Faculty Spotlight: Mr. Banderob
by Anooshka Gupta on Friday, April 8th, 2016
Over the past 42 years, Milton has shifted drastically. We’ve transformed from being divided by gender into two separate schools to being an all-inclusive and diverse institution. One of Milton’s most valuable staff members, John Banderob, who watched Milton evolve before him, will be retiring after this school year. A faculty member in Robbins House, Banderob has taught seventh grade math, eighth grade math, Algebra One, Algebra Two, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Statistics, Computer Programming, CE/PS, and Introductory Physical Science, as well as Philosophy in the English department. After Milton, Banderob and his wife will be moving to their home in New Hampshire. There, they will enjoy a quiet life in the woods, no doubt a 180-degree shift after living with 50 other people in Robbins House. Jokingly, Banderob says he feels especially bad for his wife, since “her one person is me, whereas my one person is her.” Robbins House is one of the things Banderob is saddest to leave behind. His students in the dorm will miss him too. Robbins girl Caroline Massey (Class II) says, “He has advanced skills in the art of sarcasm, and it is greatly appreciated in Robbins House.” Another resident, Chelsea Dougherty (Class I) chimes in, “He always checks up on the girls in the dorm to see if they’re doing well.”
Banderob will also miss his colleagues and the students he’s gotten to know inside and outside of the classroom. He’s still in touch over social media with some of his former students, taking time out of his busy schedule to maintain the connection a couple of times a week. Jacob Atwood (Class II) describes Banderob as “a great teacher and one of the most considerate people [he] knows.” Banderob really values the relationships he has formed during his time at Milton, calling them “the fiber of the place.” Head of the Math Department Heather Sugrue can attest to Banderob’s incredible relationships with students and faculty alike. “He is many many many people’s favorite teacher. He is really supportive of every student in his classroom…One of the things I appreciate about him the most as a colleague is his willingness to try new things at any point in his career. He’s taken the years of experience and used it to help students. He really does support everyone in awesome ways. We will miss him.”
Over the years, Banderob has seen a variety of changes and moments that really characterize Milton. One example was when Robbins House used to be a boys’ dorm. Similar to present day, the boarders were playing lacrosse in the hallways. However, instead of breaking a window or creating a hole in the wall, this time one of the boys broke off the sprinkler head with the end of his lacrosse stick. Consequently, the water ran down from Robbins House into Forbes Dining Hall, which had big globe lights at the time. Banderob remembers seeing the globe slowly fill with water, until it reached the light bulb that immediately exploded.
Banderob also remembers more serious memories, times when the Milton community banded together in support and acceptance of its members. For example, Banderob recalls how the Milton community embraced a girl who had come out. Another time, in the wake of a racial slur plastered on a boy’s dorm-room door, the community convened to process feelings and deliberate on how best to move forward. In a moment of great racial tension and anger, one of Banderob’s advisees stood up and told everyone that although this was a hard time, he had talked to his white friends in the dorm and they had helped him through it. Banderob remembers this moment with pride because he believes the boy’s words helped create an environment of “helpers and not haters.” These stories all shape Milton, as they paint the image of Milton as what it is, a place where everyone can be him- or herself and be loved and accepted for it. Colleague Ms. McCormick best sums up Banderob’s character: “John is kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate. He always has our students’ best interests at heart.” Having made a great impact on the lives of many students and faculty members, Banderob will be greatly missed in all aspects of Milton life.
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