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A Walk Down Memory Lane: Community remembers deceased faculty, student

by Perrin Stein
Over the past four years, nine current and former faculty members and one student passed away.
Bacon housemaster Helen Ryan worked in Newton High and in the old building until Bacon House was closed in 1981. She died October 8, 2008.
Tech secretary Donna Mandatori ’67 worked in the Newton Public Schools for 39 years and died November 1, 2008.
Former English teacher and lacrosse coach Thomas DePeter died May 15, 2009. In memory of Mr. DePeter, this school and South compete in an annual lacrosse game dubbed the DePeter Cup.
After battling cancer, Latin teacher Robert Mitchell died May 27, 2009. Former English teacher and current Newton Teachers Association president Michael Zilles praised Mr. Mitchell as “the best high school teacher in the world.”
Thirty-two year old counselor and soccer coach Ucal McKenzie died of heart failure May 30, 2009. Former English teacher Inez Dover said Mr. McKenzie was “a unique presence and an unsung hero.” To celebrate McKenzie’s life, this school held its first annual McKenzie Friendly, a commemorative soccer game, at Warren Field September 3, 2009.
July 11, 2009, former English teacher Lori Borden died. According to former English department head Mary Lanigan, Borden was a “model teacher.”
Former English teacher Sheila Zolli died July 28, 2010. While at this school, Mrs. Zolli helped establish the Student Faculty Administration and directed three Theatre Ink productions.
Adam London ’11, died when his car crashed into a tree August 23, 2010. London was passionate and thoughtful, according to his mother Barbara Spivak. To honor London, Newton parents started “A Promise to Adam,” a pledge that encourages students to observe safe driving habits.
Former math department head Mary Sapienza died August 27, 2010. Lichtman praised Mrs. Sapienza for her creative teaching style.
August 22, 2011, former English teacher and football coach Norm Walker died. He was “very thoughtful,” said former English teacher George Bower.

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