Recently I was asked about some of the people that I felt had most influenced my life. Mr. Angelo Cortopassi came to mind. That iniated me to go to the internet, and I found the Grace Rauh story of August 13, 2003 in the Palo Alto Weekly.
First, I am saddened to learn of that the fate of MS has fallen on such an incredible and decent human being as Mr. Angelo Cortopassi. I also wish to express my appreciation to Palo Alto Weekly for the article writeen by Ms. Rauh.
I am a 58 year old woman residing in my "home town" of Green Bay, WI. In the early to mid-1960s, my family lived in San Jose, CA. While there, I attended Dartmouth Junior High School and had the good fortune to have Mr. Cortopassi as my 9th grade science and biology teacher.
During that year, the state of California ran a "Who's Your Favorite School Teacher?" contest." Ballots were printed in local newspapers for students to complete and mail in. At the date the contest ended and the ballots were counted, Mr. Cortopassi came in second. He won a wonderful trip to the Mediterranean. Typical of Mr. Cortopassi, he did not mind coming in second, saying he actually favored the trip to the Mediterranean over the destination chosen for the first place winner.
Within a few days of the end of the contest, hundreds of ballots voting for Mr. Cortopassi were found in a room at the school, and they had somehow been overlooked from being mailed in. Had those ballots been sent in, Mr. Cortopassi would have been chosen the first place favorite teacher by an overwhelming majority of votes.
I was by far not one of his best students. I excelled in classes like English and Creative Writing, and struggled through the math and science classes. In Science class, Mr. Cortopassi, in his infinite wisdom, paired me as a lab partner with one of the sharpest kids in the class, Ray Sandoval. I guess he hoped I could learn by osmosis and the good mentor Ray would be!
Mr.Cortopassi had the innate ability to inspire all students. He captured our attention with his humor and enthusiasm for all things in life, and he made learning genuinely fun. Going to his glass was always a joy, and now that I myself am nearing retirement and looking back on the memorable and special moments of my life, Mr. Cortopassi's Science and Biology class definitely stands out as an extreme privilege, a warm memory, and the realization that he truly was one of the most influential people in my life.
Jeanne A. Biebel
Green Bay, WI