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THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016
The Rockaway Times
REMEMBERING DAVID GREENSPAN
By Joan Diehl
David Greenspan was a
pied-piper of sorts, a peda-
gogical magician, and if you
attended his funeral last week,
you’d swear you were pay-
ing homage to a celebrity or a
prince.
Hundreds
of
mourners
packed West End Temple and,
in addition to the rabbi’s praise
and the beautiful words of his
sisters, he was eulogized in
one way or another by family
members, former classmates,
colleagues and friends who
commented informally on Da-
vid’s goodness, in and out of
the classroom.
David Greenspan began
teaching teaching at PS 114 in
September of 2015, and in a
few months magically trans-
formed the lives of the stu-
dents in his self-contained
bridge class. David Greenspan
knew how to teach in the same
way that birds know how to
fly. He could assess the po-
tential of every student like
a loving sculptor appraises a
slab of marble. He knew that if
he worked hard enough, each
child would approach the de-
gree of perfection that their in-
dividuality allowed. His great
love was the chisel that shaped
the academic lives of these
children into something new
and wonderful. David believed
in them and so they came to
believe in themselves. They
were nurtured by his love, ig-
nited by his passion, and cap-
tivated by his music, and so
they learned to the tune of this
“pied-piper’s” loving guitar.
Mr. Greenspan was their hero,
their Prince Charming, and
their beloved teacher.
Unobserved I watched him
work his magic in the class-
room. I was so proud of David.
We shared a philosophy and a
past. You see, I was one of his
teachers way back when he at-
tended PS 114.
We were all so proud of Da-
vid who fit so perfectly into a
school staffed by teachers and
para-professionals who care
so much, inspire so unforget-
tably, and love so selflessly.
And, I want to thank Mr. Grill
for being the kind of principal
who acknowledges this kind
of love and dedication. He ap-
preciated David and helped to
make the last days of his life
happy and rewarding.
“David had a clear passion
for what he did and ultimately,
each child’s needs were met.
He made an everlasting differ-
ence in the lives he touched.
His students reached for the
stars because their teach-
er said they could,” Principal
Grill remarked.
Visibly moved, Assistant-
Principal Barbara Poggioli-Es-
posito, also shared her feel-
ings, “David Greenspan has
aptly been referred to as ‘the
Child Whisperer’, and in the
brief time that I knew him, I
found this to be so true. He had
the unique ability to see a hint
of light in a child’s eyes and
then stoke the embers to ignite
the flame, gently guiding the
child to a place few believed
was possible. His presence in
our school and in our lives will
be truly missed.”
My dear friend and col-
league Judith Davidson had
this to say, “Most people run
after riches or fame, but few
acquire either. Fewer still run
from both and instead engage
in daily acts of loving kind-
ness. That was David. Thus,
he acquired for himself, the
highest accolade in Judaism,
a “Kesser Shem Tov,” which is
Hebrew for “The Crown Of A
Good Name.”
Mel and Sherry, you can
be so proud of the good son
you created. Most people live
much longer and domuch less.
I pray there’s some comfort
when you consider that some
of the most beautiful and won-
derful things are short-lived
like butterflies, sunsets and
shooting stars. Fireworks burst
in the sky and blossom just for
glorious moments. Like David,
“Nothing gold can stay.”
(Joan Diehl is a writing
teacher at PS 114)