By: Kayla Herssein and Owen Ebner (10th Grade)
After receiving an email this Monday stating that Mr. Hector Duarte, high school English teacher, would no longer be working at Hebrew Academy, students were shocked. As a faculty member for a number of years, Mr. Duarte used his skills in English literature to inspire and educate his students, and many wonder what their English classes will be like following his departure.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Duarte felt it was best for his safety to work remotely, which he could not do full-time at the Hebrew Academy. High School Principal Dr. Jones sent out an email to parents explaining the situation.
“Mr. Duarte has made the difficult decision to seek a position where he can work exclusively from home remotely for personal reasons,” said Jones in the email.
Many students admired Mr. Duarte, as he carried the reputation of being a relaxed teacher, while also being able to effectively teach the class. Students enjoyed his class and many were saddened about his departure.
“Mr. Duarte was my English teacher last year, and he did a really good job,” said Ben Reinberg (12th Grade). “I am going to miss him a lot. He was a very big part of the school. He was a very nice and laid back teacher and was pretty close to some of the students.”
With midterms right around the corner, many of Mr. Duarte’s current students are concerned about their upcoming English exams, and wondering what will happen second semester.
“I’m concerned for how we are going to go about the rest of this semester and for the upcoming semester because changing teachers in the middle of the school year is going to be a tough adjustment,” said Shoshy Stein (10th).
According to Dr. Jones's email, the school is actively interviewing candidates to replace Mr. Duarte and hopes to have a new teacher as soon as possible.
"We have a plan in place in case we can't find a suitable teacher right away, but we are hopeful with our current candidates that will not be needed," the email said.
Students hope that whoever replaces Mr. Duarte is someone who will also be able to build connections like he did for current and incoming students.
“Mr. Duarte was definitely the funniest teacher that I’ve had in all of the high school,” said Michaela Acevedo (12th). “I think we’re all going to miss him and it is a big loss for the school, and all I can say is that I really hope that new additions keep on coming that are better because a lot of the good ones have been leaving us. I really hope that the freshmen and all of the middle schoolers to come get an experience as good as I did with Mr. Duarte.”
Both the students and the staff share appreciation for Mr. Duarte’s commitment and dedication to the High School for the past few years. The students wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.