Who says teachers don’t make a lasting impact. Here I am heading into (already in?) my senior years and there are teachers I’ll never forget. Mr. Levine who taught Shakespeare in 12th grade and had us sit in a circle, rather than at desks. There’s Ms. Nissenfeld, who I thought was really pretty. (Hey, I was a high school student.) Mrs. Kappenberg, my third grade teacher, a robust woman who I remember as full of energy. But this post is dedicated to Mr. Goldman, who taught math at Cardozo High School in Bayside, NY and who I had for two years.
Mr. Goldman was a short guy, dark hair, sometimes a little cynical, if I remember correctly. But after all the algebra and calculus has left my brain, the one thing that sticks in my mind is the name Bevo Francis and all I remember about him is that he played basketball. You might wonder how Bevo Francis came up in a math class? Well, Mr. Goldman used to give an extra credit question at the end of each exam. Unbeknownst to me, he liked to do it as a tension breaker, and the extra credit question on the first exam was “Who is Bevo Francis?”. Of course, I didn’t know the answer, and since I was one of those kids who wanted every point to assure that I was college bound, I panicked!!!!! So, thanks, Mr. Goldman.
(P.S. I tried this my first semester as an adjunct professor and it failed miserably.)
If you’re into college basketball trivia, here’s something for you:
1. Bevo Francis set an NCAA record by scoring 113 points in one game in 1954. This record stood until 2012.
2. He had actually scored 116 points in one game in 1953, but that record was overturned because it was against a 2-year college, not a 4-year college.
3. He also set a record for season average points (46.5) and most free throws (37) and field goals (38) during a game.
4. He barnstormed with the Harlem Globetrotters.
5. His given name was Clarence and his nickname derived from his father’s favorite near beer.
So, I dedicate this post to all teachers (your job is not easy) but especially to Mr. Goldman and to Bevo Francis, may your name always be in my mind and conjure up great memories.