November 8 – Happy Birthday Edmund Cionek

EdCionekCoverBy the time I got to Amsterdam High School in 1969, Edmund “Prof” Cionek had already been teaching Physical Education there for 35 years. I didn’t have him as a teacher until my senior year and by February of that year I had already been accepted at the college I planned to attend and I sort of took it easy during my final months as a high school student, real easy. I noticed in my first few gym classes that all Mr. Cionek did when taking attendance was have us sit in the bleachers at the beginning of class while he stood in front of us with a clipboard yelling out our last names and marking us as present if we yelled “here!” I also quickly noticed that he never looked up from that clipboard to actually see if the person yelling “here” was actually the same person whose last name he had just yelled out. Being the sly young devils we were, a small bunch of us began getting friends who were willing to do so to yell out “here” on our behalf and we would skip the class, jump in somebody’s car and head for breakfast.

Alas all good things come to an end. After several weeks, there were only a dozen or so students left in the bleachers to yell “here” for a class roster that probably numbered somewhere in the sixties. Prof finally looked up and realized he had been hoodwinked. We all got called down to the guidance office and were told if we cut one more gym class we would not be permitted to graduate and that is how I was finally forced to get to know Prof Cionek and you know what? I liked him a lot…

You can read the rest of my story about this native Amsterdam coach and educator in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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