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Laura Alvarez

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Dr. Laura Alvarez originally wanted to become a Psychologist. However, she was, in her own quirky words, “a goober” in Math (whatever that means). She was asked by the Statistics Department at Brooklyn College to come over to “The Math Side.” She stayed, and taught Computer Math at FDR in 1986, her first year at our school.  She went to school at night after she would work here, and intended to leave. However, she loved teaching children who hated Math, Math, and even more so, she loved the students here. Lucky for FDR, she stayed.

Dr. Alvarez taught Geometry her second year, a subject of Math she didn’t really enjoy. In that class she had Mr. Poska, who hated Math, who told her that he wouldn’t need any of what he learned. While that turned out to be true, Mr. Poska enjoyed her class, and would make Alvarez laugh about his displeasure. He, had though, the pleasure of being in her class. The bond that Poska would come to acquire with Alvarez would spread to countless children, whom in her amazing maternal nature, nurtured into great people. Besides Poska, Mr. Meyers, Mr. Gottlieb, and Ms. DeSanto were her “children”, and still, even as adults, are.

Dr. Alvarez is a compassionate soul. She goes above and beyond what is required, expected, and even imagined of her, for the school, and more importantly, the souls of those who have entered and left these halls. When she was recalling memories of her time here, she would have trouble coming up with specific dates and time spans. She said that since she started, time has been a blur for her. She remembered the special people she’s met over the years here- their stories, their personalities, what made them, them. As she is posed to leave this school alongside the class of 2017, both moving onto the next stage of their lives, it is hard to put into words how wonderful a person she is. We are lucky that those chain of events, from her being invited by the Statistics Department, to her working here and liking it. In short, it is our pleasure to thank her and wish her well.

Alvarez was made AP of Guidance in 2006, where she was able to use here skills of caring for others, as she is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. She has her office open for those needing help. She listens when it is needed to be listened to, and advises when advice is needed. She lets people be alone if that is what they need, regardless of how much time they need, regardless of their circumstance, regardless if she is busy or has work to do. There is a safe haven, one which I have been to many times, with absurd amounts of purple, as to her, everything should be a shade of purple. The children of FDR, the “nice group of kids,” are put first. The students of FDR, have a mother, “the Great Mother” (coined by Sullivan), watching over them, involved as much as needed and/or wanted. And beyond.

When she taught AP Stats for seven years, she said that teaching her students for a year created a special bond. After the AP exams, as she would send her students off, she would want to send them off by reading to, and having the class read, “The Happy Prince” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”. She would cry every time she read it, and when her students read it, some of them would cry too. “The Happy Prince” reinforces the idea that being good for others is a valuable character trait. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” reassured her students that no matter where they’ll go, they have all they need, which is themselves, and they’ll be fine wherever they go.

She has many great memories with her 30+ years at this school. When Mrs. Maione was principal, Maione was part of the Talent Show. The song was “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and Maione was the girl. Mr. Sullivan was the bad guy trying to get with someone who was already taken, and he was going to get in trouble. Then the boyfriend, an FDR basketball player named Les, “knocked” Sullivan out. Mr. Sullivan really put effort into falling hard. This was her funniest memory at FDR.  Her proudest moment was running Freshman Academy. The program had Freshmen in cohorts, so that there would be groups of Freshmen who had the same, or similar, classes. The Freshmen would meet new people and feel more accustomed to high school. This had teachers and guidance counselors work more closely together, as they would meet every so often to discuss the state of individuals. This had the added perk of having Alvarez interact with teachers from departments she usually didn’t. Then, she had the pleasure of watching the first Freshman Academy group graduate, which her daughter was part of.

As Dr. Alvarez leaves, there will be a large, purple hole, that in some ways, will never be filled. She will continue to help others, and look after her children. She will work at Kingsborough, to help people who have issues with Math, and dislike Math, which gives her joy. To the ones she has made a close bond with she says, “One heart is the reflection of the other.” To the graduating class of 2017, she says, “Ultimately what we teach is ourselves.” To her, the world should be purple. For me, the world will forever be purple.

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Laura Alvarez