Mr. Hasan

With school fast approaching, I’ve had Mr. Hasan on my mind. Bob Hasan was the school principal at Nayatt School, and he was practically a celebrity around town. He stood over six feet tall, and naturally was always dressed in a suit. He was handsome, with salt and peppered hair and deep brown eyes that sparkled when he smiled. Wingtips were his choice footwear, and they always looked freshly shined.

His daily debut onto school property can best be remembered by his roaring car engine. The color of the car could be described as “incredible hulk green”. It was a two-door sedan, American made, and was easily the length of a 2011 Chevy Suburban. On the back, there was a fancy wheel cover with decorative spokes. I wonder if it really held a tire, or was it just for show? I remember getting off the bus each morning as he was arriving. He’d roll down his window and extend a long arm with a welcoming wave, while simultaneously taking a long puff on his pipe.

Parent meetings with Mr. Hasan resembled being called into a modern-day boardroom for a talking-to. I remember a friend of my mother’s telling her how nervous she was to meet with him, because she didn’t know what the meeting was being called for. There was even discussion about what to wear for the meeting. Respect for Mr. Hasan was a given. By nature of the times as well as how he carried himself, he simply demanded it.

If you got into trouble at school, you sat on the bench outside of his office blinking back tears until you were released from his spell. Your best hope was that there would be minimal hall traffic. The bench was a wonderful thing: for most of the kids who sat there, it was usually a first and a last. In worse cases, you could be called into his office, behind his etched-glass door, where the word “PRINCIPAL” was etched in black letters. Kids who were summoned into these meetings came out a little worse for the wear temporarily, but I’m guessing they learned a valuable lesson or two about how to best conduct themselves in the future.

Mr. Hasan is one of the first people I remember being really scared of. In the end, this was a good thing because he taught me the importance of listening to an authoritative figure, other than my parents. Breaking rules had consequences, and trying your best was noticed. He was kind in many ways, and was quick to pay a compliment. I remember him visiting my class and leaning over my shoulder while I did a math problem. I also remember him sitting at the teacher’s desk, thumbing through her lesson plans to be sure she was organized.

Mr. Hasan has long since retired, and I remember him fondly as I approach another school year with my own children. I can’t really think of another profession in which I admire the individuals who give their time to children in such a meaningful way. Thank you, Mr. Hasan. The lessons I took from you were beyond elementary

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