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Author Topic: Richard Sodikow  (Read 24595 times)
SherryHall
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« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2014, 08:59:32 PM »

From: Christopher Wheatley

Can't stop thinking of Richard stories....love how he gave the Bronx Science logo a female by drawing in 1 hair flip line....and the only person I have ever known to do the NYT Sunday crossword in under an hour.... who gave me such good advice when I was a new coach....and who could raise his voice above 100's--"Close the Doors"....an amazing man. VERY lucky to have known him and called him friend. Goodbye Richard....
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SherryHall
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« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2014, 08:59:58 PM »

From: Jane Boyd

He was one of the smartest men I have ever known. Told me once that he wrote questions for Jeopardy. Multitalented, kind, bigger than life itself.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2014, 09:09:15 PM »

From: Sarah Sheila Birnbachposted

For the many of you who are want to do something to honor the legacy of Richard Sodikow (my beloved uncle), donations can be made to the Richard B. Sodikow Policy Debate Endowment Fund at the National Speech and Debate Association. It is a fund that was set up by the association to honor my uncle and he had the good fortune to see it established before he died.

Thank you to so many of you for the amazing FB posts in his memory. They are a comfort to us.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2014, 09:13:33 PM »

From: Erik Branch

Saddened to hear of the death, on Sunday, of Mr. Richard Sodikow who was one of my most beloved teachers at the Bronx High School of Science, a brilliant teacher of English literature, especially Shakespeare, and a peerless debate coach, who had the most lasting influence on me. I still remember his lessons detailing the history of the English monarchy (we were studying Henry IV, Part I) as if it were yesterday — I even still know the succession of the kings of England from William the Conqueror to the present (although I get a little lost in the 13th century!). Ave atque vale...
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SherryHall
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« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2014, 09:14:32 PM »

From: Sarah Sheila Birnbach

Dear friends of my Uncle Richard,

My family and I are overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and affection for my beloved uncle. It is a source of consolation to know how deeply he was cared about.

His memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 25, at 10:00 am at
Beth Israel Memorial Chapel
11115 Jog Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33437

If anyone wishes to say a few words at his service, please be in touch with me directly.

Please share this message widely, as we know that he has reached many more lives than we could even begin to imagine.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2014, 09:16:14 PM »

From: Jim Menick

Richard Sodikow, debate god
My daughter asked if she could go home early from a tournament because a friend of hers had a car to drive her back. I was jealous. The car was a cute little sports convertible. “I remember one time,” Sodikow responded to this, “when I looked out the window at a tournament and saw a bunch of students driving around the parking lot in a convertible, none of them sitting in the seats, all of them standing up and acting like idiots. And then I realized, they were my idiots.”

*

Sodikow was one of the founders of the Mid-Hudson (now Metro-Hudson) League. He would always host the first-timers’ event. At the end of the day during the awards ceremony, he would ask the assembled novices if, A, they had enjoyed themselves, and B, if they had learned anything. If they could answer yes to both questions, they would be debaters for the next four years. During the awards ceremony now, I ask them the same questions, since those are the only two good reasons one ought to bother with debate, and if you can’t answer yes to both, what’s the point?

*

There was a point early in his career, he told me, when he had to decide between Stuyvesant and the Bronx. At the former, he probably would have gone more of a drama route, as compared to the debate route at the latter. And then he described with lust in his eyes to state-of-the-art theater complex Stuyvesant had later built in its new location. And then he shrugged. “I did manage to be New York Teacher of the Year, so I guess it worked out fine.”

*

I learned to tab, on index cards, at MHLs under Sodikow’s tutelage. He also tabbed Bump for me, back in the day, but not on index cards. When tabbing first went digital, it was on Macs only, and a testy program it was. While he would wait for the machine to calculate, he would slowly rub the chassis of his computer, presumably to relay to it warm and comfortable thoughts so that it wouldn’t crash, which it was prone to do more often than not. That’s my image of him in tab, staring off into space, massaging the rounds out of his laptop.

*

On the 6 hour bus ride home from Edison HS, below DC, in the wee hours, he would sit in the front seat on the right and sing opera just slightly above a whisper. 6 hours of opera.

*

Sister Raimonde, another debate god, ran the NYSFL with an iron hand. When she spoke, everyone listened. Back then, Soddie ran policy tab, in a building off by itself, running a bit late this particular year. While we were waiting for him and the results, the rest of the award ceremony was in full swing. The gym we were in was packed to the gills with forensicians, but as Sister Raimonde announced this and that, she commanded everyone’s complete attention. No one else would dare speak while she was on the podium. At the last possible moment, Soddie showed up with the results from policy and delivered them to Sister. She got to them a moment later, and said something to the effect that she especially wanted to thank Mr. Sodikow this year now that he was retiring. From somewhere in the gym, a shocked and stunned student’s voice immediately rang out into the otherwise respectful silence: “Sodikow’s retiring?”

The entire gymnasium broke out in hysterics. Then Sister Raimonde, who was not amused, raised an eyebrow. Silence returned immediately, and the awards ceremony concluded without further incident.

*

A student of mine was being dogged by a kid from another school who was totally infatuated with her, much to her dismay. At one tournament, he sidled up to her and gave her a little package with a necklace in it. She came to me asking what to do. “So this boy gave her a present,” I said to Sodikow. “She’s pregnant?” he immediately responded. “I hate when that happens.”

This particular incident, and this interchange, eventually worked their way into Nostrum.

*

Anyone reading Nostrum could tell that Manhattan Lodestone (“A Magnet School”) and its coach, Mr. Lo Pat, could only be Bronx Science (transported to midtown) and Sodikow. The Round Robin, the unique LD topic, the fearsome debate god—what else could it be? When Nostrum came back for a second series, after a long break, Sodikow had long been retired, and in the new series, Mr. Lo Pat was also no longer at Manhattan Lodestone, having been replaced by Halefoil Cumcut, who was loosely based on Jon Cruz. Art imitates life, and all that. Of course, in fiction, Mr. Lo Pat had been set upon by the unknown “Halibut Killer,” and one of the regrets I have about Nostrum is never explaining who, indeed, was the wielder of that deadly samurai sword. Anyhow, I am proud to say that, when I began putting together the final ultimate version earlier this year, I found among the correspondence of Jules O’Shaughnessy and the Vast Nostrumian Army fan mail I had forgotten from RBS himself.

It was the best note I ever got. I figured if Sodikow liked Nostrum, I had won over my most important audience.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2014, 09:17:43 PM »

From: Tarik Najeddine
 
When I was in high school I was told I needed to join a team or else I wouldn't get into college. Since I'm a skinny chap, it came down to Speech & Debate or Cross Country. Richard Sodikow, the coordinator of the Debate team convinced me in under an hour to tell track to go fuck itself. Over the next 3 years, he taught me how to wear a vest, hook my pocket watch properly, project my voice & speak clearly and passionately. His lieutenants taught me to cite my sources, research journalistic claims and construct coherent & compelling arguments. While I never made it to the "Worlds" or anything super impressive, I went to Nationals for Extemporaneous Speech twice, and placed in the finals at National Student Congress Championships my Senior Year of HS.

He passed away last night. I'm not really sure what to say besides thank you. Everyone who knows me as a clever storyteller or a passionate arguer, he's why. He will be missed, and he probably didn't even remember me. That's how many kids he helped. (Thanks Jon for carrying on his legacy, I know he was so proud of what you've built.)
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SherryHall
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« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2014, 09:18:52 PM »

From: Francisco Albert
 
Saddened to hear the news about Richard Sodikow. While I joined The Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team after he had left his legacy and vision for debate continued to fill the halls of our Forensics Department. He always struggled, often times sacrificing his own self, to make sure that students had the opportunity to debate. He paved the way for many future generations of Bronx Science students so they can learn the tools of advocacy and argumentation. My heart goes out to all of those that knew him closely and were directly influence by his brilliance. I can't be thankful enough for everything that all my debate mentors have taught me and I can only imagine what it would be like to lose any of them. Rest in peace Dr. Sodikow, your love for Bronx Science debate will continue to live on forever.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2014, 06:45:58 AM »

From: Patrick Wheaton

I knew him from summer workshops. Every year we traveled to the Bronx tournament from Virginia -- my maternal grandparents lived in the Bronx. In 1981, my coach could not make the trip, so my father drove us the 8 hours from Virginia. I recall that Mr. Sodikow, in the midst of running a tournament, took my father under his wing -- my father was just learning to judge debates. He was indeed an icon of the debate community.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2014, 06:46:40 AM »

From: Allan Louden

One of my very favorite colleagues, his contribution to generations across many decades is a legacy worth living. He made a difference . . .
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SherryHall
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« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2014, 08:25:36 PM »

From: Jonathan Alston

Rest in peace, Richard. You meant a great deal to the Newark Science Debate program. Richard Sodikow was the long-time debate coach at the Bronx High School of Science. Brent Farrand made sure that we never forget the special debts we owe to the people who believed in us and helped us from the start.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2014, 08:29:34 PM »

From: Jon Cruz

I can't begin to thank all of you for the many kind words you have shared about my great friend and mentor, the founder of The Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team, Richard Sodikow.

Richard's family is holding a memorial service on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at Beth Israel Boynton Chapel (11115 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, Florida) at 10:00 AM.
Additionally, the Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team is hosting a memorial for Richard on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at the Bronx High School of Science (75 West 205th Street, Bronx, New York) at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Richard B. Sodikow Memorial Fund for Speech & Debate established to formalize and encourage financial contributions from supporters of the Speech & Debate Team. Here is a link to more information: www.bxscience.edu/sodikow
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SherryHall
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« Reply #57 on: May 08, 2014, 08:50:31 AM »

From: Kim Liao
 
I'm still in disbelief and denial that we've lost one of the founders of present day high school forensics. Without him and his tenacious efforts to build this program, I don't know where or who I would be today. I'm so glad I had a chance to meet, learn from, travel with, laugh with, and share some amazing memories with him. Rest in peace Richard Sodikow. P.S. I still get a fright when I see a black cane anywhere...
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SherryHall
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« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2014, 08:51:43 AM »

From: Robert Samuels

Here's some more information about memorial services for Mr. Richard Sodikow. Spread the word, and hopefully I'll see you all on June 7.
The entire team has been moved by the outpouring of love that has been expressed for Mr. Sodikow since his passing. The comments on this page, on Jon Cruz's page, on Kirby Chin's page, and on the pages of so many of Mr. Sodikow's former students and colleagues are truly overwhelming.

Mr. Sodikow's family is holding a memorial service on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at Beth Israel Boynton Chapel (11115 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, Florida) at 10:00 AM.

Additionally, the Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team is hosting a memorial for Mr. Sodikow on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at the Bronx High School of Science (75 West 205th Street, Bronx, New York) at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Richard B. Sodikow Memorial Fund for Speech & Debate established to formalize and encourage financial contributions from supporters of the Speech & Debate Team. Here is a link to more information: www.bxscience.edu/sodikow
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