Feb. 4, 2009: Offering a farewell to "Mr. C"

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To The Editor;
If you knew him, you lost a friend last week. Nat Ciccone, longtime jr. high math teacher at MCS, passed away, Monday, Jan. 26, after a courageous battle with cancer. Nat was a loving, caring husband and father to his wife Amy and daughters Cara and Lisa. Watching his daughters grow up, while supporting them and coaching them in their sports endeavors was the light of his life.
As a friend, Nat was the exception: a person who had no ulterior motive in his friendship. No “buts,” no “ifs.” To know Nat was to be his friend, plain and simple. And, of course, that’s why he had so many friends, from his youth in White Plains, to Phoenicia, Esopus, Kingston, and Margaretville. What you saw was what you got with Nat, straight and true.
Nat taught jr. high math at MCS for 20 years, retiring in 2001. He was a teacher and mentor who always put kids first. Caring, dedicated, self-effacing, and humorous, Nat always knew “IT” was about the kids. No posturing, self-serving ego, or teaching for the paycheck. Nat was in the classroom for children. First and foremost, Nat was a student advocate. May a couple examples of his commitment across the years suffice. Although “Mr. C” commuted from an hour away, to give students more extracurricular options, he started a varsity wrestling program at MCS in the 1980s. MCS had no wrestling mats, so every match was away, but because of Nat’s
selfless giving, kids got an opportunity to participate in a sport they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Nat was, also, committed to students having a voice and the democratic process at MCS. He served as a faculty representative to the student faculty senate for many years, and was instrumental in the compromises that shaped student policy. The student faculty senate offers a scholarship at graduation each year, The Nat Ciccone Scholarship.
Nat Ciccone was an integral teacher in the education and personal growth of students at MCS, and a valued colleague and friend of those of us who worked with him and knew him in the community. Thanks “C”....

Pete Palen,
MCS faculty member (1970-2005)
New Kingston