Tribute to Teachers: Steve Szoke of Dillard High School inspires students to pursue robotics

Steve Szoke is Dillard High School’s lauded robotics’ instructor and inspires his students to get creative with coding

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Every year, Local 10′s Tribute to Teachers campaign recognizes the best educators in South Florida, with only five honorees selected from hundreds of nominations.

Steve Szoke is Dillard High School’s lauded robotics instructor and inspires his students to get creative with coding.

Szoke has won numerous state and national competitions, a $50,000 grant from Amazon.com, and has provided opportunities for young, tech minds to flourish.

“Szoke is definitely a big cheerleader for all of us on the team, especially the women. He understands that the industry that robotics revolves around is very male-dominated and he wants to foster that environment for women to step up and show what they got,” his student, Ciara Vazquez, said.

For nearly 30 years, teaching has been Szoke’s profession and passion.

“I actually live over an hour away and I have missed two days in a decade of work. That’s how committed I am,” Szoke said.

Lily Goltz, one of Szoke’s former students, nominated him because she thinks he deserves credit for all the great things he does for his students.

“I just think he deserves all the recognition. What he’s done for me and for all the students he interacts with, it’s just amazing and life-changing,” Goltz said.

Szoke is among a select group of South Florida educators receiving recognition from the Tribute to Teachers campaign.

The recognition also comes with a $1,000 gift card from Publix Super Markets.

“I’m looking at this as a pathway for careers for our students. Whatever they do, they need to love it, so it’s a career and not a job,” Szoke said.

Along with teaching at Dillard High School, Szoke has worked closely with an organization in South Africa to establish the first robotics competition training program.

The training program has helped create a robotics team there, with two more planned this year.

The final teacher selected this year will be announced during Friday’s 5 p.m. Local 10 newscast.


About the Author:

Mayte Padron Cordones is an Emmy-award winning journalist and the director of WPLG's Community Relations Department, overseeing the station's outreach initiatives to benefit and strengthen the South Florida community.