Staff Tribute: Eugene Adams

adamsSpecial Education Teacher

“Mr. Adams was a one-of-a kind teacher who poured his heart and soul into his students and colleagues. He taught our students not only to be better, but most importantly to want more for themselves. Mr. Adams was loved by just about everyone he came into contact with.” – Sarah Templeman, principal of P186X Walter J. Damrosch in the Bronx, where Eugene Adams began teaching in September 2019 before passing away in April 2020.

Eugene Adams gravitated toward special needs students who confronted the most difficult challenges. His dedication to them drove him to work unusually hard so that he could continuously get better at serving them.

His colleague Latasha Jones says, “Working in the field of special education is not easy. You have to have empathy, compassion, and be willing to serve your students with all your heart—which is what Mr. Adams did. He was always planning and preparing ways to make learning engaging for his students, arriving every day at 7:00 a.m. and staying late in the afternoon to plan for the next day. Mr. Adams was very big on building relationships and made sure his door was open to his students and colleagues if they needed a listening ear.”

His commitment to his students was evident during the first week of remote learning in March, when Mr. Adams purchased and personally delivered a birthday cake to one of his students who would be missing out on celebrating in school with his classmates. That student fondly recalls, “He was the first teacher I feel truly cared about me and my future. He used to tell me about his life in a way that felt like a father talking to a son, which meant so much to me because I have never really had a father.”

Striving to improve himself and the lives of his students, Mr. Adams was in the process of earning a doctoral degree when his life was tragically cut short by COVID-19. But in his short time with P186X, his care and compassion left an imprint that will last forever on his students and colleagues.