Dr. Bozanic Strives to “Just Be an Andy”


Maggie P. '22

Dr. Bozanic asks Noreen Melia a question during his U.S History class. Bozanic has taught U.S. History since his first year at Padua.

Dr. Andrew Bozanic wears many hats. In addition to being a teacher of US History, Psychology, and AP Research, he runs Music Ministry and has taken on the new role of co director in the theater program. But he could not have fulfilled these roles without staying true to himself and remembering to “just be an Andy” in the process.

Who is Dr. Bozanic?

Throughout his journey of originally pursuing aerospace engineering in college to being a professor of history at the University of Delaware and Widener, Bozanic has always had a passion for music and history. Pursuing these interests ultimately led him to meet a current US history teacher, Hall, at UD who encouraged him to join the staff after hearing his interest in becoming a high school teacher five years ago.

Since then, Bozanic has increasingly extended his involvement at Padua but said he’s ”not gonna lie,” taking on all these responsibilities during a pandemic has “been a challenge.”

“There’s a lot of plates spinning in the air,” he said. “I’m trying not to let any of them drop and break at the moment, but it is rewarding. I love the that I’ve got a challenge each day.”

Reflecting on the last year, Bozanic explained that he has had his own set of challenges outside the classroom in addition to adjusting to hybrid learning, discussing difficult current events and making the classroom a safer environment.

“On top of [all] that, my dad got sick and ultimately passed in the middle of it,” he said, “so personally last year, it was very difficult for me.”

Dr. Bozanic rehearses with the cast the cast of “The Little Mermaid.” They performed the musical on February 18, 19, and 20. (Maggie P. ’22)

Despite this loss, Bozanic’s motivation to teach was not lost. He said that the school saying from St. Francis De Sales’s “Be who you are and be that well’ connected to advice his father had given him to “just be an Andy.”

“My dad has been literally telling me that my entire life, ‘Just be an Andy, don’t try to be something you’re not. Don’t try to do anything that isn’t you,’” he said, “‘and what you are, put your full effort into it.’”

The principle of staying true to yourself taught by Padua and his father was what made him persevere through his grief to keep doing what he is most passionate about: teaching.

“All I could think was my dad wanted me to do what I did well, to be who I was,” he said. “I don’t think he would have wanted anything else; he would have been disappointed that I come back and… not tried to be the same teacher [or] not tried to be as supportive of my students.”

A Teacher

Senior Clare Yeatman, a student of Bozanic’s last year, described his classroom environment as not only supportive but also fun.

“I had him last period on Fridays and I remember that very vividly because I knew there was nowhere else I would rather be on a Friday afternoon during COVID,” she said.

One particular aspect that made his classes enjoyable was the “Question of the Day” activity. Bozanic explained that his reasoning behind this icebreaker was to “form a sense of community” during hybrid learning.

“It was a bonding experience,” he said. “It seemed like we had some good laughs over it. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves.”

Dr. Bozanic engages with students during his U.S History Class. He described his teaching style as performative and engaging. “I think students also need to see their teachers as people,” he said.
(Maggie P. ’22)

Emily Haney, another senior chose to give her jersey to Bozanic as a part of the My Jersey, Your Impact Initiative. She explained that she picked Dr.Bozanic because in his classroom environment, “his students feel comfortable sharing their opinions.” She said the question of the day activity was also “a truly great way to start off class.”

“The fact that Dr. Bozanic takes the time out of his class to check in on everyone and start the class off with a fun, light hearted conversation to get everyone talking and engaged is truly amazing,” Haney said.

Another way Bozanic makes his class more engaging is through his teaching style. He compares his methods to a performance, needing to “interact with the audience” and “get them engaged” with the content through student participation and speaking with a confident, loud voice. He has also taken this comparison literally, bringing instruments into the classroom.

“I’m going to use my personality, my tools, the talents that I’ve worked on over the years, not just in the classroom, but in performance venues and other places to make that happen,” he said.

A Director

Bozanic utilizes his musical performance talents in the theater program as well. Senior Jessie Vavala, a current member of the program, has had Bozanic involved in her acting journey since the seventh grade. Vavala explained that he had volunteered at her middle school to help prepare her for her role as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”

Co-directors Dr. Bozanic and Ms. Deirdre McCarrick address the audience before a performance of “The Little Mermaid.” They thanked the cast for their hard work and hoped the audience enjoyed the show. (Maggie P. ’22)

“He came in and he helped me learn all my songs and how to emote through them,” she said. “Getting older and coming back, especially my senior year with Dr. Bozanic… it’s really cool to see how excited he [still] is about music and performance.”

Vavala said “it’s really a joy” to see his passion for theater grow from a volunteer at her middle school to a co-director at her high school.

“It’s so nice having someone running the program that is passionate about A: the product, but B: my experience within it,” she said. “He very much makes it something that I want to be at and I think that’s a common experience for everyone.”

Yeatman, also a senior producer this year, said that his decision to help fill the theater director vacancy may have even saved the future of the program.

“Having Bozanic be the director this year has been such a blessing,” she said. “I was worried for moments that maybe Padua Theater is done, and then Dr. Bozanic and his infinite wisdom comes in.”

An Inspiration

But what makes Bozanic “truly Andy,” is not the number of activities and classes he is involved in but his ability to inspire others by being true to himself. Seeing Bozanic’s passion and drive for teaching made Haney “want to learn as much as I possibly could.”

“Dr. Bozanic creates an open and non-judgement learning zone,” she said, “one where he makes his students feel welcome and that their voice is heard and respected.”

After seeing the environment Bozanic creates in the classroom, Yeatman considers him a teaching role model.

“I’m actually looking into teaching for a profession,” she said, “and if I can be half the teacher that he is, I will consider myself very successful.”