Goodbye to a Friend and Fellow History Teacher

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Today I learned the sad news that my friend and fellow history teacher, Steve Mirabella, died following a long struggle with cancer.  Steve taught history in our Middle School and was incredibly passionate about both his subject and his students.  He remained in the classroom through much of his chemotherapy and stopped by school to check on his students and colleagues even as recently as two weeks ago.  Steve did not avoid discussing his condition with his students.  I like to think that the way Steve handled his illness served to remind his students that the qualities of courage and grace are not to be found only in their history texts.  This years Middle School Teaching Award went to Steve and the citation reads as follows:

In the words of those who know firsthand the true measure of this
master teacher, his students comment that, 'he keeps history
interesting, he knows how to use humor in just the right way, he always
seems really happy, he cares about how I am doing – he helps me when I
am struggling, he asks me to think deeper than I have done before, and
his love of history rubs off on me.' Whether dealing with an audacious
or anxious Middle School student, he does so skillfully and with
compassion and insight. Through the Renaissance project – a defining
event in the life of a sixth grader – he sets high expectations for his
students, makes history relevant, and asks them to explore a historical
topic in depth. He's a passionate historian, an accomplished artist, a
talented writer, and his colleagues, who are proud to be part of his
'family,' value his friendship and admire his strength of character in
the face of adversity. With deep respect, appreciation, and affection,
the Middle School Teaching Award is presented to Stephen Mirabella.

The St. Anne's – Belfield School family has lost a good man.  My thoughts are with his family and friends. 

9 comments… add one

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for his family, colleagues, and students.

  • Kevin Levin Jun 4, 2008

    Thanks for your kind words. I hope you find some time to relax this summer. Don’t spend it all in the archives.

  • Andrew Duppstadt Jun 4, 2008

    We should all hope that our kids have teachers like your friend. That citation was amazing and obviously well-deserved. I wish his family and the school family all the best in this difficult time.

  • acwresearcher Jun 4, 2008

    Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Would that we can all be as great a teacher as Stephen’s students and colleagues have recognized him to be.

  • Kevin Levin Jun 5, 2008

    Thanks again. I think the citation sums it up nicely.

  • Solange De Santis Jun 16, 2008

    My brother and I were friends of Steve Mirabella’s back in high school days in Queens, N.Y. He was at our house quite a bit since our mother helped him through some difficult times. Steve wrote us a beautiful note when she passed away. I remember well his vibrant personality, terrific sense of humor and thirst for adventure. I am very sorry to hear this news. What a legacy he left for his students and colleagues. My deepest sympathy to his family.

  • Kevin Levin Jun 18, 2008

    Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Steve. He was truly a special person.

  • sigrid Jun 21, 2008

    Thank you for the beautiful words about my beloved husband, Steve. He was my greatest teacher. I have never met a more brave or giving person. He lived his life for those he loved.
    I will never recover from his death. Thank you for keeping his memory alive for me.

    Link to a memorial page about him oysterbayfuneralhome.com
    a blog link where a former student speaks beautifully of him
    http://medic61.blogspot.com/2008/06/in-memory.html

    Sigrid

  • Kevin Levin Jun 22, 2008

    Sigrid, — Thanks for taking the time to write during what must be a very difficult time. You know better than all of us of just how special Steve was. I do hope that some comfort can be found in knowing that Steve’s passion for learning and creativity are ingrained in all of us who knew him and especially in his students. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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