Math Teacher Louis Kokonis Celebrates 90th Birthday and 63 Years With Alexandria Schools
By Alexandria City Public Schools
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Dedication personified describes Alexandria City High School (ACHS) math teacher Louis Kokonis. The soft-spoken instructor celebrated his ninetieth birthday on April 1, 2022, and has been teaching for 63 years within our school division. ACPS had produced an online video when Kokonis reached the milestone of 60 years of teaching.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher,” said Kokonis, “I was influenced by many of my high school teachers and for my love of math.” He said he appreciates a subject where you follow the steps to get an answer.
The longest-serving teacher in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) began his career in 1959 at Francis Hammond High School (now Francis C. Hammond Middle School) and then went on to T.C. Williams High School (now ACHS). Over the years, Kokonis has helped students overcome their math anxiety as he taught algebra, calculus and geometry to thousands of Alexandria students. Looking back, Kokonis said, “Teaching students nowadays does not seem much different than it did when I first started teaching. I have had great students over the years.”
In 2019, as Kokonis celebrated six decades of teaching, he was honored in a House Joint Resolution No. 727 of the Virginia General Assembly, which stated, “Louis Kokonis has imparted his passion for lifelong learning to his students, many of whom went on to become physicists, engineers, doctors and professors.”
As Kokonis never married and has no children, he sees his students as family. “I hope as they grow older that they will always remain positive and enthusiastic about whatever they are doing and that they will not be discouraged when things get difficult,” he said. Kokonis also offered students this simple advice: “Pick an occupation that you will enjoy and be happy going to work and try not to be discouraged when things get difficult. Try not to let setbacks keep you from achieving your goals.” And to fellow teachers, Kokonis imparts this bit of wisdom: “Be enthusiastic about whatever you are teaching. Enjoy being a teacher and always do your best. Try to help every student to achieve the best that they can.”
Kokonis is not thinking about retiring, just yet, saying he would miss being engaged with his students and other teachers. But if this remarkable math teacher who loves movies with happy endings ever does retire, Kokonis says you will see him doing volunteer work in the community.
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Mr. K is a legend and will always inspire me. -Doug, class of 2016