At Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., four Hobart and William Smith graduates are preparing students with an education grounded in multidimensional inquiry and critical thinking—not so different from their own studies at HWS.
Eric Koessler ’88 was the first to arrive 19 years ago to the private, Jesuit-run boys school, where he teaches religious studies and music. Annette Villanueva Sugg ’92, director of the Canisius Guidance and Counseling Center, and Justin Siuta ’02, a history teacher, arrived a few years later. By the time religion teacher Jordan Printup ’13 was hired in 2015, it was clear: Canisius was something of a destination for HWS graduates.
Koessler, Printup, Siuta and Sugg explain that they have formed their own informal cheering group for the Colleges.
“When I found out that Annette and Eric went to HWS, I immediately felt connected to them,” says Siuta. “I will often bring up the Colleges and note how nice it would be to go back to our HWS days every once in a while.”
“Just this morning Justin and I were speaking of how we missed the campus and life at the Colleges,” says Koessler. “On more than one occasion we have reminisced about the quiet beauty and respect to be found in the study carrels in the Blackwell Room or the raw fun of throwing a Frisbee on the Quad.”
However, the bond among these HWS graduates extends to their ethos as educators and mentors for students at the competitive high school, which counts journalist Tim Russert and comedian Mark Russell among its alums.
“We all seem to have the ability to question and raise inquiry in topics that come up at school. That method of thinking that was instilled in us at HWS has translated to how we want students to approach not only their studies, but life as well,” says Printup, noting the satisfaction of joining a group of educators that imparts their HWS experiences and insights to a new generation of students.
A Canisius graduate himself, Printup applied to HWS on the advice of Sugg and Siuta.
For Printup, teaching at Canisius is an ideal way to apply what he learned at HWS “the ability to think critically, passionately, and globally. [Now I] make sure that the students understand that the world goes beyond the walls of Canisius High School, and they will be a part of it” — and that understanding is necessary, he says, “for them to be global citizens and lead lives of consequence.”