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A Tribute to Mr. Mitchell

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In grateful remembrance of an outstanding teacher who made a difference, we honor the legacy of Mr. Mitchell, whose unwavering commitment to education touched the lives of countless students.

Mr. Mitchell taught biology at West Orange High School for the past 17 years. His contagious passion for teaching Honors Biology was undoubtedly evident in his ability to inspire a love of learning in his students, who were encouraged to study and improve under his guidance. He had an incredible capacity to make his students feel at ease while also challenging them to realize their full potential.

His witty sense of humor was legendary, and his students looked forward to his class every day. Mr. Mitchell’s compassion and kindness were evident in the way he treated his students, and he was always willing to go above and beyond to help them succeed. Many of his students went on to become doctors, scientists, and nurses, a testament to the impact he had on their lives. While his loss is deeply felt, his legacy will live on in the countless students whose lives he touched.

Corbin Raston, a freshman who had the privilege of taking his class, fondly remembers Mr. Mitchell as an incredible, devoted, and caring teacher. “I truly miss his jokes and kind words and the way he would explain everything in simplicity so that everyone felt like they had potential to be successful,” says Corbin, “He wrote my recommendation letter for a college camp, and even when I behaved out of line, he acted in ways of my best interest and I knew that. He was an amazing, quirky, funny, kind teacher.”

Reflecting on her time in Mr. Mitchell’s class, Tyler Watson, a freshman, spoke highly of her former teacher, stating that “Mr. Mitchell absolutely had a passion for his students, not just teaching. He ensured every student is doing okay both academically and emotionally, which really made him stand out to me. Mr. Mitchell was that “one of a kind teacher”, someone very memorable.”

I recently spoke with Nidhi Patel about her experience in Mr. Mitchell’s class. Nidhi shared that “Despite his strict demeanor, he was always looking out for his students’ well-being and encouraged us to excel. He had a genuine desire to see his students thrive academically and personally.”

The passing of Mr. Mitchell has left a void in the school community. His classroom was always filled with laughter, highlighting the welcoming atmosphere where students felt comfortable learning and expressing themselves.

Mr. Mitchell taught a large number of students, and past students would regularly come in to make jokes with him. He would even lock the door, so past students wouldn’t be able to come in; my class thought it was funny when someone would come banging on the doors attempting to talk to him to get out of class. It was clear that he cared deeply about those he taught because he would constantly talk about previous students he had, telling stories and making jokes about foolish things teenagers do.

One of his catchphrases was “Stay in School, Kids,” which he would say anytime someone got the wrong answer. His most memorable catchphrase, and perhaps the most well-known in the school, was “I’ll break it down Sesame Street style.” This catchphrase was a testament to his ability to break down difficult concepts into easily digestible pieces.

His favorite story to tell was about a snowstorm a few years ago that caused the roads to back up from the snow and forced students to sleep over at school that night. Our school was even shown on national television, and he would frequently recount the event, which he referred to as the “Snowpocalypse.”

Mr. Mitchell’s impact on his students went beyond the classroom, as he was a beloved friend to many. His ability to connect with people on a personal level was a testament to his kind and caring nature.

Dr. Peart, a former colleague, and friend of Mr. Mitchell, spoke of his extraordinary qualities as both an educator and a friend. “ I have fond memories of him having dinner at my house in the summer with other colleagues. Always hilarious, he would have us laughing hysterically during dinner. We would talk on the phone for hours about everything and nothing. He was that kind of friend with whom you could talk about and share anything. He was happy to share in the good times and always there in the bad, lending a caring ear and support whenever needed. I think about him all the time and I miss our long talks, and certainly his big bear hugs. There will never be another teacher or friend like him. He is simply irreplaceable; simply the best.”

Ms. Costanza, a former colleague, and friend of Mr. Mitchell, spoke of his reliability and sense of humor, which brought joy to those around him. “Mr. Mitchell was always such a reliable resource for every one of his colleagues. He was loved by many current and former students. He had a very humorous side about him and was always smiling when you saw him in the hallway. Mr. Mitchell would always laugh at me and joke that I was a “rule follower”, and although I am, he was more so than me! Mr. Mitchell will truly be missed by all of his friends and colleagues.”

Ms. Brevard, a colleague, and friend of Mr. Mitchell, spoke of the profound impact he had on her life. “Brad always made me laugh, but when he died that was the first time he made me cry. I miss him very much but I am at peace about his death because I know it was his time to go and he finished all the things that he was supposed to do.” Ms. Brevard’s words show the deep connection that Mr. Mitchell had with his colleagues and the profound impact he had on their lives.

Mr. Mitchell’s unwavering spirit and sense of humor will be deeply missed, but his legacy lives on through the countless lives he touched during his time as a teacher. To break it down Sesame Street style, Mr. Mitchell, we will all miss you.

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