano is the salt of the earth.

Justin Tarantino Posted 2 months ago

There are too many awesome things to say about this guy! He's the best uncle in the world, has many good friends and all his students love him. He has helped so many kids in school and I truly believe he is a life changer. Always attending events and helping others whenever he can. Truly a great uncle and awesome person !

Lori Cartolano Posted 2 months ago

I love you Michael , you so deserve this and so much more . Love L

Angie Tjortjoglou Posted 2 months ago

Congratulations Micheal !

Syd Glasser Posted 2 months ago

Mike is hands down, one of the kindest, funniest, and brightest art educators that I have met in my 13 years of experience in the field. As a colleague and as a teacher he is inspiring and kind, and has a passion for learning that is contagious and uncommon. He is the kind of person you want to work with. When sharing ideas with Michael, he makes the impossible tangible and loves to bounce new ideas off those around him. I'll never forget the support Mike gave me when I was a first year teacher. I had a lot of big ideas, but was also nervous to share them. My first workshop brainstorm with him truly gave me confidence that not only my ideas were valid but that I was a perfect fit for the field. He was excited by my ideas in a way that made me feel like a genius! Only those of us in the field can understand what it means to a first year teacher to have a seasoned veteran show enthusiasm for our ideas. It's like winning an Olympic Medal, and that's exactly how he made me feel. I think back to that moment, and how it inspired me to try to be as infectiously encouraging as Mike Cartolano with my students. He was the first person to teach me about the power of positivity, and it is a lesson and life philosophy I still rely on to this day. I can only imagine how he has influenced the thousands of young teachers and students he's come in contact with during the span of his career. He makes those around him feel like they can do and be anything they choose, and his love for what he does pushes those around him to want to do and be their best. The teaching profession and the lives of those he's influenced has been made better by Michael Cartolano. He is clearly a Life Changer of his community, as his influence has also spread to the the communities of those who have learned from him and taken his lessons with them. He will be missed greatly, as you don't get a Michael Cartolano in your community everyday. No one is more deserving of this award.

Blake Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano is one of the most upstanding citizens I know. He was a great teacher and was truly there to help students out of the goodness of his heart. Mike always made each and every kid feel at home. He would connect with each student on a individual level and try to work with them and bring out their best despite their artistic level or background. He would help students on his own time to help them achieve their goals. Not only did he make class fun, but he truly made it feel like a home where all students got along. It was like an escape mid day. I along with many other students looked forward to his class and he has taught us so much. He is a real class act, upstanding man, and a great friend. He was loved by many students and by staff due to his kind hearted nature. There will never be another MR. C.

Danielle Livoti Posted 2 months ago

I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a Life Changer of the Year award! I have known Mr. Cartolano since I began teaching in the Sewanhaka District 12 years ago. I remember his friendly face and positive energy when he was on my interviewing committee. As a chairperson of the art department at H. Frank Carey High School, he was not my chairperson because I was hired for a different building, but I looked forward to learning from him during our district department meetings. Mr. Cartolano was always eager to share advice, lessons, anecdotes; anything that could help lift your spirits as a novice teacher and provide motivation. When I was called upon to act as Teacher-in-Charge, a role I was not prepared for and knew nothing about, Mr. Cartolano took time out of his busy day to coach me through difficult moments or lend an ear. He checks in on his people, he wants to see others succeed. He is such an amazing leader, and I have seen first hand how he has inspired others to achieve their best. My colleagues in his department are some of the finest art teachers I know, and they hold themselves to a high standard that I know is due to Mr. Cartolano's leadership, guidance and patience. He lives and breathes his profession, he lives for the students who's lives he has touched. One thing that always stood out to me that he mentioned is that everything we do is for the kids, to stand outside of your classroom and greet them as people, to make amazing, memorable projects, to listen to them; this is what leadership is all about. He lifts others up, gives selflessly and practices what he preaches. I truly hope to be the leader and educator he is one day!

Rob Pontecorvo Posted 2 months ago

I have great concern writing this endorsement because I am simply a math teacher who does not possess the eloquence to do justice to the positive impact Mr. Cartolano has made on the lives of so many. He is a man that has dedicated his life (not just his career) to helping others. He becomes personally and emotionally concerned about all of his students. He uses this connection to drive himself through a never-ending pursuit to improve their skills and talents, their esteem, and their lives. He has created (and personally funded) scholarships to help recognize students with special needs as well as students with special gifts. At a pivotal point in his career, Mr. Cartolano was asked to make the decision to focus his efforts on running an Art Department. He took on this challenge and became a school administrator who used his position to have an even greater impact on students while also helping adults (teachers ) do the same for their students. He has impacted kids, a school, and a district.

Katrin Posted 2 months ago

Michael Cartolano is one of the smartest, kindest, and most inspiring educators that I have come across in my 19 years of teaching. He is incredibly dedicated to his students and school community as both a teacher and chairperson of the Art department. Mike has a warm personality and brings his expertise, compassion, and talent to our entire district, as well as, to our team unit. He is truly a perfect candidate for the Life Changer Award because he has inspired and touched the lives of so many students and teachers.

Jessica Burgalassi Posted 2 months ago

Michael Cartolano has been my chairperson for the past 6 years. In that time I have been witness to the countless relationships he has been able to foster with students and teachers. He is constantly coming up with new projects and researching new ways to integrate technology into his classroom. He keeps up on the times so his students can succeed and learn for the future. Michael's open door policy allows for students to reach out to him to discuss college careers, college opportunities and to discuss portfolio development. He not only has the ability to motivate and inspire his students, but his teachers as well. His positive and caring demeanor has always created a collaborative mentality within our department. He always knows how to help and grow us as educators. For the past 2 years I have worked as an intern with Michael for my teacher administrative degree. I attribute my confidence to make this leap to Michael. By having confidence in me and spending countless days teaching me and discussing best practices as a leader, he has truly made me the teacher and leader I am today. I can never say enough about how caring, loving, smart and selfless Michael is. He truly is a LifeChanger to anyone who has the opportunity to work or learn from him.

Rosemary Merino Posted 2 months ago

I am a math teacher at H Frank Carey H.S. and the student government advisor and I can say without a doubt that Mike Cartolano is someone who makes our school a better place to learn and work. Mike and I have served on many committees together and I am in awe of his dedication to his students and to Carey. Mike is involved in every aspect of live at Carey. He is the leader of our awesome art department and mentor to teachers and students. He brings the art program alive, in that each and every event has an artistic flair! The art students have designed web pages, created programs, enhanced our PS I Love you Day events, Relay for Life events....I honestly can not think of a Carey event that through Mike, and the art department, the Carey Art students have not made more beautiful through their participation. Mr C, as the kids call him, is a fierce advocate for ALL students. I honestly believe that he is a LifeChanger, EventEnhancer and the Heart of Carey H.S.

Anthony Turco Posted 2 months ago

Michael is a man that is always willing to give a lending hand, an ear to listen to and anything else that might be needed at the time. Michael no matter what it means will always put the students first. He understands the meaning of what it means to be a MASTER teacher and a compassionate one at that. As a Special Ed teacher and a coach Mike has always been there for any student regardless of the level of educational level. Michael is going to be sorely missed at Carey High School. Thank you Mike for all the wonderful years we have been friends.

Louie Aragon Posted 2 months ago

Mike or Mr. C, was my former art teacher, a colleague and a friend. He has always steered me in the right direction since I was in 8th grade. His class ignited my passion for art and directly affected my career choice as an art educator and a graphic designer. Throughout the years he has been a mentor to me. I kept in close contact with him after high school and during college. My decision to become an art educator stems from Mike letting me observe his classes and seeing how he inspired so many students and helped those students with their goals. He guided me through my goal to becoming a teacher and he has always been there for advice and mentorship. I'm 37 now, an art teacher, a professor and graphic designer and I owe it to that first art class in 8th grade. As former student, he will always be Mr. C to me. That teacher who without hesitation will help you anyway he can. As a colleague, his guidance has helped me become the teacher I am today. He helped me navigate through teaching and have been his colleague for over 10 years. Mike is a great friend. He's there for you and will help you in anyway he can. It was alway nice to sit and chat with him. I'm happy to see that Mike has been nominated as Life Changer of the Year. I was fortunate enough to have him as a teacher and he's always guided me in the right direction. Thank you Mr. C for being a great mentor, colleague and a friend.

Gina Samet Posted 2 months ago

Mike Cartolano hired me as an art teacher 16 years ago. To say that he is a life changer is an understatement. Not only did he change my life by mentoring me and molding me into the teacher I am today, but I’ve seen him save and change the lives of countless students, staff members and hundreds of people in the school’s community. Mike is compassionate and dedicated educator who puts his students success and best interests before himself. Mike has worked with numerous charities raising money and awareness. He has been chair several times on the Relay for Life committee, has volunteered for many years in a BBQ club that works with the Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition, and invited Veterans to our school year after year to honor them, to name just a few examples. There is no other educator more deserving of this award than Mike Cartolano.

John Paul Dominguez Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano has been a good friend of mine through my high school career. He helped me with alot of things, he made me feel like I was never alone, he listened to my problems, school and personal. He helped me fix them, he made me see the good things. If I never met him or had him as an art teacher, he would never have been a part of my life. Without him probably I would feel like I’m alone. There was a side of me that graduating high school felt sad because beside from a safe environment that I had, I was also leaving my favorite teachers, specially Mr. Cartolano and the other art teachers in his faculty, I felt like he was more than a friend, or a best friend, I felt like he was a family. He never forgets my birthdays and throws a little party for me. It’s sad to see him retire because he is such a good teacher and a friend. I will never be able to visit him in carey anymore, but I do hope I would see him in the future.

Philip Harwood Posted 2 months ago

Mike and I have been friends for over four decades. He has made a difference, not only in my life as a wonderful friend, but to his friends, family, students, and colleagues. I have heard many wonderful stories about the positive effect he has had on his students through the decades. He keeps in touch with many, because of the positive influence he has had in his students' lives. He is kind and caring to the people in his life. He has my vote for LIfeChanger of The Year!

Angela Maggio Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano is a very loved teacher. His students sought him out and loved being in his classes. Aside from being a stellar and professional teacher he is a moralistic and compassionate man. I loved working with him at H Frank Carey high school but more than that I admired the man he is.

Spencer farrell Posted 2 months ago

Mr.c is one of the best teachers and person anyone could ever meet he really taught me to love art and see the Beauty and everything when I first stated takeing his class I wasn’t on a good path in life and mr c helped me and put me on the right path I Learned so much stuff about art and he’s just the nicest guy u can ever speak to any advice he gives u is amazing he’s such a smart guy and knows so much and I loved learning from him and it really made me a better person and to this day I still talk to him about art and how he is doing and he’s always there for me and I really appreciate it he definitely changed high school and the rest of my life for the good and I’m happy I had the chance for him to come into my life

Troy Posted 2 months ago

It's hard to describe someone like Michael, he's almost fictional—he's everything that you imagine a teacher should be. He's got an enormous amount of passion and a heart that's larger than anyone's. I know him as not only a teacher, but as a friend too. As a former student of his, he encouraged me to go into the arts back when he saw talent and potential in me, when I was naive about the field. Now, as student graduating from college with work recognized by design organizations like the Type Directors Club and AIGA NY, I haven't looked back. Michael is an incredible human being and I owe a lot to him. Thank you for changing my life and many others too, just promise me you won't change a thing about you.

Dan Lombardi Posted 2 months ago

“Mr. C” is among the all-time greatest teachers from Carey High School. He is extremely dedicated to his students and helps them succeed beyond the classroom. He is a life changer because his positive attitude and helpful advice still shapes students’ lives years after their graduation.

Roger W Pokorny Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano has set me on a course to follow my dreams. I will never forget, being at my lowest state and Mr. Cartolano going out of his way to help me through it and mentoring me into the man I am now. He truly is a special, kind and amazing human. Without him I wouldn't have just finished college pursuing communication design. Mr. C, is endlessly generous and cares so deeply about all of his students. If anyone deserves this award, it's him.

Alex Conti Posted 2 months ago

One of the most influential teacher I’ve ever met. There is something very special about Mr. C .... 20+years after graduating he is still my teacher! When I’m in need he’s always there!!! No matter what is needed for me. He’s not only one of the best friends I have in my life ... he’s my family now!! I love Mike so so so much. And know that I’m not by far the only one who feels this way about you. I personally wanna thank you for your support and your love!!! God blessed me with you!! I’m beyond thankful to have you in my life! ??????

Kerri H Posted 2 months ago

Students come back to Carey after they graduate to see Mr. C! He is not only an amazing colleague he is also an amazing, inspiring, passionate teacher.

Chris Cronin Posted 2 months ago

Mike is an outstanding teacher chairman and most importantly human being. He puts others before self and continully strives to make those he interacts with a better person as a result of his influence . He is truly deserving of this award.

Toni wisniewski Posted 2 months ago

M-is for magnificent I- is for irresistible K- is for Kind E-is for energetic As I always said he’s the kindest person I know. I wish I had teachers that were that way. Who ever had him were extremely lucky!!

John Paul Dominguez Posted 2 months ago

Mr. Cartolano has been a good friend of mine through my high school career. He helped me with alot of things, he made me feel like I was never alone, he listened to my problems, school and personal. He helped me fix them, he made me see the good things. If I never met him or had him as an art teacher, he would never have been a part of my life. Without him probably I would feel like I’m alone. There was a side of me that graduating high school felt sad because beside from a safe environment that I had, I was also leaving my favorite teachers, specially Mr. Cartolano and the other art teachers in his faculty, I felt like he was more than a friend, or a best friend, I felt like he was a family. He never forgets my birthdays and throws a little party for me. It’s sad to see him retire because he is such a good teacher and a friend. I will never be able to visit him in carey anymore, but I do hope I would see him in the future.

Frances Curtin Posted 2 months ago

Everyone who has worked with Mike Cartolano has experienced working with a Master teacher. He leads by example, never shying away from a task, no matter how time-consuming or tedious. And yet, he never neglects or short-changes his students. Mike literally is the first to arrive and last to leave, just ask the night custodians who all respect and enjoy him. Though a supervisor, Mike interacts with everyone in the building: maintenance and clerical staff, teachers, aides, students and parents with sensitivity and respect. He truly sees the value of everyone. What most don’t know is just how generous Mike is with his time, talent and yes, his wallet. He will spend hours mentoring a troubled youth and even more tutoring a college graduate looking to pass the state teachers’ exams. Mike will generously contribute to school fundraisers as well as to families in need and numerous charities. And he does so in his unassuming way, without fanfare or a need for recognition. I have lived a long life filled with many blessings and I consider Mike Cartolano to be a major one!!

Chris Vella Posted 2 months ago

So I am a Carey grad class of 2008 and I was not what one would call an art student and besides polite exchanges Mr.C and I did not know each other very well. 10 years later I returned to Carey as an intern and through that work we developed a bind and kinship. He guided, coached mentored me through the beginning stages of my career. I have successfully landed a career job as a counselor in Nassau county and without the coaching of MrC I don’t know if things would have turned out that way. Why I mention the prior context is because it speaks to the selflessness and passion MrC has for education. He saw I was curious to learn and despite not having that prior rapport he took many hours of his personal time to prepare me to be an educator. He inspired me, guided me, continues to check in and support me. I can’t say enough great things about this man except that I hope to be able to reciprocate what he provided to me to the next generation of educators when I am at the ladder years of my career. Much love MrC & THANKS

Michael Kohen Posted 2 months ago

Mr. C had an incredible impact on not only my high school education, but my life as a whole. I started as a member of the MIKE club with him and the time spent with that club helped boost my drive for after school club activities. I graduated as senior class president and I owe a lot of my school involvement to Mr. C. On top of clubs, I was lucky to grow my love of photography and learn so much about the visual arts from him in a number of classes I shared with him. I left H Frank Carey a better person and while Mr C was no longer my teacher, he was a friend and a mentor I knew I could lean on! Mr. C has given so many students the ability to shine and showcase their untapped talents. I'm proud to support his nomination for Lifechanger of the year!

Steve Glibbery Posted 2 months ago

Mr.C is a one of a kind teacher, there is no one else like him, he was not only able to help me with art but also many trials in life, his advice and friendship goes beyond the art room. He’s still a great friend even years after graduation. His teaching methods made art fun and creative, it was the most comfortable place I felt in school. Many students felt they can go to him for any advice or problems in there not just art, and he was there for them. Mr. C has changed my life in so many great ways and countless students for sure. He is the best!