West Columbia, SC 09/18/2023 -- Lexington Two proudly announced this week the selection of Brookland-Cayce High School educator Pete Grivetti as District Teacher of the Year.
Superintendent Dr. Brenda Hafner, Brookland-Cayce Principal Dr. Vance Jones, and school and district administrators surprised Grivetti with the news in his classroom Monday, to cheers from his students.
Grivetti teaches AP Physics, Physics Honors, AP Biology, Biology I Honors, and general biology.
“Mr. Grivetti is an outstanding educator who consistently surpasses expectations in his commitment to his students,” Dr. Jones said. “His relentless pursuit of creating an environment that fosters positivity and engagement is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Brookland-Cayce is fortunate to have such an outstanding and gifted teacher on our team, and we are better because he is a part of our teaching family.”
Grivetti initially wanted to go into the medical field as a veterinarian or physician. However, while traveling overseas after college and teaching English, science, and math in Thailand, he realized that education was his true calling. When he returned to the United States, he began to pursue a career in education.
“After teaching overseas and getting to watch students grow academically over the course of several years, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to find that same level of fulfillment with any other job,” Grivetti said. “I now have the opportunity to teach students as freshmen and sophomores in my Biology course, and then see many of them again in AP Biology and Physics courses. Watching these students grow up and become young adults is an amazing experience. I can honestly say that most days, my job doesn’t actually feel like work at all.”
Grivetti took his first teaching job as a science teacher 11 years ago with Brookland-Cayce High School. Grivetti said he takes “a great amount of pride in the qualifications and overall teaching experience” that he’s been able to accumulate in that time, among them certifications to teach science in grades 7-12, along with certifications for Gifted & Talented (G&T) education, and AP Biology and Physics. While teaching, Grivetti also was a captain in the US Army Reserve. Grivetti, who was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, received an honorable discharge in June 2022.
“I am proud that I had the chance to serve in the military for 10 years while teaching,” Grivetti said. “Although having these two very demanding jobs simultaneously was incredibly stressful at times, I like to think that I have helped serve as a role model for my students in terms of service to something greater than themselves.”
Grivetti works to build relationships with his students, attending their extracurricular activities – with a goal of at least one per student per semester – as well as inviting back science and engineering students to talk with current ones about college, career, and life after high school. Grivetti also has become known as the chess guy, after launching a chess club at Brookland-Cayce after noticing a student interest in online versions of the game. The chess club gives students “a chance to interact with others who share their interest in this great game.”
“Starting this club allowed me to meet and interact with many students who I probably would not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise,” Grivetti said. “I could tell that our club was having a positive impact on school culture simply by noting the new-found interest in chess from other students in my classes. My classroom became well-known as a place for exciting chess matches for anyone interested.” He added that there has been talk of expanding the club to include other types of video and board games, and possibly include tournaments.
Among other activities, Grivetti is Brookland-Cayce’s science department chair and the school’s National Honor Society advisor. He also is a member of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, SCTS 4.0 Peer Evaluator, SC Peer Mentor, and he served on the SC Biology Instructional Material Review Panel. Grivetti received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Furman University, where he was selected to the prestigious Quaternion, an elite men’s honor society founded in 1903, and Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. He received a master’s degree in teaching from the University of South Carolina.
Grivetti’s selection as District Teacher of the Year was made by a panel of judges from the community in the education field. He will now represent Lexington Two in the SC Teacher of the Year competition. The statewide winner is named in the spring.
“Mr. Grivetti epitomizes what it means to be a ‘Champion for Children,’” said Dr. Hafner, Lexington Two’s superintendent. “He not only champions students in their academics but also in their extracurricular interests. He understands the value of exposing our students to college and career opportunities in ways that are real life, real world, and connected to our community. Mr. Grivetti is an outstanding member of our Lex2 family and an outstanding representative of teachers across our state who give this profession their all.”
Brookland-Cayce High School teacher Pete Grivetti, third from left, was surprised in his classroom with news that he is Lexington Two’s District Teacher of the Year. He is shown here after the announcement with Superintendent Dr. Brenda Hafner, second left, Principal Dr. Vance Jones, fourth left, and BC administrators Leon Brunson, left, Alicia Dickerson, Linda Bundrick-Brown, and Ryan Van Omen.