Written by Island Trees Superintendent of Schools Charles Murphy Friday, 10 June 2011 00:00
It was the summer of 1963. Most Americans had never even heard of the mounting troubles in Vietnam. New York’s newest baseball team, the New York Mets, were wrapping another 100-loss season at the Polo Grounds and looking forward to opening their new stadium in Flushing, Queens. In August 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” in Washington, DC and President Barack Obama had celebrated his second birthday.
1963 – A year that started off like many other years, ended with the shocking assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. America would never be the same. What a year in American history! Despite the turmoil that ended this year, 1963 was a very good one for Island Trees. In April 1963, a young Social Studies teaching candidate was interviewed by Island Trees High School Assistant Principal Frank Procaccini. Mr. Procaccini recommended what he deemed as a “good prospect” to the Board of Education.
Forty-eight school years later, this “good prospect” has taught over 5,000 students, logged in over 42,000 lessons, missed less than a handful of days and throughout the turbulent years that followed the Kennedy assassination, he has been the one constant in our school community. Mr. Robert (Bob) Amato. Barney Stinson, the fictional character from the CBS hit comedy How I Met Your Mother could only describe Bob as…wait for it…wait for it… LEGENDARY. 1963 was the start of Bob’s selfless devotion to the Island Trees school community.
On most days, Bob is the first teacher to arrive at the high school and is often the last one to leave. The school district may be closed during holidays and the summer months, but Mr. Amato is there. Bob is truly an Island Trees icon.
This June, however, will be Bob’s last as a full-time social studies teacher. Bob has decided to retire from his teaching responsibilities after all of these years of dedicated service to Island Trees. This was by no means an easy decision after all of these years of service and rarely missing a day of work. In fact, years and years would go by before he would take a sick day. I would really like to say that Bob would be missed; however, since Bob is not interested in golf, shuffleboard or fishing, he has already requested to be placed on our substitute teacher list, so he can begin his second career in Island Trees. On behalf of the Board of Education, the staff, students, and community, I would like to congratulate Bob on his “retirement” and we’ll see you in September!