Former student pens ‘a farewell note to a beloved teacher’ following death of Rick Royer

Rick Royer and his wife Stephanie posed with Royer’s students at the end of the 2012 school year — his last in a four decade teaching career. Photo via Facebook.

Former SM East math teacher Rick Royer left an impression on generations of students over the course of his four decades at the school.

And in the wake of his death Sept. 26, some are taking the time to share their appreciation of his skill as an educator and the impact he had on their lives.

Jack Peterson, who graduated from SM East in 2008, has penned a “farewell note to a beloved teacher” and shared it with us:

Mr. Royer was a light.

During both years I had him as a teacher, I always looked forward to the time I got to spend in his class. Some days it was because I was eager to hear whatever story he was going to tell that day. Some days it was because I heard we were going to finish early, and he was likely to let us work on a crossword puzzle.

Some days – more than just a few – it was because I appreciated the way he taught us math. He’s the reason I went to college planning to be a math major. (I decided that wasn’t the path for me, a decision I think he’d completely understand!)

It’s amazing to think he taught for 40 years in the same halls, and that for 40 years he had students like me happy to step into his classroom, cheered by his presence in the hallway, and hopeful he’d share one more story with us before class let out.

I hope he knew how much he meant to us. I’m sure he did, but teenagers don’t always adequately express our appreciation for adults in the moment.

I’ll always appreciate his smile, and his honesty when he wasn’t feeling like smiling. And most of all, I’ll miss the light that he brought into our school, into our lives, every single day.

Thanks to Jack for sending this in. If you’ve got a memory of Mr. Royer you’d like to share, email it to us here and we’ll add it to this post.

UPDATE: Former student Brittany Mitchell send in this remembrance:

I am so sad to hear about the passing of Mr. Royer, and felt compelled to send a note in his memory. Mr. Royer was one of the greats of so many wonderful teachers at SME. I graduated in 2001, and did not do ANYTHING related to math, BUT he was the first teacher that made math FUN. I looked forward to his classes, and was pushed by them. If my memory is correct, I took Calculus 1 & 2, and an elective class, called “Discrete math” from Mr. Royer. I can’t remember most of what I learned now, but for a teacher to be so great at teaching math that you choose to take an elective math class, says something about his caliber of teaching. To put this in perspective, I’m a creative person, and often joke that I “don’t do numbers;” the rest of my electives were art classes. That elective was always full, to my memory, not because of the subject matter, but because he taught it. His calculus classes allowed me to get college credit so I was able to avoid math altogether (and proceed with an art major!). He had a clear way of teaching, made learning fun, had great stories, and made us laugh in class. I’ll always remember him as one of my favorite teachers at SME, and what a legacy- 40 years! Truly amazing. He’ll be remembered by so many, missed, and touched so many lives through his teaching.