Monday, September 26, 2011

In Memoriam: My Friend Stanley Rauch

It is probably safe to say that few, if any, of you knew Stanley Rauch.  Stanley was a friend, colleague, and mentor of mine.  After a long battle with multiple health issues, I learned today that Mr. Rauch passed away.

  
Stanley's death was not unexpected.  As a matter of fact, he had been in the hospital and, eventually, in hospice care for about a month.  I spoke to him last two weeks ago.  At that time, we said all there was to say and he ended our final conversation with, "Enjoy life."


My last words to him were, "Thank you."


Stanley began teaching back in the late 1960's.  After a long stint working at various public schools on the Westbank of New Orleans, he started working at Archbishop Shaw High School.  Stanley worked at Shaw for around 20 years.  It is there that I met him and worked along side him in the Social Studies Department from 1997 - 2000.  Stanley continued to work at Shaw until this past year.


I can't say that I learned much about pedagogy from watching Stanley work.  By the time I met him, he was pretty much set in his ways.  What I did learn from him was the art of student relationships.  I have never met another teacher who went to such measures to connect with his students.  It was always about the kids - and that was Stanley's philosophy (even if he wouldn't openly admit it).


Stanley Rauch's passing leaves a void in the educational community of the Westbank of New Orleans.  He had no immediate family, yet he was at home in any restaurant, school building, or ball field from Belle Chase to Westwego.  He dedicated his life to the youth of the Westbank and will be missed.


He knew everyone's mother and taught many of his students' fathers.  When out at dinner, it would be expected that at least one or two former students would come to his table and ask him how we was doing.  He called them all, "Slick" and wished them well.


Stanley also:
  • bought doughnuts daily for students to eat in his room before school
  • provided drinks for the football team after every game
  • took a number of seniors to Cancun each summer after graduation as a gift to them (until his health prevented his travelling)
  • made us all laugh
  • told great stories
  • loved to go to "church" (those who know him well know what I mean)
  • helped us all forget our cares and enjoy a good meal
  • gave me the money to buy my wife her engagement ring (I tried to repay him.  When I did, he simply said that I already had.)

Like an aging ball player determined to have one more good day in the sun, Stanley Rauch never considered retiring.  He worked through serious health conditions over the past few years, but always finished to watch another class walk the stage.  Though he did not start this year at school, it was all he talked about when we talked over the summer. 


Stanley Rauch was the most generous educator I ever met.  His gifts to his students and friends will last a lifetime.  You may not have ever met him, but caring/student centered educators everywhere lost a friend today.


God bless you, Slick.


Thank you.


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