Thursday, February 02, 2023

I wanted to share a few words in memory of one of my beloved teachers, Mr. Stanley Becker, z”l, who passed away recently at the age of 97. Mr. Becker was the assistant principal of general studies during most of my years as a student at Yavneh Academy in Paramus.

He brought so many exciting programs to the school, which were way ahead of his time. He created math sheets using scores and statistics from that week’s NFL games. In a sense, he was doing a type of fantasy football with us before fantasy football was even a thing! Everyone remembered him dressing up as historical figures, and coming around to all the classes to give presentations as that person. One year, he even dressed up as Waldo, and we had to find him!

Mr. Becker loved sports and brought that into the school. Along with the head of physical education, Mr. William Calise, he brought in Family Track Night to the school. Families competed in relay races, with parents and even grandparents participating. Students were able to experience unique events such as the high jump and long jump.

Mr. Becker retired more than 30 years ago, but he remained involved in the school. In 2015, he came back to give his Christopher Columbus presentation to a group of eager 4th graders. When Yavneh celebrated its 75th anniversary back in 2017, he was invited to a filming session where he shared some of his memories. When I was fortunate enough to see the filming schedule, I made sure to schedule my slot immediately before his so that I could reconnect with him. Not only was he eager to hear what I was up to, but he offered to come into my classes. That fall, Mr. Becker came into several of my math classes to share his years or knowledge, teaching math games and activities to the many enthusiastic students. The students learned a lot, and so did I!

Coach Calise told me that Mr. Becker was fond of telling other teachers, “Anytime you’re on the side of the kid, you’re on the right side.” Those of us who attended Yavneh Academy in the 1980s can no doubt share wonderful memories about this dedicated and truly special educator. May his memory be a blessing.

Chaim Sussman
Yavneh Academy, Class of ‘93
Sign up now!