Former biology teacher Melvin Kane was commemorated on Monday, December 3, in a ceremony held on the seventh floor after school.
A plaque bearing Kane’s name, along with the words “Master Educator, Student Mentor, and Respected Colleague,” will be hung in room 709, his former classroom.
The dedication was in honor of the second anniversary of Kane’s death. Kane died from brain cancer. Biology teachers Roz Bierig and John Utting organized the reception.
“I thought it was important to introduce the younger members of the [biology] department to him,” Bierig said.
Principal Stanley Teitel opened the ceremony, which was attended by Kane’s friends, family and former colleagues. Assistant Principal Biology Elizabeth Fong and Utting also gave speeches commemorating Kane.
Kane came to Stuyvesant in 1966 and taught vertebrate zoology for 35 years until his retirement in 2001.
“I grew as a professional with him,” Bierig said. “He was very knowledgeable on so many levels. You could talk and ask him about everything.”
In addition to teaching, Kane also mentored students for the Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search, worked with the Science Council of New York City, served as the advisor to the Bio-Med Times, was an IMPACT II (an organization that rewards teachers through monetary aids) grant developer, chaperoned school concerts and wrote secondary school reports for students.
According to Utting, Kane “was like a stoic. He wanted his students to learn how to dissect from just following the lab manual, which is very well-written. He didn’t walk over and show his students how to do everything […] he wanted them to learn.”
“Mel was a perfectionist. He expected certain things,” biology teacher Anne Manwell said. “He set standards for Stuy students to hit that were achievable.”
According to former principal Gaspar Fabbricante in a letter of recommendation, Kane extinguished a fire on November 10, 1980, averting “a terrible tragedy.”
The ceremony also featured a short video about Kane. “What’s great about Stuy is the joy in exchanging ideas,” he said in the video. “You can enjoy life on the intellectual level.”
Lauren Kronenfeld, a friend of Kane’s who attended the ceremony, said the event was a “beautiful tribute to a beautiful man.”
His wife, Shelly Kane, said, “I feel honored and appreciative that the school honored and loved him.”