Friday, June 24, 2005

Gaping Chasm

Me: “Hey Peter, should I put this folder in your mailbox?”

Peter: “A mailbox (male box)? Is there such a thing?”

This is an excerpt of a typical conversation I would have with Peter Rackham. Peter Rackham was a teacher, friend and colleague of mine during my days at Fairview Junior High School. I had him as a PDR and English teacher during my days as a student. He was a colleague of mine during my years as a teacher at Fairview Junior High. (We had neighboring classrooms one year) And he was a friend, he was someone I could talk to and even came to bat for me when I applied for a job at Fairview with a recommendation to the administration.
The reason I am mentioning all this is that Peter Rackham passed away today around 8:30am. It some ways it is fitting that he would pass away on the final day of the 2004-2005 school year.
Peter Rackham was a private man who enjoyed teaching and photography. (You can see some of his excellent work at He was the king of puns and one-liners, you always had to watch what you said around him as he would twist it around and make a joke about it. Despite his jokes being hit or miss, he did make you laugh. No matter where I was in Halifax, if I mentioned that I worked at Fairview Junior High, one of the first questions people would ask me is, “Does Rackham still work there?”.
He was loved by many of his students during with 30+ years of teaching. When Fairview opened its doors 33 years ago, Peter was one of the first ones there and remained loyal to the school during that whole time.
He was an inspiration to many and even helped me out in some tough situations as a rookie teacher. His jokes never stopped, they would sometimes make you moan and roll your eyes but in some way would put a smile on your face. (One day I was wearing a blue shirt and he asked me, “Why so blue?”.)
As a final recognition, I was pleased to hear that this year, the award for the best all-round student at Fairview Junior High was renamed to the Peter Rackham award. The award is given out to the student who best exemplifies high academics and positive contributions to the school environment, something Mr.Rackham did during his tenure as the greatest teacher at Fairview.

Posted at 3:19 PM by mario :: 3 comments

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At 4:40 PM, Blogger Mike did sayeth:

Thank you for posting this Mario to honor a great man. I too will always remember his humour. My personal favorite was the time he tapped me on the forehead with two fingers, blew in my hair and said "Is this Mike (mic) on?" He is a Fairview icon. He left all of us who passed through the halls of FJHS with great memories, and he will be sadly missed.


At 12:00 PM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

You guys are both right, Peter Rackham was truly a Fairview legend and a man I thought very highly of. Teaching at FJHS for 33 years is no easy feat, you could tell he loved it there. He was certainly one of the reasons I enjoyed my 3 years there so much.

The thing I remember is that he could deliver the cheesiest puns ever with a super straight face. He once said "don't be a-shaned of yourself to me" and I acted like I was upset by at, joking of couse. But he was extra careful the rest of the year not to make any name jokes at my expense.

Fairview, and Halifax, will miss Peter Rackham.


At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Tanya did sayeth:

I just found out that Mr Rackham died yesterday...what a great loss...I wish I had a chance to see him again! I graduated from FJHS in 1984 and I will never forget him. He wrote in my yearbook 'Hope the sun will tan ya, Tanya'. What a riot he was, and a great great man and teacher. I received the best all around student award in my graduation year, and I am thrilled to know it is now called the Peter Rackham award.

Thanks for posting...


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