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The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Inspiring Tale of T.E. Hahn

Intense, idiosyncratic, reflective– are three words that can describe Thomas Hahn. He is a remarkable English teacher at North High whose journey through life reads like a captivating novel. He is known to be rather dark and as an educator, author, and musician, he creates a path of inspiration for those fortunate enough to cross his path.

Dr. Hahn’s academic expedition began at St. Joseph’s University during the year 2002, after a high school senior year marked by the tragedy of 9/11. He graduated in 2008. Hahn’s thirst for knowledge led him to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at Fairfield University in 2009, and he recently earned his Ph.D. at St. John’s University, specializing in fiction.

Thomas E. Hahn in 2008 (Credit: T. E Hahn).

His high school years, in contrast to his later academic achievements, were characterized by challenges and a deep passion for music. Hahn was a drummer in a band that achieved recognition across counties and states. He was also recruited by the Marines, but fate had a different plan.

A turning point came during his senior year when he experienced an “academic crisis.” Releasing himself from the constraints of his musical pursuits, he discovered a profound love for literature. As his academic journey went on, he encountered many professors who inspired him to become passionate and dedicated to pursuing literature. This newfound passion drove him into the world of liberal arts, setting the stage for his new journey.

Dr. Hahn’s motivation in his transition from a music-centric life to an academic one was the short story “The Dead,” by James Joyce. This literary masterpiece triggered a deep connection with literature and English, becoming the guiding force for Hahn’s future endeavors. “Any question you have about life and relationships you can find in a book,” said Hahn.

Becoming a teacher was a natural progression for Dr. Hahn, fueled by the belief that a single person could change the course of one’s life. “If someone could convince you to love reading at that age, that’s something you could live with. One person is all it takes,” said Hahn. After exploring various literature courses and creative routes, he chose the MFA route, the route that involves the most creativity, with fiction as his primary focus.

T.E Hahn playing the drums in his early years (Credit: Thomas E. Hahn).

Hahn’s novel, “Open My Eyes,” is a touching exploration of love, loss, and the struggles of adolescence. The story follows Eddie, a young soul navigating the challenges of first love and coping with loss through medication. The novel was awarded a Kirkus Star and labeled as an MFA Book Award Finalist, imprinting its elite status. 

The motivation behind his book stems from a desire to help high school school students facing challenges. Dr. Hahn, who was once not inclined towards reading himself, aims to connect with adolescents and assure them that they are not alone in their struggles.

His inspiration to become a teacher traces back to the profound impact a single teacher had on his life. With a family rooted in education, Dr. Hahn sees teaching as a legacy, a way to change minds and help students navigate the complexities of life.

T.E. Hahn’s novel “Open My Eyes”, published by Running Wild Press in 2019. (Credit: Barnes & Nobles). 

The most rewarding moments for Hahn come annually, witnessing his students achieve their goals. The journey from freshman to graduate is a symphony of success, and Hahn stands as the conductor, hoping to positively influence the lives of those he teaches.

Beyond the classroom and the written word, Dr. Hahn is a skateboarder. Seamlessly blending his passion for literature with a fascinating mode of transportation, Hahn likes to say as people walk he skates, reflecting his unique approach to life.

In the grand narrative of Dr. Hahn’s life, each chapter unfolds with intensity, idiosyncrasy, and reflection, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who have the privilege of learning from this inspirational teacher.

 

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About the Contributor
Nava Sedaghat, Associate Editor
Nava Sedaghat is one of Guide Post’s associate editors. Her in school extracurriculars include being a two year Science Research student, social media director of Athletic Leadership, a member of Pre-Med and Dentistry, and a three sport athlete. In her spare time catch her on a run, starting a new piece of artwork, or hanging out with her friends or family.

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    Vin WinusJan 3, 2024 at 4:41 pm

    Congratulations on a beautifully written profile of a wonderful, talented educator! Having known Thomas personally for many years, I believe that you have accurately given the reader an in depth insight into precisely who he is.
    Vin Winus

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