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A Tribute to Dr. Dan Cooper

This week, the Hebrew Academy lost a great teacher, friend, and colleague. Dr. Dan Cooper taught experimental science, computers, and chemistry. Though he was a first year teacher, he seamlessly transitioned into a beloved member of the Hebrew Academy family. Students and staff are mourning this tragic loss and remembering how, in such a short time, Dr. Cooper made such a large impact. They shared their memories of Dr. Cooper, which the Warrior Word compiled below:

“He wasn’t mainstream. He was totally different. His approach was different than anything I had ever seen. He had a PhD in organic chemistry, but was also working on a computer program that became his hobby once he accepted the job at Hebrew Academy. He brought a unique style to our program and will be missed.” -Dr. Dara Lieber, assistant principal of the high school.

“He was probably one of the smartest people I have ever met. He was brilliant, very passionate about chemistry, education and about bettering the lives of his students. We would hang out sometimes outside of school. He was an interesting guy. He had a lot of good experiences in his life that he would bring and talk about.” -Mr. Tyler Carson, biology and anatomy and physiology teacher.

“He was very enthusiastic and he seemed very passionate about teaching. Every day in class there was a very new and interesting topic, and the students loved him. He was a quiet, likable personality.”-Yisroel Goldstein (10th)

“I remember that one day I had a question about something Science related, and even though Dr. Cooper wasn’t my teacher, I asked him and he didn’t have the answer at that moment. Some time passed, and I had forgotten all about about my question, but Dr. Cooper found me and handed me a huge packet on the topic my question was on,” -Gabe Apoj (12th).

“He really loved teaching. It’s rare for someone so new to the field to be so willing to change what he was doing. He would acknowledge when he was doing something wrong and could change what he was doing; to take advice. I had nothing but admiration for him, and, in my opinion, he was going to be a superb educator.” – Mrs. Eve Zack, Science department chair and teacher.

“He always cared about all of us, individually.” -Florencia Chami (12th)

“He was a really good teacher. He was very smart, but also a very outgoing and understanding guy. He barely knew us, but he cared about us as if he was our teacher for a long time. He would ask us on Friday what our plans were for the weekend. And then on Monday he would ask us how our weekend was.If we said we were going out, he would tell us to be careful. One of Dr. Cooper’s experiments was to have us build an apparatus that would hold and protect an egg if we threw it off the roof. The point was to have the egg not break and we could only use the materials that were given to us.He was so excited to do it. Whenever I went up to him with my project, he would just get excited to answer our questions and help us out. He was trying to guide us on the right path from the beginning.” -Aaron Zilberman (12th)

“When he first started he was very anxious. He had never taught at the high school level before, but I think within two weeks he suddenly transformed.”-Rabbi Aharon Assaraf, assistant principal of the high school.

“He was really intelligent. I liked his teaching because he just explained things differently in a way that made me understand the topic. He answered all of our questions and he always had a sarcastic answer to our questions, which was a really good trait about him because he was funny that way.” -Abi Merran (10th)

“As a teacher he was very passionate about his work. He always presented it in a way that made it sound entertaining, but at the same time was informative.” -Brian Garcia (10th)

“He would always make sure that our work was perfect. He really cared about us learning the material.” -Anna Sher (12th)

“He always had a goofy attitude and was always enthusiastic about what he was teaching.” – Shayna Boymelgreen (10th)

“He was a new type of teacher that I’ve never had before, because we were doing a lot of hands on experiments from day one rather than note taking, which for me is the best type of learning. Every Wednesday and Friday in our computer class, Dr. Cooper gave us a break from coding and allowed us to work on something else. I, along with Rachel Hayes and Hadassah Bixon, decided to create a blog. We blogged about Dr. Cooper.We took funny things that he would say and turned them into short paragraphs. He liked our blog and shared it with all of his friends.”- Judah Neuwirth (12th)

This blog is still active and now features a condolence letter written in memory of Dr. Cooper. You can check out the blog using the link below:

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