Physical Education and Health Teacher
“Virtually every child Mr. Barcelo encountered has stated that he was their father figure and positive role model. He truly made every child feel like they were important. Reading posts after his passing from students he had 15 years ago, the sentiment is the same: ‘he was like my dad.’”
— Julie Princivil, on his longtime colleague of Louis S. Barcelo, who taught Physical Education and Health at P.S./M.S. 280 Mosholu Parkway for 26 years and served the DOE for 32 years before passing away in April at age 54.
In many school communities, there’s one special educator whose distinctive personality and ability to connect serves as a unifying force in the school’s culture. For decades at P.S./M.S. 280 Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx, that person was Louis Barcelo, known to everyone as “Mr. B”.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Barcelo supervised breakfast and lunch, talking non-stop with students as he meandered through the cafeteria. Principal James Weeks describes Mr. Barcelo as “an amazing person, full of energy and love for everyone, especially the students.”
Mr. Barcelo’s famous T-shirts expressed his passion for his work, including: “TEACHING, the hardest job you’ll ever LOVE,” and “Love to Teach, Teach to Love!” Ever the dedicated educator, shortly before he passed, Mr. Barcelo sent a video to his beloved school community, ending his personal message with a cheerful thumbs-up and a reminder: “Bye-bye, and don’t forget to do your remote learning!”
On a tribute page filled with many dozens of remembrances from colleagues and students, one comment in particular captures what made Mr. B. so special:
"He was REAL with the students. He talked to them, he laughed with them, he told it like it was when they were acting up, and always lovingly and patiently shared his wisdom with them. He would say, ‘You have to treat people the way you want to be treated’ and modeled that respect and loving kindness with every single person. On the playground, he would connect the lonely child with the group and always made sure each kid was playing fair and with respect. He led the entire cafeteria in singing happy birthday to make kids feel EXTRA loved. And he always shared his special message, ‘Have a good day, Mr. Barcelo loves you guys, and please make the right choices!’ I used to tell him all the time, ‘Those words are what kids will remember!’”
And he will be remembered. After Mr. Barcelo passed away, dozens of his former students returned to the school to light candles in his honor. One student put words to the lasting impact Mr. B leaves behind: “He taught me how to tie a tie when I was a little kid. He taught me how to be professional and be the best person I can be. Now I’m going to try to live my life like him and show the love to others that he showed me.”