Bring Back the Doge
Concerning the decision of Mr. William H. Lupini and Ms. Heidi Cook
As the Student Body of the Michael Driscoll School, the absence of our Middle School history teacher, Mr. Larry Chen, has become most apparent. We have ascertained, from authoritative sources, that his notice of termination can be attributed to his use of the word “BS,” (as fully spelled out) to describe his state of being to two high school Juniors. This, in proportion to the consequence, is a most unreasonable rationale. These words, as well as many far worse, have been exposed to us through our required school reading, films and social media, our peers, and in the vocabularies of our future instructors. In short, we, The Students, think these accusations are “BS.”
Larry Chen is a man of extraordinary talent and accomplishment— the diamond in the ruff of the Brookline Public School System. As a graduate of Columbia University, he brings the teachings of a world-class history department to a public school system that, otherwise, only 6.1% of will be offered in their lifetimes. Devouring several books a week, in spite of his prior knowledge, Mr. Chen makes a conscious effort to expand his field of knowledge (and ours) in order to adapt his opinions, and to respond to our ideas and inquiries throughout our assorted units. His style is a unique asset for the Driscoll School, and it cannot be replaced.
A textbook, is a sugar-coated version of our history— highlighting the victories of our homeland and neglecting its faults. Each day, two lesson plans are prepared by Mr. Larry Chen from scratch. Activities are tailor-made and hand-crafted for our consumption. Any substitute can hand us a book and ask us to read five pages per day, but this does not do our history justice. His lecture-based plans reflect what we will receive in high school, college, and beyond— preparing us for the years to come. Utilizing a diverse set of methods, he encourages us to grow creatively as well traditionally— through video and animations, song and slides. Mr. Chen’s day does not end at 2:30, when most would flee the school. Instead, his lunch hour and free time are invested in creating a differentiated educational emprise for all and in answering the questions of the inquisitive young minds who seek refuge in his classroom. He has taught us to examine multiple perspectives, detect primary and secondary sources, to exercise historical empathy, to follow the chain of cause to effect, and how to value a source’s historicity. Mr. Chen is teaching us how to examine events, not what to think of them. This is a rare occurrence amongst the teachers of the system.
Visualize the average classroom— a field of fertile minds with trellises of only certain heights to climb. Some, struggling, benefit from seeing the stronger grow, and this is enough. However, some are limited by the structure’s capacity— ultimately stunting their development. Mr. Chen’s style of teaching is humorous, engaging, and without boundaries— feeding our curiosity and unlocking our potential. As an instructor, he connects with us with each passing day, not treating us as numbers, but as human beings, ensuring that no student is overlooked or left behind.
To terminate Larry Chen in the middle of an academic year would be irresponsible— disrupting productivity both during and outside of business hours. Not only does Mr. Chen have a presence in school, but in our clubs and groups. Who would host the student council? What would become of our Model United Nations team? How far would our understanding of history fall without him? All inextricable issues that we would confront if we chose to let go of a piece of the Michael Driscoll School.
In conclusion, the undersigned students implore you to reconsider this course of action and return the outstanding educator Larry Chen back to the Michael Driscoll School.
“When I found out that I could turn in videos for assignments, I knew I would love his class. Do you know how rare it is to find a teacher who encourages you to do what you love? He is such a fun person to be around. He never fails to make me laugh, even in dark times. He allows students to be creative which is rare for teachers to do. Not only that, but he redid my perspective of history. History isn’t about memorizing facts anymore. It is so much more than that. And now I might not ever see him again.”
-Camille Cooke, age 13
“School was really hard for me, I was unmotivated and had no interest in any subject. history was one of my worst subjects. I basically hated school, until I was in Mr. Chen’s class. He taught me that you can’t learn anything unless you are interested, and he went out of his way to get me interested in History. He let me make videos with my best friend instead of writing papers. This may seem insignificant to you, but it really changed my perspective on learning and for the year I was in his class I actually was excited to go to school every morning. I really hope that Mr. Chen can continue his work as a History teacher, and if he can’t, thank you Mr. Chen.”
-Jordan Halley-Gillach, age 14
"I look forward to his class every day because that means learning a new thing about history- something I thought I'd never look forward to"
-Wendy Frankel, age 13
“Mr. Chen does more than teach -he inspires. You don’t often get a teacher like that.”
-Renata Shen, age 13
“Mr. Chen’s class is what I look forward to because I love the teacher. He teaches brilliantly and I think almost everyone can agree on that.”
-Megan Kiel, age 13
“Mr Chen can't be fired he's like the best teacher”
-Drew D, age 12
“How can we fire an amazing teacher for a single swear? It’s not worth it. Everyday, students come into Mr. Chen’s classroom, with great joy to learn about history. Students are engaged and ready for activities and to have fun in class. Every student's favorite class is Mr. Chen’s class. We can’t deal with this anymore. BRING BACK MR CHEN.”
-Gordon Chen, age 13
“Mr. Chen is awesome. Deal with it.”
-Alex Cooke, age 10
“Mr. Chen is pretty much the only reason Camille will get out of bed to go to school.”
-Simone Cooke, age 10
“I had never been a huge fan of history until last year, because to me, history meant memorizing people, dates, and events that weren’t very relevant to my life, but ever since that September morning in 7th grade when I walked into Mr. Chen’s room for the first time, I have been excited to return and learn more. Are you saying that you are just going to take that away from me?”
-Grace Sokolow, age 13
"Mr. Chen not only gave us a way to connect to history and realize it's importance, he also gave us a safe place to be ourselves and talk to him about anything and everything. He's not just a teacher. He's like family,"
-Basya Klein, age 14
“Mr. Chen is what makes Driscoll a place I'm proud to come from and happy to go back to.”
-Basya Klein, age 14
“Mr. Chen is by far one of my favorite memories of 8th grade. He made history come alive. He made history fun and made us really think about why all this stuff happened. He is one of the best teachers and one of the best people that I know. Taking him out for a reason like this is ridiculous. He wasn’t talking to kids, he was talking to high schoolers who never even went to driscoll. There is absolutely no reason that he should be fired. If you take him away you will be robbing the school and the students of the best teacher and greatest person ever.”
-Ocy Agba, age 15