Steven Baker and Nick Mannion
After 26 years of teaching at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, science teacher Michael Keefe has decided to retire. Though he’ll be gone he will not be forgotten, as many students and teachers will always remember his wit, humor, and passion for teaching. “He is such a great guy, I’m definitely going to miss him,” said fellow science teacher Charlie May who has worked with Mr. Keefe for 25 years.
After spending a year each at Central Square and Corcoran, Mr. Keefe came to J-DHS in 1990, and says it's now “my turn” to retire. Mr. Keefe says he wants to spend more time with his family, before he gets too old. Mr. Keefe also says he wants to be more of a yard-working man after he retires, so he looks forward to raking leaves, and doing a lot of planting. After Mr. Keefe retires he plans on an extended stay in Australia with his wife until August. Then, he plans on going to Virginia for a wedding, but this is also where he will spend the rest of his days.
Mr. Keefe says that his favorite part of teaching is “goofing off with students,” and this style has made a mark on many students at J-DHS. “I honestly don't know what I'm going to do without Mr. Keefe,” said sophomore Anthony Ciccone. “He is one of the best teachers I’ve had this year,” said senior Nia Nelson. Mr. Keefe teaches Earth Science for freshman, and Chemistry for juniors. “It kinda sucks that he’s retiring, he has helped so many kids,” said junior Vincenzo Digristina.
Besides the students, Mr. Keefe has impacted many of his colleagues and fellow teachers. Two of Mr. Keefe’s closest colleagues have been Mr. May, and science teacher Rich Adler. All three teachers have been working together in the science department for 25 years. “It's always a blast working with these guys,” said Mr. Keefe. Mr. Adler says there’s not another person at J-DHS who can relate to, and teach students as well as Mr. Keefe does. Mr. May and Mr. Adler both realize that J-DHS will be a lot different next year without Mr. Keefe. ”It won’t be as fun next year,” said Mr. May.
Initially, Mr. Keefe did not plan on going into teaching, when he attended SUNY ESF, majoring in chemistry, land management, and biology. “I have always been a huge science geek, it has always been my dream to do something in science,” said Mr. Keefe. Before teaching, he owned an auto parts store for seven years, which he then sold. A couple months later he was at a party, and someone said to him “every time we are at a party you are always playing with the kids. Why don’t you just study to become a teacher.” So he did. Principal Paul Gasparini also sees his connection to the students. “He’s in this job for the right reasons, and we will miss his passion for the kids and his passion for the classroom.”
Along with the students, and teachers, J-DHS itself has impacted Mr. Keefe in a great way. Though after the last day of the school year he will probably never step foot in, or even see J-DHS again, “this high school will always be in my memory,” said Mr. Keefe. “I hate that I'm never going to see one of my favorite teachers again,” said sophomore Lexie Gambacorto. Mr. Keefe says that J-DHS has made him who he is today, and that there's no other school he would want to go to.