Far Rockaway High School's 
Most Memorable Teachers

We all have memories of the years spent at Far Rockaway High School. Many of our lives have been influenced by the teachers we loved and respected. They helped to change us and set us on a path to the future.  Please send me stories and photos of your most memorable teachers and I will post them on this page.

Mr. Tietze was one of those teacher that I've recalled many times since leaving FRHS. I've often talked about his "teaching style" both in and out of the classroom. I remember rumors and legends of him long before I ever entered his classroom. I remember the first day I stepped into his classroom. He went slowly down each row putting an image into his head of each student. Usually asking a question or two. I remember him stopping at my desk, thinking for a moment and saying --- Elia !, Did I have your sister in my class in 1956? Yes, I responded. His comment was, She was a good student, try and do as well as she did.

We all know his excitement (both good and bad) in the classroom. There were two teachers that I made sure I always had my homework done for. His was one and the other was Miss Cloke (math JHS 198). Boy, I dreaded their fury! I remember one day, while watching a football game, the students started to swarm the field. Mr. Tietze shouted once, and everyone fled from the field.

My most impressive memory of him was at graduation though. He "read" each graduates name off to come up and receive diplomas. We were already lined up to approach the stage. I don't think he looked at his Que cards once. For each person, he looked at the face and knew the name. --- Pretty Impressive. He was a pretty tough guy, but one of the greatest teachers I ever had.

Gus Elia, Class of 1963

Hi, my name is Frank Pindyck, Class of 1958 from FRHS.  I thought it might be interesting to bring alumni up to date as regards to one of our most memorable teachers, Mr. Tietze.  When I was a surgical resident in training at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the early 1970s, Mr. Tietze came under my care.  He was terminally ill from prostate cancer.  I took care of him during his hospitalization and we spent much time together reminiscing about his years at FRHS.  He was overwhelmed by the fact that his physician was one of his graduates.  He died on my service happy that a former student was caring for him.  For my part, I cherished the opportunity to not only see and care for Mr. Teitze but to tell him just how important he was to all of us.

Frank Pindyck, Class of 1958

Thanks so much Frank for sharing this with all of us.  Mr. Tietze touched so many lives and as a result of the wonderful memories that graduates have posted on this web site, he will live on our hearts.

Dear Skip,  My contribution to the FRHS Online Alumni Association was not made with any hopes of a tax deduction.  It was made because I treasure my days in the Rockaway Beach of my youth.  I will help in any way I can to make your site-and mine-a success.  I was a very poor boy growing up in the Rockaways.  So poor that I had no suit to wear to graduation in 1959.  I broke down and cried when telling this fact to Mr. Tietze, and although Mr. Tietze was much larger than my 135 pound body, it was Mr. Tietz's suit - loaned to me - that I wore on that graduation day in 1959.  With those kind of memories you can see why I treasure this web site.

Respectfully yours,

Ronald C. Griebell, Class of 1959

Thanks so much Ronald for your wonderful memory.  As a teacher myself for over 30 years, I can only hope that I have touched my students in the same way that Mr. Tietze did and that they remember and honor me as wonderfully as you did him.

...And his first name was not Phillip. That was his middle name. His correct moniker was M. Phillip Tietze. I never knew what the M stood for, but I did run into him in later years while waiting on line with my friends to get into " The Peppermint Lounge " on 45th St in NY.

Eddie Goldstein

100% right. The Philip was the middle name. His first name was Meinhard. Funny you talked about the Peppermint Lounge. It was owned by the father of an old friend of mine. Big act there was Joey Dee and the Starlighters. How it came to be is too long a story for now but will tell it to you one day, real interesting.

Howard Brody

There were two teachers who had an impact on me one being Phil Teitz who got on his hands and knees in front of the school and bowed to me and said thank god your going.  The other teacher was Mrs. Brickman the Art teacher.  Well, what can I say being the Capt. of the stage crew I spent many a day with her behind the curtains and if any of you remember her she was some "nice" teacher.

Gene Krate,  Class of 1951

My favorite teachers were Mr. Metzger who greatly influenced my young deliquent life at that time and of course Mr. Tietze.  They saw good in me that I didn't see .  They helped me and I respected them .  I cried reading about them and I'm an old salt in law enforcement.   God bless those wonderful men.  Another great teacher was Mrs. Jacobson.  They all made a difference in my life.

Mike Gillen,  Class of 1965 - Grand Rapids, MI since 1987.  I lived in Rockaway Park from 1974 to 1987.

Dear Skip, That is none other than Meinhold Philip Teitze. He was a superb History teacher that threw himself headlong into everything he did. If he smelled cigarette smoke in the Girls Room he'd bang on the door and give them thirty seconds notice before flying in. No one ever used a pass in his class. If you got a ten on a weekly quiz, he made you read it aloud.  Any errors discovered in the process went to the finder.

He encouraged me to apply to the Wharton School which was a great choice for me that changed my life. His love of History rubbed off on me and it was transmitted to my son who has a Ph.D. in Poli Sci and to my daughter who has a Ph.D. in History.

He made learning fun and yet, he was a ....tyrant with a twinkle in his eye. He demanded excellence. He chased me down three times:  Once, to demand to know what I was doing on the football team and again to demand to know why I had not done better on the History regents. In 1959, nine years after graduation he chased me down  Beach 25th Street to ask how I was doing. He asked about five or six classmates from memory. He was so happy to hear about our accomplishments.

He made me think, not memorize. He made me stretch, not suffice.  He filled a room almost like a character out of Batman. What a guy!  I suppose that was more than you wanted, but he was the best.


Harry Bernhard
FRHS Clas of 1950

Who could ever forget Philip Tietze? He inspired in me a great appreciation of history. I owe the appreciation of history and the enjoyment of the subject entirely to him. I graduated in 1960 and  he remains one of my favorite teachers from High School. 
Thanks, Alan Stark

This is in the nature of an update on Mr. Seiden, and to some extent is a "small world" story. I was working as an Interim Principal (read that "substitute" Principal) recently and happened to mention to a fifth grade teacher that I had attended FRHS.  He asked if I was there when his uncle was Assistant principal.  Yes, Mr. Seiden!  I was saddened to learn that he died about two years ago.  While I had few contacts with him while attending FRHS, he was very helpful when I returned as a young adult for verification of my name and age for a new birth certificate.  Years later, as an educator myself, I came to appreciate his real role in the school and how  much he contributed to the school environment a positive one.

Selma Tannenbaum (Gandin) Class of January, 1950

I have so enjoyed reading the comments about the teachers.  I was also tortured by Miss Cloke in P.S.39!!  After being in education my whole adult life, I am still not willing to say that her methods were anything but brutal and uninspiring, to say the least.  I learned more resentment than algebra.  Mr. Jagust and Mr Traiger were my favorites.  They were progressive teachers who loved their jobs.  Mr. Herz, the Spanish teacher, was a real character.  He was constantly chewing gum, but he had a good sense of humor. (I became a Spanish major in college).  We were fortunate on many levels to have good teachers.  When I think of it, however, they had
some oretty special students!!  Regards

Susan Koskowitz Sobler,'63

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Lerner. I belive she taught English. I do rememeber that she ran a very tight ship, but  was always open to talk to. I always looked forward to her class. Unfortunately Mrs. Lerner died tradgically before we graduated and English was never the same again.

Madelaine Desinor, Class of '89

Mrs. Bruce taught Steno and Typing for all the Commercial students who wanted deperately to become Secretaries in the 1950's.  I will never forget failing Steno and Typing the first time I took those subjects.  Looking back when I was taking dictation from Doctors and Administrators in various hospitals,  I remembered how she would shake her head and say I would never be the kind of Secretary anyone could depend on.  For 25 years, I took dictation and transcribed and I retired from Healthcare as an Executive Assistant serving  8 Administrators.  I did turn out to be a Secretary that not only was depended upon but was an integral part of the running of the hospital.  She taught me well and I thank her for that.

Vivian Gertzkis (Maskin) Class of 1956

After 36 years I'm still indebted to Leon Eckstein for saving me from the "dreaded  oral speech" presentation.  Finding myself in a panic over this assisgnment, I approached his desk.  Seeing the terror on my face, this teen-aged, introverted student that I was, we quietly struck up a bargain.  Confiding in him that I had won the Art Award in Cardozo (JHS 198),  Mr. Eckstein was soon to be the owner of a charcoal portrait of his sons (aged about 2 & 4 at the time).  I was never called upon to present that speech in Social Studies class and no one was the wiser.   He even paid me $20 for the portrait!   I know it was not the ethical thing for him to do, but his kindness to me was never forgotten.

Cynthia "Cindy" (Lefkof) Feeney

My two favorite business teachers were Flornece  Bressler and Esther Grody. When I graduated in 1955, the 3 R's represented the Royal (typewriter) Road to Romance, not the Risk/Reward Ratio. Fortunately,  I was not one of those students who typed the way she lived--fast, with a lot of mistakes.  I learned that tying isn't bad once you get the hangk ofjit.  (Just kidding!  Both of these women inspired me to become a business educator and I spent 35 years teaching business courses at Island Trees H. S., and Kennedy H. S. in Plainview.

What did I learn from these women?

l.  Proofreading is to revision as dishwashing is to gourmet cooking:  a humdrum, mechanical but very essential chore
2. Do  not end a business call with "ta-ta for now."
3. "Sharing a pad" means borrowing someone's steno pad.
4.  Two-thirds of secretary is SECRET.
5.  Never take ill before or after a company audit.
6.  The words "proprietor," "prerequire" and "perpetuity" can all be typed on a single row of typewriter keys.

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York
Class of 1955

I remember two social studies teachers, Mrs. Sher and Mrs. Forest. Through them, I realized that I wanted to study law. They taught me to love history. They were both excellent teachers. I am now a criminal prosecutor in Miami Florida. I hope that my children will be positively influenced by such fine teachers that I had in Far Rock.

Roberta Goodman Mandel, Class of 1975

Thanks for all of the work that you have put into the Rockaway web page. Taking bio tech from Mickey Cohen (circa 1968) was less like taking a class than getting swept up into a cyclone. His enthusiasms became ours- Mr. Cohen would go down to the bay every morning before class to catch the shrimp or dig the clams- he would get the subjects for the day's investigation. I don't want to contemplate what time the man must have gotten out of bed.

There are super low tides- times when it is possible to see more of the intertidal zone than usual- and Mr. Cohen decided that he would lead an expedition to Rockaway Point on a weekend. I don't think that anyone in the class had a car, so that meant a bus trip to the bridge, then a mile++ walk to the meeting place. It was January 30- a cold January 30. Freezing. Despite all of the trouble, not a single member of the class missed the expedition and some of us brought friends.

I ran into Mr. Cohen a few years ago- he's retired and looks wonderful. He teaches at the New School and has lead at least one trip to the Galapagos Islands and at least one trip around Gateway Park.

Deborah Kapell, Class of 1969

I remember Earl Jagust. I had him as an English/Journalism teacher. What fun. He used to have water gun fights with Mr. Traeger (I think) He made it come alive. I hope I've done the same for my students. The fact that I still remember him 40 years later speaks volumes.

Judi Sokatch-Wandres, Class of 1959

I remember a Mr. Luft who was a swimming coach and yelled a lot. Also Mr. Edelstein, a rotund little man who was very soft spoken, kind and gentle with his students and taught social studies. Mrs. Coleman was an English teacher and I credit for my love of books and theatre. She was very well dressed and talked about her children, who were teenagers then.

Having survived a stroke in 94 it's amazing I can remember anything but attending 54-55 and 56 were interesting. I look forward to the September event.

Rich Bender, Class of 1957

Where to start?

 Mr. Leventer, the older Spanish teacher and I think head of the department when I was there ('59-'62). Very animated. Claimed he would retire when someone got a 100 on the Spanish regents exam. Author of the "money in the bank" theory of taking exams: you were not supposed to think during the first half of any written exam, according to Harry -- just rack up points on the stuff you knew by heart. The second half was devoted to thinking on the hard stuff. The idea was not to miss easy stuff by getting bogged down on the hard stuff. He would impress this on us by yelling "Money in the bank, money in the bank" at the start of every exam.

 Mr. Arneson, who believed we should think for ourselves. Used to give quizzes on the News of the Week in Review that appeared in the Sunday New York Times. Really believed that you should know what was going on in current events. Was the one teacher who really terrorized us; we got the feeling that many of our teachers thought we were special, but not Mr. Arneson! He was the intimidator, not the intimidated. Really got us to question our assumptions, dared to have in-class discussions of politics, made us think critically. Instead of fuzzy "social studies" he really got at history, politics, economics, geography, and made it all relevant. A real gem.

 Mr. Kraus, biology teacher and head of the department. Incredibly dedicated. A really good teacher, very logical and humorous. Joked sometimes about dissecting students. Set up a very effective tutoring program so that the better students could help the weaker ones.

 Chemistry had Mr. Rowan and Mr. Goros. Mr. Rowan was a kindly old man who you got the idea was putting in time until retirement. He kind of had a slow way about him. Was famous for starting out one class with the surprising statement: "The sun is a great golden ball." Also offered a class where we built a vacuum tube radio from a kit. As he remarked the first day of class, "I have to give you all the theory of how radios work so that you won't put it all together in one day."

 Mr. Goros was very, very methodical. We had him for college chemistry, and it was the first time he had taught the course. He was like a robot, and had a very small sense of humor. One day he seemed to repeat almost verbatim a lecture he had given the week before. The conspiracy theorists in the class surmised that the "real" Goros was in the shop that day for an oil change, and this was the programmed replacement Mr. Goros who accidentally replayed an old class. But he did get us to remember pV = nRT. We surprised him one day: the left half of the room yelled out in unison "pV!", whereupon the right half of the room responded "nRT!" Very funny to see his reaction.

 Mr. Richards was our college math teacher. He had been in the trenches a tad too long and had very little patience. What would upset him the most was the incessant chatter that high schoolers are prone to in the classroom. He would lose his temper and say in a "high whisper" -- "Why can't you just be QUIET!" Which would calm the class for at least a few seconds. A good teacher, though. Thought "e to the pi i = -1" was incredibly profound. We did too.

 Mr. Littenberg, a great math teacher. Very kind and patient. Taught us geometry and trig, I think. Maybe some intermediate algebra too.

 By the way, learned my algebra from the infamous Miss Cloke, in ninth grade at JHS 198. Not exactly Far Rockaway High School, but who could ever forget Miss Cloke? Talk about being terrorized! Sure learned my algebra, though. Another strange person from JHS 198 was Miss Rizzo, the typing teacher from Italy who dressed all in black. She worked on my speed and accuracy, always reminding me that it would one day help me get a good civil-service job.

 Back to FRHS. Our closest imitation of a true nerd would have to have been Mr. Lipton, the physics teacher who coached the chess team. He was really a great teacher, loved physics, and knew an awful lot about chess. As opposed to Mr. Goros, who was reputed to have been a tail-gunner during the war, the rumor was the Mr. Lipton had been a conscientious objector, something vaguely suspicious at the time. Viet Nam was a few years off then.

 Mrs. Wexler, the English teacher who ran the MLP program. We had her for junior English, I think. It was her mission to make sure we could write. We had to do a theme in our journals every week. She would collect the journals on Friday and return them, corrected, on Monday. Her dedication was incredible. And, when you compared the May themes to those you wrote in October, the difference was palpable. Thank you, Mrs. Wexler!

 Mr. Kershman, the football coach who we all believed really ran the school. The over-and-under was what year he would drop dead on the sidelines during a shouting match at the referees. He coached baseball and football. Taught me one thing: have a firm handshake.

 I'm no doubt forgetting lots of great teachers, but I've got to get back to work. Great memories. All in all, a fine, fine bunch of people who changed all our lives.

 Joe Marasco, Class of 1962

Mr. Arneson - a devout Republican who was convinced we would continue to have a series of Republican presidents and democratically controlled congresses - just before Kennedy won election and about eight years before he was proven correct.

 Mr. Littenberg - I agree a great math teacher. His son was the back-up quarterback for the football team and about as much like his father as I am like Robert Redford.

 Mr. Richards - famous for his outburst against Ron Rothenberg in which he improvised in the middle: "You started here like a house a'fire and now you're going down ... like a house a"fire."

 I didn't realize that Miss Cloke went on to the junior high school. She was my home room and math teacher in the 7th grade at PS 39. I was terrorized, too, but she showed another side on one occasion. I was returning to school after a bout with rheumatic fever and one rainy day she drove me home (around the block).

Mr. Rowan was famous for not having matches when he wanted to start up the bunsen burner.

I seem to recall that someone actually saw Mr. Goros standing in his room by the window, just looking out during his lunch break, starting the roomer that he worked on solar batteries.

 Herbert Stein, Class of ????

I remember my introduction to the high school band. I wasn't even going to join because I was a lousy clarinet player but Laura Pugatch and Alan Katz talked me into it. The man knicknamed me Floppy because of an old black coat I used to wear.

Mr Ruff told us a story about there being 4 kinds of clarinet players that represent the various sections of concert music. First clarinet, second clarinet, third clarinet and out the door.............I realized then, it was up to me to make my life and experiences the best that I could. I could be playing the clarinet or watching from out the door. This is a story I use today with my own students to illustrate your education and experiences are what you make of it.

 If there were any teachers at all who inspire one to do the best they can, it was Fred Ruff. I think his students idolized him and with good reason............At graduation in 1974, when Alan won the Fred Ruff Girl Watcher's Watch award, there was never so much love felt in one place for one man. God Bless Fred Ruff wherever he is........

 Bev Caplan, Class of 1974

"I've already assigned your final grades for the year in Problems in American Democracy. Those of you with blue eyes will 'earn' 90's, while everyone else will get grades in the 80 percentiles." This introduction to an MLP (Honors program, also refered to as the 'L') class in senior year, 1962-63 (it was actually during the second week of the year) by Mr. "Richie" Silverstein began the most influential education experience in my academic life (and, I would guess, that of many of the other 30 or so students in the class). We had Mr. Silverstein previously for American History, so he was a known quantity -- or better, quality -- a great teacher who strived to focus on the why's and how's of history, rather than the who's, what's and when's. He was also a well-rounded faculty member, coach of the swim team, and advisor to several clubs and activities. I remember also the 'trumbenyik' team of Messrs. Silverstein, Ecstein and Posner (there was also a female teacher among them, whose name I forget) that provided a healthy 'progressive' balance to the more conservative likes of Mr. Arnesen and others. Yet they were all excellent social studies teachers, and certainly these teachers could agree on several issues, such as the value of educational challenger for their students, and the importance of asserting their rights in the great teachers' strike (many of us joined the picket line with them).

However, the experience in that P.A.D. class was exceptional. Although none of us initially perceived the instigation as more than a stimulus to discuss discrimination and government tyranny, Mr. Silverstein 'allowed' (urged, supported and encouraged) us to carry on as several members of the class argued that we had rights to equal treatment and evaluation in the class. Challenging us to provide legal basis for our assertions, we formed a steering committee and several work committees, wrote by-laws and a constitution, and developed a curriculum of our own for the entire year! Within a week, Mr. Silverstein took the fourth seat in the second row, occasionally participated in class just as any other student, and watched with amazement (along with the rest of us in the class) as we completely taught the course (every member of the class led one or more 'units' of study) to ourselves. We drastically diverged from the formal P.A.D. curriculum, gathered tons of source materials (without the internet!), and studied such diverse topics as the influence of polls on political democracy, civil rights, protection of the environment, the impact of science and scientific investigation on individual rights and society, consumer advocacy, the growth of neo-fascism, the value of the United Nations in preseving world peace, and a host of other issues that now seem topical for 1997, prescient for 1963!

We took the same final exams as the other P.A.D. class (and did equally well, despite never having studied many of the standard curriculum topics), gave ourselves final grades in the class (even Mr. Silverstein was impressed by our reasonableness, if not underestimation of 'earned' grades). We worked very hard, learned as much about teaching and presenting as the topics we studied, and realized the quality of a great teacher is not always expressed only from the 'front of the class'. Hats off to you, Richie Silverstein, and we hope to see you at the reunion 'main event'!

 David Swedlow, Class of 1963

Joan Weiss was my home economics teacher but I learned so much more than home economics from her. High School was a turbulent time for me and Mrs. Weiss was able to appreciate who I was and not try to change me. She had the utmost respect for her students and that feeling was mutual. Mrs. Weiss was always able to blend humor with her teaching.

After High School we were in touch for several years before losing track of each other. In 1989 we were very happy to find each other again. Since then we have built a lovely friendship which includes my husband and 5 year old son. Mrs. Weiss is still the delightful person I knew back in high school. She still introduces me to people as her student and I sometimes still call her Mrs. Weiss instead of Joan. She made a huge difference in my life.

 Emily Bayard, Class of 1971

Mr. Metzger stands out in my memory not only as swimming coach but a great math teacher and leader. He came from the streets of Rockaway and there wasn't anything you could pull on him that he hadn't already done himself. Besides his intimidating presence, his encouraging smile and deep understanding of the person inside the student's body, helped me get through the difficult parts of high school and on into the world a better person.

An english teacher in a courderoy suit, Mr Rosenthal was another human being that saw the real person beneath the "smart guy" facade and encouraged me to be a better student and person.

I will be ever grateful to both of these men that influenced my life in very positive ways.

 Ed (eddie) Weis 1961

It is interesting to see the teachers that people remember. I have been an activist in my community for the schools, and I have a daughter who teaches middle school. It seems that the teachers most of us remember are those who demanded performance of us.

I remember my algebra teacher from FRHS--Dr. Augsbury, Ms Gussow for Spanish, Miss Kraft for Latin. When you answered correctly Dr. Augsbury would draw a smiley face (that was long before we were inundated with smiley faces) and if you were wrong, of course the face wore a frown. Miss Gussow was frightening, but to this day, many years later, I still am able to read and write Spanish--

 Barbara Kahn (Pollack), Class of 1946

I really enjoyed having the late Mr Mattheus. He was my American Studies and Economic teacher. He passed away at a young age of 43 and I was only 16 . They took away such a fine teacher at the prime of his life. He really made learning history fun and rewarding.

 Mindy Weissberg - January '78

Of the many teachers I encountered, some stand out in my rapidly failing memory. Mrs. Eagle, the girls swimming teacher, who could stand at the very edge of the pool, and never fall in. Mr Antell, the history teacher, and his oragami- the famous Flying Gezzaris even made it into our 1959 Senior Play. Mrs. Levy, the orchestra teacher, who conducted as I scratched away on my violin during our graduation ceremony at Brooklyn College. Mr. Arnesen, whose enthusiasm was contageous, even though I never was a good history student.

For those of you who attended the reunion - how come some of the teachers don't look any older than we remember them? Is it that we never thought of them as "young", and now they fit our images of them? I know I sure look older than I did 39 years ago. Regards to all who may remember me...

Carole Waxman Cohen, Class of 1959

I remember very well Mr. Georges Derrien, the French teacher. I had him for several classes/years and appreciated his methods. I guess I can thank him for my sucess in the French language. Today I live and work in a French speaking city (Montreal) for a French bank (Banque Nationale de Paris (Canada). Does anyone have any idea of his wherabouts ? I would like to contact him.

 Frank Narciso, Class of 1968 - narciso@netcom.ca

My favorite teacher at FRHS was Carl Field. His classes inspired me to read English Romantic poetry-which changed my philosophy and the way I live my life. Does anyone know anything about his whereabouts today.

Laurie Sandman, Class of 1969 - Laurie_hurwitz@jdedwards.com

Does anyone else remember Mr. Savate? He was my Business Law teacher but at the time I thought he was a bit of a nut case. He used to call his students - "his Jo-Jo's". I remember at graduation I received an award - National Secretaries Association Award - and when I came around the back of the auditorium on the way back to my seat, I ran into Mr. Savate. His comment to me was "I didn't know that one of my Jo-Jo's was getting an award". He made me stop and talk for a while. My parents were wondering what happened to me since it took me so long to get back to my seat! Seriously, Mr. Savate was a good teacher and I really enjoyed his class.

 Sharon Dwyer, Class of '63 - sharon_dwyer@seagram.com

I remember Mrs. Gertrude Gitnig who taught math and navigation. She was crosseyed and always caught me and others talking etc., when we thought she wasn`t looking. Miss craft was the college advisor but was very old and couldn`t help. Mr. Traiger taught an English drama class which had most of the good looking girls and never paid any attention to the few boys in the class. Mr. Okun taught hebrew for three years. I also had two elderly french teachers who taught us the french national anthem which I can sing to this day. Loved FRHS!

 Marc Speiser, Class of 1955

Mr.Ralph Stark was my hero. I sang in both his regular and special choirs. He was a consumate musician and I felt also that he became a friend. I also worked for him in the guidance office. He told me he would never give me more than a 95 in music because no one is perfect and you have to continue to strive to improve.

 I had a special relationship with Jack Kirschman because he knew my Dad who owned a local bakery in town. I was his homeroom secretary for my three years at the school. He never gave me a choice. Once I fell on the last step in the stairwell and winded myself outside the P.E. office. He ran out yelled "Oh my God" phoned my father and told him I had fallen down a whole flight of stairs. My dad arrived in less than 5 minutes. I laughed for several days.

 I loved the entire English department that taught the MLP for the class of "59. They were all great. The only name that leaps to mind was Mrs. Wexler who was champion for the Core 1 and 2 classes. I don't remember the name of the wonderful english teacher who told us he was a "Janeite" and had read "Pride and Prejudice 200 times.

 My years at FRHS were very happy ones.

Marjorie Kalm Manley, Class of 1959

Mr. Tietze was the best teacher Far Rockaway ever had. Very intimidating person, but made the course interesting. I can never forget the time, we had a shelter drill and we had to get underneath the desks. I couldn't get underneath the desk and told him, if he would get underneath the desk it would be a miracle. He just laughed and the class continued to do their work. I returned to New York about 15 yrs. ago and went back to Far Rockaway High. It is a real shame what the school turned out to be. With barb-wire and boarded up windows, it looked like a war zone. I guess you can never go back? But they were still great memories.

Alan Kwoczka, Class of 1961

Hi: Guess I'm one of the "younger" alumni writing and about the only teacher I think you would all know was Mr. Tietz, of course. In our class, he was the same as you all remember him, but not sure if he did the same wacky things. One day, during a History exam, he must have been bored, because he sat on the window sill and started winding the window blind cord around him. Yes, you're right, he actually did such a good job, that we had to untie him. (I don't know how smart that was!!) It's quite a long time now, but we still laugh when we think of that day.

I wonder if anyone out there remembers a Mrs. Craft??? She was a grade advisor (I'm not sure if you still have them). What a wonderful character she was. She was very tiny and kind of bent out of shape, and we were scared out of our wits when we would bump into her on the stairs. However, she did give good advice when we needed it. I see that Marc Speizer of Class 1955 knew of her. Did you ever get to speak with her, Marc??

 Gert Anderson, Class of 1943

By far and away my two favorite teachers at FRHS were Micky Cohen and Earl Jagust. Mr. Cohen had a love for his subject that was absolutely infectious, and well knew how to deal with students who thought they knew better. I had him for both semesters of Honors Biology. These were during the days that the little troll dolls, then called wishniks, were popular. I had one in my bag, and my desk mate revealed that he had a couple of little ones at home. We decided to bring them all to class the next day and set them up on the desk before Mr. Cohen arrived. We did so, and when Mr. Cohen came in he didn't say a word, just began the lesson. Gradually he came closer to our desk, but never broke pace with what he was saying. He finally got to our desk and picked up my doll, still talking. He then stopped to ask the name of my doll, and I told him "Murray" (named after Murray the K), whereupon he asked a question and asked that Murray answer! I told him Murray was shy and, not missing a beat, he suggested that Murray whisper the answer to me and I could tell the rest of the class. Fortunately for both me and Murray, one of us knew the answer!

 Mr. Jagust was a trip and a half. I adored him and went back to visit him every year for about ten years, at which point I think he retired. I had him for Novels and my favorite memory of him was while reading The Octopus, by Frank Norris, and just the fact that I remember the damned title AND author shows you what an impression was made upon me! Anyway, there's one ghastly scene in the book during which one character falls into a vat of wheat being threshed, and he gets threshed along with the golden grains. Mr. Jagust read this passage aloud to us. Along the window wall there was a radiator, and three file cabinets -- 3-drawer, 4-drawer and 5-drawer, I believe. Anyway, you'll recall that Mr. Jagust was also the fencing coach, and so was very agile. While reading, and without so much as panting for breath, he climbed onto a seat near the radiator, and from there onto the desk. Then he jumped onto the radiator itself, and up the three filing cabinets. When he reached the highest cabinet he was nearing the end of the passage. He paused for a moment, blew some dust off the light fixture, and leapt into space shrieking the two final words of the passage -- "The wheat, the wheat!"

 The last time I visited him, probably mid to late 70s (and it was always near the end of the semester) he was struggling to teach the class the difference between colons, semi-colons and periods. After the class left he had a free period and we talked. He said that this was a graduating senior class! And, he said, it was why he was leaving.

Sue Feder, Class of '68

My most memorable teacher from FRHS was Mr. Tietze. He scared almost everyone when he yelled in the hall with that booming voice of his. Mr. Tieze was one of the teachers that accompanied the seniors of the class of 59 on their senior trip to Washington D.C.

One of the stories that stand out in my mind is when Mr. Tietze was doing a room check and found a couple of boys hiding in the shower of one of the girls rooms. I heard he was very angry and screamed a lot. The next day we had gone to an amusement park that had a rollercoaster. Mr. Tieze wanted to go on the rollercoaster, but no one wanted to ride with him in one of the cars, especially me. He then decided to chose a partner. I tried to hide, but he picked me unfortunately. I was so frightened of even going on a rollercoaster, especially riding with Mr. Tietze. But you know what? He was very nice as we got into the car, put his arm around me and away we went. Not so bad afterall.

As I write this, it is almost 40 years ago since we graduated, and yet it seems like yesterday. The class of 59 was oh so very special and my years in high school and living in Far Rockaway are memories that I will always treasure.

Karen Klein Lutzker, Class of 1959

Mr. Ruff, this great man, tried his best to teach me how to play anything and in 4 years of music class he didn't. But to this day I still remember him. He's not the only one I recall but the only teacher I miss and think about as I listen to my daughter (Curtiss School of Music) play piano....

 Joel Norman, Class of 1962

I really only remember a few of my old teachers: they made a large impression on me and my life.

 First and foremost was Mr. Ruff...the man was as near a saint as I can remember. As I had a near zero musical backround, he drove his old Triumph two-seater to my home to give me summer-time private Tuba lessons at only the cost of travel gas....either he saw some potential talent, needed a decent Tuba player in the Band or was a very committed teacher...I think all three! His personal warmth made Band my favorite subject, and allowed some ( limited ), expression of artistic ability in a nerdy kid. God bless him.

 The biggest character of a teacher I remember was Mr. Laventer! He presented himself complete with "Dr. Zorba" - type haircut, a smile and strict attention to detail! I got into his class by accident after missing the opportunity for Senior Latin, and wound up having a fourth year of spanish drilled into my head! I can still get remember him teaching me to click my heels like a spanish caballero! If he only knew that I have lectured in spanish (partly), in Mexico, Columbia, and have addressed a political meeting in the former country in that tongue, he would likely faint dead away! I have him to thank for this skill!

Miss Craft: While I hardly ever met with her as my college advisor, she told me to go to the U. of Pittsbugh., as I could "probably get in there" and also as it was a fairly decent school! This irrevocably altered my life, as it directed me to my profession, met my wife there, etc. Her advice was good!

 Bruce Haskell, Class of 65

I really enjoyed reading the letters form everyone. I found it very interesting how many graduates from diverse years all mention the same teachers, Mr. Arnesen, Mr. Jagust, Mr. Traiger, Mr. Ruf and especially, Mr. Tietze. Mr. Tietze touched so many lives. I hope he realizes what a difference he made in our lives. He was the kindest man and took an interest in all of us. I never had him for History but I worked for him for 3 years and will never forget how horrified I was when, grading papers, he would write BULLSHIT on answers that were well, bullshit. I will never forget his taking all his secretaries to a Broadway show as a thank-you (I saw My Fair Lady).

 Mr Ruf always stays in my mind. I loved to sing and went out for Chorus. He was so sweet as he gently told me that I had a lovely voice but seemed to have a small problem staying on key. I guess my face fell and he said that he would love to have me in the Chorus and would station someone with a strong next to me and that would help me. Judy Binder Flaherty was my singing partner and yes, I still love to sing and still can't carry a tune. Thanks for bringing back memories.

 Harriet Lauper Goldberg 1958

My favorites were Mrs. Barbara Jackson, who gave me the recipe for chocolate chip cookies (thanks to her I hate chocolate anything) Mr. Lee, (who we all thought was chinese, until we walked into biology and found a white man with curly blond hair) and Mrs. Solomon, who taught Public Speaking and a love for shakespeare. Thanks to all of you.

 Rose-Marie Thomas (Lennox), Class of '82

I could write a book about the wonderful and in some cases eccentric teachers I had at FRHS. More than a few made a real difference in my life.

 Mr. Smith and his love of English! I remember having going to Greenwich Village's Paperback Gallery, the granddaddy of book stores selling non-porn softcovers, to buy summer reading preparatory to being in his class. I loved the books but, even more, the discussions that followed. Paperback Gallery was on 6th right opposite where B. Dalton's is now on the corner of 6th Ave. and 8th St.

 Leon Eckstein was one of the finest teachers at FRHS. I was in one of his two Contemporary World Problems classes, the one dealing with the Two Chinas (the other section studied the Two Germanys. How I wished at the time I could have been in both.) He was an exciting classroom presence far less interested in our learning facts as opposed to uncovering and analyzing issues.

 Miss Pepper was my home room teacher, I believe in my first year there. She had been at the school for decades, I think, and was nice but perhaps a little too uncontrolling.

 I studied Journalism with Earl Jagust and still use much of what I learned from him.

 Unintentionally Mr. Stark was the only person who almost derailed me from a then growing and now steadfast love of classical music. For some reason he was assigned to teach music to my class which he accomplished(?) by endlessly playing Tschaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" suite on a record player that used a broken pencil (I think) for a needle. I still have trouble listening to that work (and, anyway, find Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" much superior).

 I worked for Mrs. Davidoff in the Records Office and learned many secrets. I still keep them as secrets. :) One aspect of working for her was the chance to occasionally spot the principal, Miss Ryan, coming and going. Today principals are everywhere and all-involved but then she maintained an almost regal distance from not only students but from her teachers as well. She ruled through Mr. Seiden and the boys' and girls' deans. And believe me, she ruled

 Anyone remember Miss Marton, a fine teacher? Anyone remember Miss Kursar who taught Spanish and had some rather interesting colloquoys with certain male students in class? I also had very high regard for one of the best English teachers from my public education days, Mr. Epstein.

 No one was more important to me than the librarian, Mrs. Jean Joseph. In my first year she was assistant librarian to Miss Frank, a lovely lady who, I suspected, had catalogued the Guttenberg Bible when it first came out. She retired and Mrs. Joseph took over. The library was where I studied, worked on the Library Squad and generally felt more secure than anywhere else at school. Mrs. Joseph, whose daughter, Susan, graduated FRHS a year or two before me (I think) never slowed down and always had time to answer anyone's question about anything.

 Ralph M. Stein ('61)

Maybe this belongs here with FRHS, maybe not. But the 6th grade SP classes that converged on JHS 198 in September 1955 landed in two groups, 7SP-1 and 7SP-2. The SP-2s went to the care and feeding, for two years, of Ms. Barbara Rappaport. She was the first "babe" most of us had ever seen, an astonishing change of venue from the prunes of PS 104. She was bright, beautiful and wise and every boy had a serious crush on her.

 She taught English with verve and humor and made it worth the Green Bus cavalcade and the madness of Cardozo. She became one of the family and as our endocrine glands began to awaken to her flashing dark eyes and full lips, she smiled sweetly as only pretty young women can at moon-eyed boys. Ah, Barbara...

 Richard Herbst 60 or 61, I forget.

The only person I really remember is Mrs. Beale  who she was girls' dean and got me out of classes when I was about to go nuts.  We had a great time playing tennis--I'm still playing tennis and I guess Mrs. Beale didn't do so bad--I'm a doctor!!  Does anyone know if she is still living in Belle Harbor?

Margo (Hirshman) Roca, MD
Class of 1975

Mostly, I remember Pearl Schneider.  Along with all my academic subjects I was fortunate to take Commercial Subjects for Academic Students. Pearl Schneider was my teacher. She was also Dean of Girls.  I remember having worked for her during my free time. She was most influential in preparing me for the corporate life, which I have enjoyed for all these many years.

Harriet Skolnik Beck
Class of '61

Mr jagust was the most animated literature teacher I ever met...I still think of him when I am in the middle of teaching what could be a somewhat boring story..he enters my mind and reminds me to "perform" to my students! I also remeber Mr. Rose teaching Health, and not feeling embarassed..but feeling very mature...and last but not least..Mr. Burns...and his interpretation of Lady Macbeth...great teachers who didnt just teach.. they inspired..

Kathy Strauss, Class of 1977

Ms. Lefcourt -Art
Mr. Storace - English
Ms. Eleazer - English
Mr. Savitt - Business math, recordkeeping & bookkeeping (I've got some good stories about this guy)
Mr. Litty - Phys ed
Mrs. Beatty - English
Mrs. Farber
Mrs. Legee? - sewing
Mr. Seiden - Asst Principal

Ron Gelman, Class of 1965


Everyone writes about Phil Tietze and I agree. One of my favorites was Fred Ruff who taught me how to mangle the trombone and almost single-handedly ruin the H.S. band. He once gave me a 65 in civics because I laughed at a green tie he was wearing that had little scotties on it. I wonder  if anyone remembers a Physics teacher named Mr. Levinson? As far as I was concerned Physics could have been taught in Chinese for all I got out of it. In any event I'll never forget during a test someone ran out of ink and he told them to"write it in blood". I also remember with affection Dorothy Nevins a Grade Advisor,Mrs Levy -music, Mrs Griffin-History and Mr.Ottenstein,Mr.Edelstein and Harry Luft who must have kept the cigar industry profitable. The Last of my favorites was Bill Rassiga who taught Chemistry. He sometimes came to school in his dress Navy whites since was in the Naval Reserve. Of course no one could forget Dr.Moore and Dr. Gussow who I doubt were anyones favorites.

Ken Reiver 51 midyear    Email Address:  chezpaula@optonline.net

My favorite teacher had to be Mr. Dick (Richard) Boyle. He was my shop teacher. The funniest man at FRHS.

Robert Rothenberg, Class of 1973      Email Address:   gr8tdriver@aol.com

Dear Skip,

I read the entire page of Memorable Teachers.  Wonderful comments.  I also remember Mr. Tietze.  I never had a class with him, but remember his booming voice.  The school reverberated with his shouts, "Put out that cigarette!"  And simultaneously, in every bathroom in the school, students were stuffing out their cigarettes, assuming Mr. Tietze was in the same bathroom as they were.

I remember Mr. Okun for Hebrew, who taught very little in the way of spoken or written Hebrew, but lots about Israel, the Balfour Declaration and the Dreyfuss Trial.

The most horrible memory I have of FRHS is of Marietta Ebenfeld (not mentioned on your Teacher page) teaching Algebra.  She taught by the Hitler method, learn or we kill your family!  Stern, nasty, grim.  "You have failed to hand in your homework.  I will be forced to give you a 55."  These are my memories.  She might have been the sweetest person in the world, but this is how I remember her.

Barry Weiss, classes of 1955-1956.
Email Address:    merlin@mcn.org

Dear Skip:

I, too, was afraid of Mr. Teitz, and enjoyed Band class with Fred Ruff.  We used to tease Mr. O'Shea about his starter's pistol.  Mrs. Budin taught French with a definite Yiddish accent.

I wonder if anyone remembers the story of Mr. Jagust and the footprint on the ceiling?   The first time it appeared in his classroom ... no one knew where it came from.   It became such a conversation starter for this English teacher that he took the window pole and used his own shoe to put the shoeprint on the ceiling whenever the school changed his homeroom.   The man was a real character but he was charming.

By far, my favorite was Mrs. Eagle!  Wanna Eagle was the swimming teacher in the 60's and she conducted medical classes.   The counselors were assigned one on one with polio patients, cerebral palsy students, etc.   Mrs. Eagle wanted to prove that the water was healing as well as fun.  It lasted two years and we all learned compassion for our students.  Wanna Eagle was part Native American and she had that old world/back to mother earth wisdom that made her so gentle to be with and interesting to listen to.
I think of her often with love and a smile!

Cathy De Kruyff (Murfitt) Class of 1964       Email Address:  Ewelike@aol.com
Rockaway Point, NY

My favorite teachers were Mr. Ruff and Mr. Schreiger, one for teaching me how to play drums, although I played not very well, but I was very proud of what I accomplished and so was he.  My grandchildren crack up when I tell them I played the drums. They are all musically enclined.   Mr. Schreiber showed my how to love and enjoy Shakespeare. When we had a specific play to read, his way to make us remember was to give all of us parts to speak as if we were in the play.  The class loved it and the fun was heard by all.  It was great.

Marsha Abramowitz (Cohen), Class of 1955   Email Address: Melon403@aol.com

Oh my God - how could no one have mentioned the Theater Teacher, Mrs. Barbara Gittler? I was in her Monologue Troupe and then her Dialogue Troupe. Twice a year, she chose some of us from Theater Class to join her traveling show; we would actually visit other classes and perform our stuff. I remember in the middle of performing my monologue (I was some Dear Abby type columnist or something), a teacher burst into the room and starting yelling at the students for something or other. He completely screwed up my scene but after he left, I just went with it. "What's so bad?" I ad libbed. "You'll fail, not graduate Far Rock, and end up some shmucky columnist giving advice to others, like me!" This got a huge laugh and I went on. I never performed professionally, but Ms. Gittler taught us that life is your big performance and you never know what surprises you'll get, so hey - just go with it. Thank you, Mrs. G

Rhonda Uretzky-Moses, Class of 1974    Email Address: RUretzky@aol.com

I went to school forever and a day, and there is only one educator who shines above all, Fred Ruff.  I was so saddened to hear that he passed away several years ago.  Mr. Ruff taught me how to play the tuba, and taught my to-be-wife, Maralyn, and her brother, Dennis, as well, constituting perhaps the only tuba troika in Far Rock history.  Mr. Ruff found respect and importance in everyone, even when other teachers couldn’t.  That is what set him apart.  I don’t mean to denigrate, but our football coach (1959) was his antithesis, a lesson I brought with me to my position of Professor of Medicine.  Mr. Ruff loved his students, loved his job, and made others feel the same.  He was a true enabler.  I wish I could tell him how much I love him.  I graduated from FRHS in 1960, and my wife Maralyn ne Gartner, who also loved Mr. Ruff very, very much, in 1961.  Her brother, Dennis Gartner, graduated in 1962 or 3 (?or 4).  Dennis is living near Palm Beach, Florida now.  Keep up the great work with this fabulous web site.

Harold Adelman, MD      Email Address: harold.adelman@med.va.gov
University of South Florida Health Sciences Center
Tampa, Florida

I am so sorry to say that for all those who went through Far Rockaway in the late 70's Vincent Smyth has to be one of the most caring, dedicated, patient persons I have ever met. Mr. Smyth ws my Geometry and Algebra teacher. As some of you may know Mr Smyth passed away last year after a struggle with Alzheimer's. This man's memeory will be with me for the rest of my life. He showed his remedial math students the same respect he showed those in the advance classes. He was patient and understanding with all of us, and he was never too busy to sit around after class and chat. To hear of his illness and death made me feel very sad. I will miss him.

Jose F. Sanabria
Class of 1978

The two teachers who stand out most in my mind  after 41 years. are Mr. Levantar, the chairman of foreign languages, and Mr. London.  The former,  my brother Harold  (1960)  and I nicknamed Harry the Horse.  He  had  a strange resemblance to a proud, noble horse.  From him and Mr. London ( my other Spanish teacher who put students in the closet for misbehaving ) I caught a passion for foreign languages.  I went on to be a certified French,  Spanish , and ESL teacher.  My career path  took a  detour from teaching in public high schools to teaching  adults: first at   FCI Otisville, a federal prison, and  presently I'm the supervisor of education at Camp LaGuardia, the largest shelter for homeless men in the country, possibly the world.  I am constantly using the Spanish I learned.  I think of my Spanish teachers from far Rockaway H.S. often , and how my life has  been enriched  by my love of foreign languages.
I would like to add that it is amazing how our high school has changed over the years. The  present teachers should have their salaries doubled. It's listed as the only H.S. from Queens that Bloomberg has put on the dangerous list.  However , Far Rockaway has been written up in the New York Times as the poor mans' Riviera. It has  beauty and potential, and hopefully it will come back as the town we all loved.

Rita Adelman (Zuckerman)  Class of 1962     Email Address: ripzu@citlink.net

In addition to Mr. Ruf (nearly everyone's favorite -- but how many people had the thrill of riding in his little MG with the roof down?), I would like to mention:

Mr. Rauch: Talented musician and excellent teacher. Under him, we had the hottest jazz band around.

Mrs. Klaperman: Her English class of "minority" literature had the best reading list and led to many great and challenging discussions.

Mrs. Garren: Another excellent English teacher and a good friend to those who got to know her.

Miss Streett: Had a unique love of the intellect -- i.e., taught me how to be a nerd and love it.

Mrs. Serby: Underrated math teacher for 10th grade geometry.

Fred Baumgarten '75    Email Address:  fredb58@sbcglobal.net

I was looking for a web site for P.S. 39 in Far Rockaway and I found your site.  At FRHS my favorite teachers were:
1. Mrs Michelson...she taught honor english and took us to a broadway musical that I think was Alan Alda's first show...The Golden Apple
2. Mrs Levy: She traded band and orchestra with Mr. Luft. Although Mr. Luft  was "a great guy" Mrs Levy had it all over him musically.
3. Mr. Silberstein: An english teacher I never had...but....he volunteered to
coach the first FRHS tennis team in 1955.

Roy Lakretz '55    Email Address:  jacknroy@cs.com

Mrs. Klapperman - Turned English into Ethnic Literature, Bigger Thomas, "Go tell it on the Mountain", lots of fun!
Mrs. Evelyn Weiss - Again, turned English into a fun 45 minutes. I remember her singing Charles Dickens to the melody of "The Ballad of John and Yoko"!
Mr. Silverstein - American History became 45 minutes of class discussion and class debate!
Mr. Jagust - turned me on to Hemingway, Vonnegut and Orwell!
Mrs Solomon -  Spanish with a New York Jewish accent. A very sweet lady!
Mrs. Storch - Made Geometry 2 a lot more interesting, has us drawing those solid forms with colored pencils!
Mr. Citrin - Swimming at 8AM, nice guy though!
A good teacher is one of the most important natural resources!
Gene Martin
class of 72

Enjoyed reading the page and remembering the teachers mentioned. Mr. Teitz scared the girls when he would pop into their locker rooms with his voice aboom.  I remember Mr. Ruff's pun in assembly one day with Mr. Seiden (noting their initials) he pointed to Mr. S and himself and said, "FRHS."
But who could forget Mr. Rassiga.  The 55 senior play had a song about him, "My Love is in My Chem Class."  I think Jean Grego sang it.  Also, the best science teacher, Mrs. Neivert (?sp).  She went to Forest Hill High as I recall.  She always called us "people!"
Lois Shevack, Class of 55    Email Address:  LoisLovely37@aol.com

I  remember having some great teachers such as Mrs Sher and Forest and that Mr. Ruff was a great music teacher and very funny.Mr Boyle kept us on our toes in shop and i think of him when i still use shop tools today. I also have fond memories of Mrs Garren and Serby.As i continue i forget how much fun those days were and only hope today's educators can continue to mold and shape young and willing minds.

Mark Schechter 1975       Email Address:  max820@mac.com

Shirley Levy Burton was one of my favorite teachers.  She taught in the Physical Education Department.  Shirley Levy was an amazing role model for women of those days when women were not as prominently encouraged in the area of Physical Education.  As a result of her role model and mentoring I entered Brooklyn College as a Physical Education major.  Although I eventually graduated from Queens College (1958) as an Education Major I'll never forget the close relationship she formed with students and the model she provided for women's future endeavors.
Carol Gross Hittleman   Email Address:  chitt@optonline.net   

Hi Alan,

One one of my periodic visits to the great FRHS website, I just read through all of the teacher reminiscences. They've grown a lot since my last reading!

I am in complete agreement with those wonderful notes about Fred Ruf, Ralph Starke, M.P. Tietze, Earl Jagust, and others. Lots of people besides me have fond memories of those great teachers.

But a couple of my favorites were never mentioned...

Miss Becker (later Mrs. Dressler), Chaiman of the Art department. Maybe it's because I took so many art classes, but I got to know and love her, as a person and as a teacher. She had a great influence in encouraging me to pursue art as a career, which I still do after almost 40 years. Also art teachers, Morris Massarsky and Ed Jablonski (what a great calligrapher he was!) were personal favorites.

Another favorite never mentioned (unless I missed it) was Mr. London. He was my French teacher and I can still remember his corny riddles tying French lessons into humorous puns, like "Why was Joan of Arc the Musical saint? Because she was born in Domremy (pronounced Do-Re-Mi)". He made the classes fun, or at least, I thought so.

Besides the teachers, Mrs. Joseph, the librarian, was mentioned by some... another that I have fond memories of. But does anyone besides me remember Max Rifkin and Pauline Light from the G.O. Store?

Oh well, enough tripping down memory lane for now.

Hope all is well with you.

Andy Hertz
Class of 1962

Dear Andy,

Thanks for your memories.  I too remember Mr. London and some of his humorous puns.  He actually gave credit on his tests if you got them right.  The one I remember is;

Identify the meaning of the following - lama, llama, lllama.  (I'll give you or anyone else who cares to solve it, some time to answer before I post Mr. London's corny answer!)

Thanks for jogging  my memory as I am sure that many others will also relate.

Take care.

Sorry fellow FRHS graduates, my only memory of Mr. Tietze was not favorable. Although I never had the *honor* of being in any of his classes, his reputation was well known throughout the school. Merely minding my own business and on the way to my next class on the third floor, I suddenly heard this atomic boom of a voice bellowing, *you ! " the entire hallway took on a morgue-like silence and all appeared to be in a temporary state of suspended animation. No one dared move. Upon turning my head I noticed this very large and menacing hand rapidly approaching my right shoulder, as if to arrest a desperately running rabbit. Apparently, he did not appreciate my long hair, nor did he approve of my late 1960's choice of apparel... after a lethal round of "whom do you think you are?" and a varied slew of other loud and unintelligible insults and degradations, I calmly turned to him and said, "you're hurting my shoulder, should I proceed to the nurse's or principal's office first? The hallway was still mummified and encapsulated with horror ..(Mr. Tietze verses the vociferous civil liberties student) he then paused, gave me a menacing glare, which would most certainly pierce anyone's soul, and said, in a somewhat more muted tone, "Get to class"........to which I replied, "That's exactly what I was doing". Incident being over and "resolved", the hallway refilled with the sunny sound of of my fellow classmates and a more normal decorum of FRHS......life went on..........

Mark Lindenbaum - Always proud to be of the Class of "67    Email Address:  Mark1192@aol.com

My most memorable teacher was and still is Mrs. McCauley , she left the school but she was wonderful, if you read this Mrs. McCauley post back I want to know how you doing.

Stephanie Abreu    Email Address:  farrockprincess215@msn.com  

I just stumbled on your website & saw these "favorite teacher memories."  By far, one of the best was Earl Jagust, whom I had for novels in my senior year.  He was the most enthusiastic & learned english teacher in FRHS.  Clockwork Orange, Painted Bird, Catch-22 … all controversial… & the discussions we had in class were fabulous, not to mention though provoking.  He was the reason I majored in English in college.  Also, Mrs. Gittler for Theater (monologue troupe, as well) & Mr. Salzman for Public Speaking.  My "how to" speech was on origami (original) but I made some crack about folding a "co-op" as compared to a mansion & he thought it was hysterical.  Anyway, it was an interesting HS experience.

Janet Michael Drantch   Class of 1975     Email Address:  janet@milbin.com

I had the great fortune of coming under the tutelage of Jack Kershman when I played football at FRHS FROM 1953 TO 1955. Mr. Kershman [COACH] did teach football, but we ALL learned a lesson from the experience that would serve us for the rest of our lives. I learned to be 1) a team player, and 2) to be a responsible man, and, most important of all, 3) play through the pain. I learned that life hands you MANY obstacles, and you can choose to shy away and cower, or you can face the problem, deal with the negative, and come out the other side and go on living, I guess what I am saying is that I would have given up a long time ago if it weren’t for the valuable lesson the coach taught me in the fifties. I would have been gone a long time ago if I wasn’t exposed to number 3. I told Jake Miller at the reunion that he (who was on my team in ’53-‘55) now carries the responsibility to instill these and other traits in today’s students. There’s a LOT MORE than learning the sport going on. They are learning most valuable life lessons, and the sport is secondary. THANK YOU, COACH KERSHMAN!!!!!!

ED HELLENBRAND   Class of 1955     702 893-0900

I wanted to add a name to the "Most Memorable Teachers" section.   I think that Arthur Traiger, without a doubt, should be listed in the top ten if not the top three.

He clearly loved his subject, was so gifted at imparting it and related segments such as drama, journalism, creative writing all in an interesting, unique and utterly enchanting way. He seemed to enjoy teaching as much as we enjoyed learning. I always felt he brought out the best in me and in all of us.

Because of his influence and guidance I majored in English in college, developed a talent for technical writing which I applied in my work with the New York State Department of Education and the NY Board of Regents and, ultimately in retirement, became a freelance editor and technical writer for several publishers.

He was the best and so was Far Rockaway High School.

Thanks for including this in your details.

Best regards,

Judy Eisner, nee Shulman, FRHS '62   Email Address:  jubillant@verizon.net

Ms Gussow was my favorite teacher, although I did fear her! She had "my number" right off the top. I was quite happy to "fudge" and "jive" and breeze through the regular task lessons due to the fact that I was already a Spanish speaker. I had the good fortune to have been taught Castilian Spanish by another Master Teacher, Casilda Lourido de Muniz, my maternal grandmother and I was fluent in reading and writing in the Spanish language. Much to my dismay, Ms Gussow gave me special and more advanced Spanish assignments such as reading Garcia Lorca, current events, etc. Albeit she was quite imposing, and commanded one's complete attention when she taught, she was also generous and kind beneath the crusty exterior. A master at teaching and etching into your brain Spanish verbs, sentence structure and conversational Spanish. Plus, I loved her accent! She was an enormous influence in my life, and I am forever indebted to her for her guidance and dedication to care enough and not let me "just slide" and finely hone my command of the language. I am presently the Bilingual Spanish Interpreter/Interpreter Coordinator for the Kings County District Attorney's Office.

Millie Tirado FRHS Class of 1958   Email Address:  Lourido@aol.com

Of all the teachers I encountered during my years at Far Rockaway (61-64), the two that will remain with me forever are Pearl Schneider and Alice Nierenberg who were the Dean of Girls during this time. High school was an extremely rough time for me and it was mainly because of the support and guidance I received from these two wonderful teachers that I was able to graduate on time. I often wonder what road I would have gone down if it were not for these two. I really have to credit them with giving me the courage to go on to work, marry and raise a family. Many years later in 1983, I made the decision to go back to school and get my college degree, something I could not do just after high school. Not only did I graduate, but I graduated with the highest of honors - summa cum laude and phi beta kappa. This too, I credit with the long ago support I received from these two women.

Debra (Chocky) Zwilling, Class of 1964     Email Address:  Dzwilling@trump4.com

One letter mentions Mrs. Craft. She was scary but learning Latin from her gave me a love of language that has remained with me to this day.  The many tributes to Mr. Teitz reminded me of the time he shouted ,"If you do that once more I'm going to swoon." Well , he lay his full six feet plus on the floor and "swooned" The story in those days was that his mother's name was Ophelia. That was considered pretty racy .  At the top of my list is Milton Zizowitz. He was advisor for the publications and the best English teacher I ever had. He was fun and he was brilliant.

Terie Isaacs Gelberg. "42     Email Address:  Tgel2000@aol.com  

I can say without hesitation that the most admired and influential teacher in my life was Mr. Vincent Smyth.  He was a truly gifted teacher that enjoys teaching and really cares for his students. I am so sad to hear that he is no longer with us. My only regret is that I never got to tell him how much I appreciated what he did for me.

Garth Elliott, Class of 82   Email Address:  elliottga@aol.com

Mr Tietz and Mr Jagust were fabulous teacher. I had Miss Cloke, with her metal ruler hitting desks, in PS 39. The worst person at FRHS, was Francine Newman, a supposed guidance counselor. When I said that I wanted to become a Registered Nurse, she told me I'd never make it and find something else to do with my life. No suggestions. My mom and I ignored her. Forty two years later, I'm a Nursing Supervisor and still working.
When Mr Seiden was dying, he was under my care. We talked in the middle of the night about FRHS and other subjects. He told me that I was a very knowledgeable, caring and compassionate nurse.  I told him about Miss Newman and he shook his head. His comments have stayed with me.

Rorrie Lutrin Schwartz R.N. Class of 1962    Email Address:  RORIJ244@aol.com

P.S. Herbert Stein - You were in my class from PS 39 and in HS


I remember Mr. Tietze very well. His booming voice echoed all over the building. But we all knew he was a sheep in wolf's clothing. Yes we feared his castigations, but we knew there was a lot of concern for everyone he yelled at. I never had him as a teacher, and thanked my lucky stars for that.

I also recall Mr. Traiger very fondly. He really got me started in English and literature. He had a way of making everything interesting and his inspiration carried me through lit classes at Cornell.

I also remember Mr. Levinson. I took physics instead of biology (special permission) as a sophomore because I didn't want to cut up a frog, so I was the youngest student in his class. I recall how awestruck I was to learn about atomic energy and how it worked, thanks to his patient and insightful presentations. That was the dawn of the atomic age (1949), and so it was all pretty exciting stuff.

But believe it or not, the class that proved to most valuable to me throughout my life was Touch Typing! I took it on a whim because I had an opening in my schedule. And over the years in military administration, as a writer, and even now as I tap this out on my computer, it is so gratifying - especially when I see old videos of famous writers like Hemingway painfully writing long tomes with two fingers.


Len Kasten (formerly Kastenbaum)  Class of 1951   Email Address:  lenkast@msn.com

I would have to say without a doubt Mr. Richard Boyle & Mr. Eddie Eagar were my favorite teachers.  They were straight shooters & told you exactly what they thought without any fear of political correctness. When I graduated I often visited them to get their opinion on my working career. Today I work for a construction company.  Whenever I walk through the shop I think of the countless hours I spent writing the safety notes that they had me write class after class & year after year. To their credit whenever I see a creeper laying flat on the floor, I pick it up & lean it up against the wall so that nobody will trip & fall.

Howard Tompkin, Class of 1975

I can't get over your fantastic website compared to my husband's Forest Hills one. He lived in a fancier neighborhood but our website is far superior!!!! Great job guys!!!  Any way - I live in Mass. and one day I recognized my "old " Geometry teacher-Miss Denman - However she wasn't that old because her daughter was babysitting for my children and I seemed to have caught up to her. She is living in Mass., taught Math for some years and then went into the business world. I remember Mr. Leventer who always would announce the student with the 100 on the test and no one could beat her since she had a photographic memory. That 's ok because I still became a Spanish Teacher and fondly remember Mr. Hertz with his bottle of YooHoo on his desk . I loved Mr. Ruff and am sorry to hear of his passing. I played saxophone in the band with him.

Robin Drucker Block    Email Address:  rblock49@comcast.net

Leon Eckstein changed my life. He was my philosophy teacher in 1975. He empowered me to be the person I was to become. He made me really think. He taught us about careful, critical and unbiased observation. In his class students not only learned "book" lessons, we learned the real lessons of life, which included compassionate listening. I remember clearly how he spoke about his wife and how he loved her so dearly. I have wondered about him so many times and have thanked him, in my heart, thousands of times for the love he demonstrated toward his fellow human.

Marina Zuchowski (Callaghan) Class of 1975   Email Address:  Marina08@aol.com

The teacher I remember most was Mr. Koneman, who taught American literature. We read so many wonderful books, by Theodore Dreiser, Edith Warton, Willa Cather,and many other American authors who brought American history to life in every part of the US. I did volunteer work in his office, and remember him as kind and friendly as well as a fine teacher. At one of our reunions, one that was for graduates from 5 consecutive classes, he came up to me and remembered me by name, when almost none of my classmates did.

I also have a memory of Mr. Teitze that I'd like to share, although I was never in his class. Our graduating class, 1959, went on a 4 day graduation trip to Washington, DC. Most of us were there to have a good time exploring the city and getting away for a special adventure, but there was a group of kids, from Belle Harbor as I remember it, who came with suitcases full of booze. My mother, who was the PTA president, and Mr. Teitze were the chaperones and were up all night, with kids getting sick in their rooms, girls sneaking out in the early mornings with people they met at the hotel. I remember them sort of laughing about it, but they were shocked and exhausted, and there was never a class trip like that again.

All in all, FRHS was a terrific place in those years, and we were very lucky to be there.

Elle Schorr (Elsa Kanley), Class of "59   Email Address:  elleschorr@bellsouth.net

Hi Skip,

Thanks for the effort you put into the sight. Living in Montreal, I feel a little closer to home.  I am trying to locate a former English teacher, Barbara Gittler. She was around in the 1970s and was also instrumental in organizing all the Sing performances.  I missed her address in Petach Tikva, Israel.  She now goes by the name, Bracha Gilon. I travel to Israel often and would love to look her up.  Thanks.

Sandy Blaukopf Kogut, Class of 1973    Email Address:  kogut@aei.ca

I was delighted to read how many students had a lasting admiration for FRHS teachers. It amazed me to see how many remembered and admired that tyrant Mr. Tietze, who I absolutely adored. I was in his history classes during the 1948 elections, and while we were diametrically opposed politically, he was an arch conservative and I a progressive supporter of Henry Wallace, he always sought my views, enjoyed the dialogue and respected my courage to speak out.

It is also encouraging to see so much remaining remembrances of Mr. Stark. Ray Stark was a gifted choral director, and it still amazes me to think that such a talentwas available to teach high school music and direct our chorus.

I suppose because I am a bit older than so many of the posters, I can still recall the very brilliant Dr. Blau, a Phd. in philosophy and a leader of the Ethical Culture Society, teaching high school English, imagine. There was a wonderful old letch who taught Biology, of course; but he was more prone to hit on the young teachers than the students, Mr.Selsen (?) I think. And yes, Mr. Levinson teaching physics had the knack of presenting his discipline with great clarity. My home room teacher, Charlotte Lattman was a great math teacher, who desperately wanted to teach English, and who eventually got her wish, to the great loss of the math department. And yes Ms Davidoff in the office who taught me to work the switchboard, which eventually got me my first job as I worked my way through Brooklyn College. Miss Ryan, and her henchman Mr. Seiden, ruled with fear and terror, techniques that I would hope have been banished from school administrations.

Leah Margulies Roland, Class of 1948    Email address:  l_droland@mac.com

To all my former students,

I left Far Rockaway HS in 1973 to move to Israel, and I have been very happily living in Israel since then. We changed our family name, as you can see. Gilor means 'joy' and 'light' and we thought it was an appropriate name. I was very touched to see that my former students want to get in touch with me, so here's my email address: Barbara@gilor.com

With fond memories,

Barbara Gilor    Email Address:  Barbara@gilor.com

Hello Skip,

I graduated in 1979 and had many great teachers in my 4 years at Far Rockaway H. S., the 3 that stand out the most are #3 Coach Miller, I was on his track team and he taught me values of how to be a team player and its not all about you, I had to make a very hard decision and quit the team due to it interfering with my ice hockey schedule, #2 He was the boys dean, Dean Hermann, his life was cut very short due to a freak accident in late 1979 or 1980, he was a very understanding man and properly was a big reason why I did graduated, I was saddened that day and still have the newspaper article from the wave in my yearbook, a great man who's life was taken way to early, and # 1 one of my science teachers, Nick Colletto he taught emergency medical tech. and anat and phys. he led me to a career in working with the EMS field, I started in N. Y. and have just retired from the field after almost 27 years in this very hard career, he always took the time with each student, I wish I could get in touch with theses two teachers and say thank you, they taught me more then just class work, they taught me about life, to Mr Nick Colletto, thank you for being there for that extra help at times, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have had such a great career.

Rocco Nasso, Class of 1979     Email Address:  ashnroc@aol.com

Dear Skip,

Harry Bernhard, a classmate of mine, who also graduated in 1950 described Meinhold Philip Teitze as well as anyone could.  He was at the top of his "game" during our years at Far Rockaway.  He was in charge of the "guards" and I was captain of the guards, so he was my "boss."   We had to check for passes if you were in the hallway during class; keep you from ogling the girls climbing the stairs coming back from a gym class as some started to undress; or to stay in the boys gym until the bell rang enabling you to go to the lunch room. He was something else.

He encouraged me while others at Far Rockaway did not think much of my brain power. I believe he instilled enough confidence in me so I could challenge the world and do very well.

Perhaps his greatest impact was to make his students think.


Dan Brier   FRHS Class of 1950     Email Address:  LewisBrier@aol.com

Hi Skip,

The teacher who stands out most in my elementary school education at P.S. 38 was Mrs. Murphey. She was a severe and sour presence in long black dresses and black lace-up "old lady" shoes.

One day, while we and the other 8th grade were lined up in the hall and she was yelling at us for something, her false teeth fell out of her mouth and onto the floor. We were so afraid of her that not one of the 50-odd students standing there dared to even crack a smile!

And yet, to this day, 53 years later, I can still diagram a sentence the way she taught me.

Pearl "Penny" Rosenberg   Email address:  pearlrosenberg@nc.rr.com

Mr. Jagust is definitely one of the most unforgettable people that I have ever known.

Last November 8, 2008, I had the privilege and joyous experience of visiting with my very favorite teacher, Mr. Earl Jagust, who was honored at the fiftieth reunion of the Far Rockaway High School class of 1958.

There are a few people who come into our lives and definitely leave their imprints on us. Mr. Jagust was such a person for me. The official subjects he taught were English and Journalism. What I experienced most was that he taught Joy. It is easy to learn anything when you are laughing; and as I recall, laughing was what we did most.

Each day that I walked toward the class room at the far end of the hall on the west side of the third floor, I would say to myself, "I wonder what he is going to come up with today". He had this irreverence about rule structure as well as a real appreciation of his relationship with his students.

Shakespeare, up until that point, was incomprehensible to me, but not when you have a teacher acting out the parts and bellowing out the words while standing on the top of his desk, All of the sudden I got it, and I started going to Shakespearean plays. Occasionally I have wondered if Acting was perhaps Mr. Jagust's first career choice. If it ever was, then from the point of view as his student, selfishly, I am so grateful that he chose Teaching.

In my later years I needed to write press releases for issues that I was involved in regarding the environment and also exploitation of senior and disabled citizens. I simply drew upon those six magic words that I heard in my head from his Journalism class so long ago; who, what, when, where, why and how.

The one thing you never could possibly do in Mr. Jagust's class was sleep and that was because you never wanted to miss some antic or comment that would break you up with laughter. He was a master at keeping our attention by simply doing what he did naturally, he would create a warm and joyous atmosphere.

One day he found me in a very distressed state. I revealed to him that I couldn't seem to achieve the grades that I sought, regardless of the time and effort that I put into preparation. That situation was being caused by my very slow reading skills. Though this fact about my reading skills got recognition in grade school, in high school it simply got ignored and penalized. The next time I saw Mr. Jagust he had the name and address of a special class that I could attend on Saturday mornings in the hopes of correcting the problem.

At the reunion, his former students couldn't wait to run over to him and say "Mr. Jagust do you remember me. My name is............" Does any one of us realize that the last time he saw us we were the age that our grandchildren are currently; and we are now two years away from turning seventy. Mr. Jagust must have had thousands of students since he saw us last. Still, he greeted each one with a smile of surprise and joy to see them. When I overheard him tell the other honored teacher, Mr. Harry Colomby, his frustration of not really remembering all the students, I couldn't help but expressing to him that the point of him being asked to come to our reunion was not that he would remember everyone there but that everyone there would never forget him.

Now that both of us are old enough to be retired and we are peers of the senior citizen ranks, he asked me to call him by his first name.

In my spirit's eye I can still see myself at seventeen, walking to school and arriving at the corner of Bay 25th street and Cornaga Avenue, pausing to see Mr. Jagust's VW Bug crossing that intersection, then proceeding to drive half way down the block of Cornaga Avenue, stopping when he was lined up with the steps of the school, then making a U turn into a prime parking spot on the school side of the street. As he got out of the Bug and entered the building, I would think to myself, "let the joy and the laughter begin".

Helaine Clark otterlyrs@aol.com

Hi Skip, I remember having Mr. Duffy for high school English at Far Rockaway High School. Of all my teachers, he is the only one who left an indelible memory. I often think of him when I, myself is teaching Shakespeare. He was tough, very tough as an educator. He always inspired respect, and a love of what he was doing.  I first learned of this site from a new alumni friend in Atlantic City last night. I couldn't wait to go on. I finally have found something from my past that I can relate to.

Sheryll Bernstein Levine '64    Email Address:  littlebabytulip2@verizon.net

Hi Skip......My name is Lois (Baraban) Todd. My most memorable teacher in FRHS was Mrs. Rosenman who taught Biology in the mid to late 40's. She was instrumental in keeping me in school because she made the class so very interesting. She also taught me how to tell time when I was a little girl. She had a son, Robert, who went to PS 39, the grammar school that we both attended in Far Rockaway. I went to a birthday party at his house one day and his mother (the teacher that she was) taught me an easy way to tell time. I shall never forget her.

Lois (Baraban) Todd, Boca Raton, FL     Email Address: babyloie1@aol.com 


Hi Skip,

Just read some info on the website about Mr. Duffy, one of the "scariest", but most effective teachers any of us Rockaway kids ever had. While teaching Homer's "The Oddysey", he demonstrated the length of the wingspan of an albatross by drawing a chalk line across the entire front black board from left to right. Sometimes he'd launch into a dissertation on his favorite subject, stereo, and how it works. He also predicted that someday we'd all receive TV signals from a cable and we'd have to pay for this service. We thought he was nuts. Where is this incredible teacher now?


Rick (Richie) Berger, Class of '63

Hi. I wanted to be sure that other teachers are posted as being remarkable to someone. Mrs. Wolk was a compassionate math teacher who never gave up on building your comprehension and pushing you beyond your limits. Mr. Teitelbaum (science) loved what he did despite not being as effective with communicating it. Mr. Reynolds (history) was generally well-liked by students and was often someone to talk to. Mrs. Ferguson (history) was strict but loved what she did as well. Each teacher brings something wonderful to the table and the more students sample the more what is offered is appreciated. Thanks to most of those who made high school bearable.

Cheryl :-)

My award for the most boring subject and teacher goes to the economics class of Mr. Bernard sage. A caring and dedicated instructor with a good heart and positive intentions, he looked like Elmer Fudd disguised as Lyndon Johnson. Spending most of the period either pulling up his constantly dropping trousers or battling a major sinus condition with an extremely soggy handkerchief, he periodically spouted statistics and rather unrelated tidbits of information vaguely applicable to the subject at hand. Occasionally, a few words would be scrawled on the blackboard with the most grating ear-piercing squeaks that the human ear could possibly endure. His lesson plan had very little to do with the textbook or with his bi-monthly exams.

Frankly, I did not have the slightest notion what was to be assimilated, how or why and spent half the period studying the remaining time left on the electric clock or thinking that "there's something going on here.....but it's not exactly clear."  After the first few multiple choice head-scratching exams, he approached me with the surprising news that I had the best grades in the class and that he was turning over the grading of all of the test scores to me because he was too "busy" to get involved. Since I was on the library squad, i could complete them in that period and return them on the next day. I completed and returned them after the period was over. (no liabilities needed here).

At the end of a very, very long year, my final grade was a 91.  I recall, as if it were only yesterday, staring at this number and thinking that it must have been an error. After 42 years of telling no one, I personally must admit that I did not deserve it.........an 80 would have been fine. Still proud to be of the graduating class of 1967.

Mark Lindenbaum     Email Address:  Mark1192@aol.com 

Hello All

I had Mr. Duffy in 9th grade from 1960-1961 at JHS 198. He was one tough teacher that probably should have been teaching at High School level at a minimum. I learned so much from him. I especially remember having a report to do that required several trips into NYC to the NY Public library to do research.

Richard Markowitz FRHS Class of 1964     Email Address:  rmarkow1@optonline.net

I remember Nick Colleto, he taught natomy and phys, along with a strange subject (at the time).  I learned so much from this man, he was always there for you. Because of this man i pursued a career as an E M T and went on for that and became a paramedic, he was an idol to anyone that learned under him.  I went on to a 26 year career in the field of EMS.  I'll never forget you Mr. Colleto.   I just want to say thank you for the year I spent in your class, you made the class a lot of fun.  I'm proud to say you were my friend and idol.. thanks for turning me into a man.   I'll never forget you.  From the class of 1979 i would like to say thank you.



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