By Seth Daniel
Long-time Revere High (RHS) history and English teacher Richard Caprio died rather suddenly on Dec. 27 while undergoing a routine treatment at the hospital.
Caprio, 64, began his teaching career in 1981 at Christopher Columbus High School in Boston, and then transferred over to Dom Savio High School in East Boston, serving from 1986-1998. In 1998, he came to Revere High School and has taught history and English – or some combination thereof.
“Rick was actually licensed in both history and English and he went between the two, sometimes history and sometimes English,” said Supt. Dianne Kelly. “He actually came up with the ‘History of Boston’ and ‘History of Revere’ courses for us that were very popular with students. He was very down to earth and had a great connection with the kids. He saw that connection as one of the most important parts to teaching, and he was correct…His life was teaching. Despite challenges, he was up and out at 6 a.m. to come here. It was a passion and a calling for him. It wasn’t just a job.”
Kelly told staff members in a letter that even though Caprio had health concerns over the years, his passing on Dec. 27 was very unexpected and unrelated to that.
Teachers and students held a short memorial for Caprio on Tuesday morning, and an official remembrance will take place on Jan. 12 at Vazza’s on Beach Street.
RHS teacher and coach Joe Ciccarello was a co-worker and a former student of Caprio’s. Ciccarello said the two were very close going back to his days as a student at Savio.
“He was my teacher in high school at Savio, and I also taught with him at Savio for three years and here for the past 19 years,” said Ciccarello. “I always found it amazing how he can infuse humor into every lesson. He was extremely knowledgeable of not only textbook history material, but also of worldly events. However, all this aside, he knew to put relationships with kids first above all else. He understood, more than most that we are in the people-business and understanding them and dealing with them is paramount to anything we can deliver to them in a textbook.”
Ciccarello said more than a few teachers and students recognized that quality, and admired it.
“Kids loved him for that; I know I did as his student,” added Ciccarello. “Furthermore, he was one of my mentors as I became a teacher and I always tried to incorporate his style into my everyday teaching. I will be forever grateful for our friendship and his mentoring. He will be sorely missed.”
Already, a neighbor of Caprio’s has started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses – explaining that because of his health issues in life, he wasn’t able to get life insurance. That page went up about a week ago with a goal of collecting $5,000.
By Tuesday, Jan. 3, that fund had collected nearly $10,000.
Scanning the names of those that have donated, one can easily see numerous colleagues from Revere High School and former students. Sometimes, like Ciccarello, there were former students and colleagues – many sharing a moving story about their great teacher with the donation.
“If you look through that page online, you’ll see a lot of his colleagues’ names who have donated,” said Kelly. “That’s a testament to how they felt about him.”