Richard Novarro, a Barnum Woods Elementary School, teacher passed away on Nov. 24 at the age of 63.
Novarro joined the staff of Barnum Woods in 1985. He was desrcibed as an outstanding teacher, who was loved and respected by his students, administration and staff, and as beloved colleague.
Reposing will take place at Massapequa Funeral Home Inc. South Chapel, 4980 Merrick Road (Co. Whitewood Dr.), Massapequa Park on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. William the Abbot R.C. Church in Seaford. Interment to follow at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.
A remembrance of Richard Novarro submitted by Scott Eckers
Mr. Novarro was one of my biggest fans. Some background information: I did not grow up to be a sports star, an acclaimed author, or President of the United States. I did, however, become a teacher and an entertainer. For a long time, unbeknown to me, Rich Novarro played my music – in his classroom, to his students. You see, a colleague of his saw one of my performances in the Catskills, found out that I was a student at Barnum Woods Elementary School in the 1980s, and purchased my album.
Later that year, I was teaching an old Yiddish folk song to several of my Hebrew school students in East Meadow. This song happened to have been recorded on that album. Amazingly, these kids recognized that song as having been played on Mr. Novarro’s stereo. Apparently, my album was a hit in his room, as they were able to sing many of the Broadway show tunes also featured on that disc.
Mr. Novarro was not my primary fifth grade teacher but managed to have an enormous impact on my childhood. At that time, he was best known for running the Student Council at the other end of the "200" hallway. Having the title of Vice President afforded me the opportunity to get to know this talented and caring teacher. Mr. Novarro fostered critical thinking skills in young children by expanding their horizons beyond the concerns of East Meadow residents. We brainstormed solutions to lunchroom problems, organized charitable drives and sent care packages to troops fighting in Operation Desert Storm. We crowded into meetings before school started and learned how to work together as a team, respect one another and become responsible citizens. Mr. Novarro was proud of our accomplishments.
Fast-forward two decades. Rich Novarro was still proud of my accomplishments. He bragged to his students, friends and colleagues that one of his former pupils became a public school teacher. He shared in my success and while doing so, embodied the term “life-long educator.” He had a never-ending smile on his face. We’ll miss you, Mr. Novarro.