Friday, May 25, 2012

The End of an Era

Congratulations to the Geibel class of 2012, who graduated tonight! And party on, class of 2007. Our reunion is later this summer.

As the graduating class leaves, I'm told one of Geibel's most beloved teachers will be, as well--Larry Orlando, affectionately just called Mr. O. A lover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, we were always told the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything. In fact, we were even told if we didn't know the answer on a test to write "42." However, he usually didn't give credit for it. I never tried. But it's only fitting that after 42 years of teaching, Mr. Orlando is retiring.

Mr. Orlando is definitely one of the best teachers I've ever had. I mean, I have an English degree, but I enjoyed and understood his math classes. Until I didn't understand them anymore because my brain rejects math after a certain point. However, he was always very good at and very willing to explain concepts, and before I had him for class, a classmate and I needed to learn the Pythagorean theorem for chemistry and we needed to learn it fast. He taught it to us in 20 minutes or less via a song, which I still remember to this day.

Geibel alumni who had him will also fondly remember Christmas workshop. The whole week before Christmas, class was spent singing and learning how to do cool things with string and make origami. Just like we can all still sing the Pythagorean theorem, we can also all still sing and do the accompanying motions for "Suzy Snowflake."

Geibel alumni can remember plenty of other things. He adored James Joyce and Ayn Rand. His room was decorated with cows and various posters, including one for the movie Metropolis. He loved New Yorker cartoons. His friendly (?) rivalry with Mr. Stevenson, one of his former students. One man would have his class interrupted by the other on occasion for some good old-fashioned mockery.

He was also known for his love of bizarre and random nicknames. Mine was Shmee, plus the variations Shmeezer and Shmee Shmee. Feel free to call me this is you so wish, because it did catch on. My trig and pre-calc classmates started to use it, and my other friends and classmates heard it and started to use it. To this day, in some circles, I am still called Shmee.

Plus he's very talented at calligraphy. As you'll recall, I threw down a decent amount of money at Geibel's spring auction because I wanted this so, so bad.

It looks beautiful on my wall, not to mention it's such a good quote.

Mr. Orlando was obviously one of those teachers who loved Geibel, believed in it, and loved what he did, and all the students loved him, too. And he was good at it. He was fun, too. He was often a part of plenty of silly little activities during spirit week, or his favorite, Pi Day.

Take, for example, his participation in the "Single Ladies" dance in 2009. He starts out on the right. For the curious ones, the other teachers are Mr. Bell and Mr. Stevenson, who is the one with the most gusto. I'm 99% certain this was his idea.

For your math lovers, here he is leading a musical celebration of pi.

And people wonder why I had so much fun in high school. In fact, I didn't really miss high school until I went looking for these videos.

And therefore, I hereby elect Mr. O as Nam royalty. He joins the ranks of Fr. Bob, Shane Ronzio, my friend Sarah, and everyone's beloved River King.

And don't worry, Mr. Stevenson--you're next.


  1. FYI I just changed your name to Janelle after being Shmee in my phone since HS.

  2. I didn't miss geibel at all till I saw this post.