Louis Kokonis, a math teacher at Alexandria City High School (ACHS), epitomizes dedication. On April 1, 2022, the soft-spoken instructor turned ninety years old, and he has been teaching for 63 years in the school division. When Kokonis hit the milestone of 60 years of teaching, ACPS created an internet movie.
“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 Alexandria City Public Schools’ (ACPS) longest-serving teacher began his career in 1959 at Francis Hammond High School (now Francis C. Hammond Middle School) before moving on to T.C. Williams High School (now ACHS). Over the years, Kokonis has helped thousands of Alexandria students overcome their math fear by teaching algebra, calculus, and geometry. “Teaching students nowadays does not seem much different than it did when I first started teaching. I have had great students over the years.”
“Louis Kokonis has imparted his passion for lifelong learning to his students, many of whom went on to become physicists, engineers, doctors and professors.” the Virginia General Assembly said in a House Joint Resolution No. 727 honoring him in 2019, as he marked six decades of teaching.
Because Kokonis has never married or had children, he considers his pupils to be his family. “I hope that when kids become older, they will always be happy and excited about whatever they are doing and will not become disheartened when things get tough,” he stated. “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 has no plans to retire just yet, stating that he would miss being involved with his pupils and colleagues. If Kokonis, a superb math teacher who enjoys happy-ending movies, ever retires, he plans to contribute in the community, according to Kokonis.