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Brother Eugene Trzecieski, legendary teacher, immortalized with bust at Columbus High

29/04/2011: United States

Marist Brother Eugene Trzecieski, 82, is a legend at Christopher Columbus High School. “Alumni say that he was the best teacher they ever had,” said the school’s president, Marist Brother Kevin Handibode, during a ceremony March 29 in honor of the beloved, now retired, teacher. As faculty and students watched, Brother Handibode, Juan Gomez, associate development director, and sculptor Tom Abraham, class of 1970, unveiled a bust of Brother Trzecieski that has been placed in the middle of a new plaza named in his honor.

“It’s rare to have a statue of a living brother on campus but he’s 82 and still works here. He’s amazing,” said Cristina Cruz, marketing director for Columbus. “He cares so much about people,” said Brother Handibode. He noted that Brother Trzecieski holds the record for the most years teaching at Columbus — 43. “Brother Trzecieski loves gardening and landscaping. It’s so appropriate that we dedicate this plaza and sculpture to him.”

Two recent alumni, Nicolai De Leo, 23, and Andre Grillon, 22, met at the University of Florida and often talked about their former teacher. Last summer, with the help of Brother Trzecieski, they decided to organize his works into a website, www.anoblemind.com. The site is filled with his philosophical writings, the basis for his famous class, “Philosophy of Being,” which he taught to Columbus’ seniors. “We spent last summer learning from a ‘living Emerson’ as we liked to call him,” said Grillon.

When Brother Trzecieski started teaching in 1950, today’s mass technology did not exist.

“All of his notes and pamphlets were written on a typewriter and then he made copies,” said De Leo. “Until now, this has prevented anyone who did not take his class from reading his beautiful works.”

Abraham, another Brother Trzecieski student and entrepreneur, created the copper bust of the Marist Brother. His company, iAM Enterprises, a 3-D imaging company, photographs a person in 3-D in order to create a digital master sculpture. “One hundred years from now, people will be able to say that’s exactly how Brother Trzecieski looked at the time he was photographed for the sculpture,” said Abraham. “This is very unique.” “Brother Eugene helped me realize that I can make a difference,” said Abraham. “He taught me to go after the impossible.” The bust bears Brother Trzecieski’s motto, “A mind made noble leads a noble life” — a quote that he taught his students.

“The ultimate goal is to search for truth and beauty,” said Brother Trzecieski. “The ideas presented are designed to inspire the reader to think, to question and to consider profound thoughts that have been perplexing man for centuries.”

Although he retired from teaching, Brother Trzecieski still works at Columbus, handling all of the school’s paper copying and keeping the archives, a collection that he started in 1968 and that today contains hundreds of bound books and files.

Brother Trzecieski came up with the idea to publish the school’s first history book in honor of Columbus’ 50th anniversary in 2008. He co-authored, “50 Years Exploring Christopher Columbus High School” with fellow teacher John Lynskey. Brother Trzecieski said that he felt honored by the sculpture and the plaza that is named after him.

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March 30, 2011 - Marlene Quaroni - Florida Catholic

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