Homegrown: Seabreeze High School chemistry teacher finds purpose in teaching

Meet Eli Freidus, Seabreeze High School's Teacher of the Year.

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  • | 12:00 p.m. December 24, 2021
Eli Freidus, who is in his 12th year of teaching, is also the coach for the girls' soccer team.
Eli Freidus, who is in his 12th year of teaching, is also the coach for the girls' soccer team.
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Stay positive and embrace change.

If Eli Freidus could share a piece of wisdom with his students, it would be just that. After all, change in inevitable.

In his case, it is also what led him to teaching. About 13 years ago, Freidus said he was in between jobs in a construction career that he didn't enjoy. His mother-in-law was a guidance counselor at the time and she urged him to try teaching. 

"So to fill my time, I took substitute jobs at several schools and fell in love with teaching," Freidus said. "I began my certification process and took my first full time job the next year. I always enjoyed my time in school due to the great teachers I had and it made me feel good to give back to a community that I have always been prideful of."

A local of the area, Freidus attended St. Brendan's Catholic Church through sixth grade before attending then Ormond Beach Junior High School (now known as Ormond Beach Middle School) for seventh to ninth grade.

And now, he teaches chemistry — both pre-AICE and AICE — at his alma matter: Seabreeze High School.

As the school's Teacher of the Year, Freidus said he was honored to be nominated but let like there were so many of his peers who were much more deserving of the recognition. Still, his biggest takeaway from the experience can be summed up in one word: Gratitude.

"I am grateful to have found a career that brings me a sense of purpose every day," said Freidus, who is in his 12th year of teaching. "I am grateful for the students that make my days enjoyable and I am grateful for the colleagues and former teachers I have had that inspire me to work to get better at my job every day."

Freidus is also one of the five finalists for Volusia County School District's 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year. 

When he's not in the classroom, he also coaches the girls' soccer team, and, in previous years has also coached the boys' soccer team. He said his favorite thing about his profession are the students.

"They keep me on my toes and they keep my laughing," Freidus said.


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