On August 24, 2012, we say goodbye to our beloved junior high school biology teacher, Dr. Harold “Doc” Friend from I.S. 25 Queens. A veteran educator for over thirty years, he has been an integral part of many Greek American students’ academic lives including my own. Throughout my life, I have had the distinct honor of being instructed by many good teachers but Doc has made one of the biggest impacts in my life: his lessons were clear, concise and succinct, where the students were able to grasp the difficult science concepts of genetics, biochemistry, reproduction, ecology and human anatomy.
Doc was a very witty person and he blended his humor well in his lessons, thus making them more enjoyable and lively. He also helped his teenage students garner an appreciation for the scientific method of research. He was always passionate about his work, and made himself available to his students outside of the classroom setting via e-mail, and even introduced them to the world of Funbrain.com, an innovative website which helped students enhance and sharpen their literacy, inquiry and scientific skills.
In addition to teaching, one of his biggest passions in life was baseball and he was a huge fan of the New York Yankees, and he was able to convey his love for the sport to the younger generations. Following his retirement from the field of pedagogy, he became an avid sports writer and with several thousand articles to his credit, he wrote about baseball and its history in various well-known and respected online publications.
Finally, Doc was a remarkable human being in conjunction with his teaching excellence. He has been an incomparable role model to me and he inspired many students to follow in his footsteps. He was an individual who exceeded his job description as a teacher and he emerged as a mentor, friend and confidante. He will be missed dearly by myself and my fellow classmates from I.S. 25, as well as anybody who ever had the privilege to be instructed by him and all of the teachers that worked with him.
“Doc Friend was one of those rare personalities that you never forget about. I appreciated the subject of biology so much more being taught by Doc. He was an amazing teacher and will be dearly missed,” stated former I.S. 25 student Gazal Suliman Payman.
Former classmate Joseph Gomez echosed Ms. Suliman Payman’s remarks and stated that “Doc had a great sense of humor and a way of teaching that made my day from the start, since it was my first class.”
May his memory be eternal!