Teacher Feature: Mr. D’Ambrosio


Someone once quoted, “Today is my tomorrow! It’s up to me to shape it, to take control and seize every opportunity. The power is in the choices I make each day. I will only worry about the things that I can control.” These words can directly relate to Freehold Boro’s PE/Driver’s Ed teacher, Mr. D’Ambrosio. 

When he was 13 years old, FHS’s gym teacher got his first job at a laundromat cleaning. During college, before he decided to pursue teaching, he was a student for six years and changed his major five times: “I ended up with 160 college credits, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. When I decided to get into education, I was able to complete my degree in two-and-a-half years.”

When going through life, one often seeks guidance and wisdom from others. In this case, Mr. D’Ambrosio’s mentor was Mr. Danko from Clifton High School: “I did my student teaching in Clifton, and then got hired for my first teaching position. Mr. Danko was there for me my first few years in education, teaching me the ropes and how to balance life outside of school and family life, along with being a great teacher himself.”

Teaching is like breathing to Mr. D’Ambrosio; it gives him life and he refuses to spend a single moment without it. When asked if he was always interested in health and physical education, the man replied, “I love sports and I love coaching; it became an easy choice once I settled in on being a teacher. PE was always one of my favorite classes when I was younger.  I knew that I wanted to be in education when I was in college, but I was torn between PE and history as my primary choice. PE just made more sense for me due to coaching.” 

Mr. D’Ambrosio lives by one word: respect. He’s learned that respect goes both ways: “Students will respond better to you if you talk to them in a respectful way, not just in an authoritative way. Be vulnerable at times and let them see you are human and make mistakes, and own up to them.” A great example of this action was depicted during the pandemic, which has brought several difficulties or ease for teachers: “[Teaching during COVID-19] has definitely become more difficult, but there are always challenges. We all– students and teachers– have a lot of other things going on outside of school that we didn’t even think about before due to the pandemic. It has changed all of us, but we will get through it and learn how to overcome it, and we will eventually be better off.”

In his personal life, Mr. D’Ambrosio is a husband and a father to two children, whom he loves spending time with on the beach during summer breaks. The man himself admitted that he once weighed 350 pounds, but after changing his lifestyle, he has lost 140 pounds and been able to achieve accomplishments such as running in the New York City Marathon and completing two 70.3 Ironman Triathlons.

The famous Star Wars quote goes, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” This phrase addresses that there is no such thing as only trying and hoping to reap the rewards of a careless approach– one must have full commitment. This idea is what Mr. D’Ambrosio does at school; he puts 150% effort into teaching, and he hopes that his students will do the same.