On Wednesday, January 24, during our all-school mass, former teacher and principal, Mr. Joe Bamberger was honored for his service and dedication to St. Rita High School. After the mass, a ceremony took place in the second floor hallway, which was named for and dedicated to Mr. Bamberger. The ceremony was attended by Mr. Bamberger's family and former colleagues along with current students and teachers - some of whom happen to be former students!
By: Kieran Kellam '98
Mr. Joe Bamberger came to us because a friend of his, Mr. Don Racky, kept talking to him about this school…St. Rita. Providence looked upon us as Mr. Bamberger checked into our community and joined it as a teacher in September of 1960. He would continue to serve and lead our community until his retirement in 2002.
Mr. Bamberger, along with Mr. Racky, initiated the AP curriculum in its beginning in the late sixties. The AP program was then being introduced across the nation, and schools were debating whether or not to implement it. St. Rita, quite wisely, recognized the value of this new program, and was fortunate to have Mr. Bamberger ready and willing to take on the responsibility, and later, expand it.
He became the first lay principal of St. Rita and was originally asked to become part of the administration by Fr. Flach, to whom our first academic floor is dedicated. Fr. Flach recognized Mr. Bamberger’s ability to think carefully, arrive at the right conclusions, and act upon them.
His leadership through difficult periods in our community’s history will never go unappreciated. Only a man so patient, devoted, and wise could have helped bring us to where we are today.
First and foremost, Mr. Bamberger was a teacher, a history teacher. He had a knack for ensuring that his AP US History class was always scheduled during the last period of the day. This was done for a particular reason. The work that was to get done in class that day, was to be done… in class… that day. Class ended when that final point was driven home, when that last document was completely analyzed. At times, it may have caused some students to grumble, but always seemed to make his colleagues a little envious of that extra time.
But, he did not just teach history. He taught engagement, argumentation, and analysis. Mr. Bamberger taught citizenship.
In his career, he would teach…
The humility and dignity of the Gettysburg Address as Dr. King would read his I Have A Dream speech.
The bravery and sacrifice of the Continental Army to students who may soon leave to serve in Vietnam.
The joy and triumph of the 19th amendment as the Berlin Wall would be picked apart by free East Germans.
The grief and loss of D-Day as the Twin Towers of New York would fall.
Mr. Bamberger taught his students American history while never forgetting that we were, and are, still living it. That our reason to understand history was to realize the full potential of who we could be and should be in the eyes of our fellow citizens, of our family and of our God.
In the words of Robert Kennedy, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written, the history of this generation.”
We thank you, Mr. Bamberger for your work to change this generation of students and teachers and therefore, bend our history.
Thank you for your years of service to our community.