June 2, 2011

Do you remember science teacher Robert Reggio?


Click on photos to enlarge

By FRANK BARNING

One of my favorite teachers at Division Avenue was Mr. Robert Reggio. When I moved to Levittown in October 1954, acclimating to new classes and teachers was not easy for a 12-year old. The school year was into its second month and I was a little behind.

The only class, academically, that was a problem was roly-poly Mr. Reggio's seventh grade science. I had been at my new school maybe two days and he announced that there would be a test. I asked if I could be excused and Mr. Reggio wasn't buying it. The result, I got a grade of 32. Holy shit, what will my mother think? Frankly, I was afraid of disappointing her and here I had gotten a 32 on my first test in my new school.

I told Mr. Reggio, who I came to realize was a great teacher and gentleman, that he was being unfair. He wasn't buying that either. Well, I was going to show him that I was a good student and I rarely worked harder in any class I ever took. The result was that I earned a high 90s on the final exam in June.

When the grades came out, I reminded him of my unfair 32 in October. "I knew you could do it, Frank," he told me. Well, I doubt that he "knew" it but that embarrassing grade was a great motivator. The measure of a top-flight educator/coach/parent is how one motivates his or her charges.

Mr. Reggio taught at Division for 32 years. He passed away on April 2, 2001. The photos are from the 1962 and 1975 yearbooks
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Lilette Levy Bagwin's memories of Mr. Reggio. She graduated in 1960 and is a retired teacher:

Mr. Reggio was a fantastic science teacher. He was always smiling and happy and eager to teach us a new lesson. The lessons were given with excitement and wonder. Biology was one of my favorite classes at DAHS.

I remember the labs which were especially engaging. We dissected a frog and a pig and I remember actually taking a grasshopper and pulling it apart. Mr. Reggio brought biology to life and related it to my life. Since that time, I have always had a special love and understanding of animals and insects.

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Sandy Kelly Mincher's remembers Mr. Reggio:

Mr. Reggio made biology interesting and he taught me how to organize information and take notes. I felt like he cared about me as an individual, something I needed as a student.

I remember Mr. Reggio as someone who was very enthusiastic about his subject. I appreciated that he had the class copy notes from the board. This may seem too elementary but it really helped me see how to write and use notes to study. I always wanted to do well in his class and it was very clear what he expected.

One thing I recall him telling us was that it was better to pick a spouse closer to your height. I never understood that until I thought about it years later. It made me laugh to think he said that.
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MR. REGGIO'S NEWSDAY OBITUARY
New Hyde Park, NY. Beloved husband of Kathryn. Loving father of Cathryn Romano, Joseph, William and the late Robert. Cherished grandfather of Jason, Jessica and Jonathan Roman and James, Jonathan, Melissa, Kaitlin, Matthew, William and Kathryn Reggio. Fond brother of Rita Genco and Eugene Reggio. A devoted Science Teacher to the students of the Levittown School district for 32 years. A proud Veteran of WWII."

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had that fool, Navarra, for Biology and learned little. I interacted with Mr. Reggio often outside the classroom. He was a great guy, with a great sense of humor. May God bless Robert Reggio.
Jim Urban

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reggio was one of the best teachers I ever had. High on my list of Division teachers.
Joan Bartels Signorelli

Anonymous said...

How can I ever forget the five legged pigs he drew. bp

Anonymous said...

Lou Zinser, 1965-66

Reg brings back fond memories. He was such a character. I remember him the most as my 7th and 8th grade junior high baseball coach. Looking back I don't know who had less knowledge of baseball, Reg or myself, but had a great time with his ever upbeat approach to life

bobblog said...

Never had him, but I can remember my sister Phyllis, '60 talking about Mr. Reggio...always with a smile on her face

Steve Tray said...

Hey, Lou (from Steve Tray, 1965)

Reggio played Triple A professional baseball. He was a catcher for the Dodgers AAA team. He might have made the majors but he couldnt hit a major league fastball. I know because he went to Boy's High at the same time as my Dad. And my Dad came to school to see him.

PS He was one of the best teachers I had in my life. He wasn't Novack but he could do important things like throwing out beer cans.