Michael Aymar’s motto is “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.” – W.B. Yeats
Michael Aymar was an influential man, working with what he called “God’s best thing” – children. As a Jersey City native, he was educated by St. Anthony of Padua School and St. Peter’s Preparatory School, where he grew an instantaneous passion for the Catholic educational traditions.
As he attended NYU to become a bond trader, he realized this wasn’t his true purpose here on Earth. His genuine calling was somewhere else. Although working in Wall Street gave him a prize possession that he was eternally grateful for – his dear wife, Amanda – he knew it was time to leave the industry. He reminiscenced about a place that was very dear to his heart and decided he wanted to return and give back to the place that gave him so much meaning. As he returned to his neighborhood across the Hudson River, he began to teach at St. Anthony of Padua.
Aymar taught in Catholic schools for 22 years. He was an intellectual man who loved reading and inspired students with humor as he infused fun filled English lessons. He was selfless by not only generously sharing his heart and mind, but also food and clothing for students in need. In their efforts to gain his approval, they gained confidence, self-reliance and a lifelong love of learning.
Aymar’s legacy will forever touch a plethora of lives. With each individual relationship he had with his students, it was a bond so strong and unique that they’ll always cherish. Here’s what they had to say:
- “Mr. Aymar was the reason I fell in love with reading and writing and the English language. So much of who I am today, including my hobbies and passions, can be traced back to his seventh grade classroom. When I won my first writing contest in fifth grade, he gave me a box of beautiful ribbons and told me to tie them around my first published book before giving it to him. I wanted him to be proud of me, but I never found the right words to thank him for everything. How do you tell someone that he’s made you the person you are without sounding overly sentimental or dramatic?” said Caitlin Michelle, who majored in English. Michelle landed her first job at the Writing Center in college, and became a middle school English teacher herself.
- “Not many teachers can have a profound effect on you and your life. After you leave, you slowly forget the teachers, the hallways and the school. But sometimes, a teacher can have an impact on your life that will resonate with you for your whole life. It has been almost 15 years but I can never forget all that you have taught us,” said Palak Doshi.
- “He was more than a teacher to me and my class. He was a father figure. I’m honestly at a loss for words. The world lost a beautiful soul who touched so many lives. To Peter and Mrs. Aymar, my heart and prayers are with you. Although he is gone from this world, you have gained a beautiful angel. Thank you for sharing him with us. Until we meet again Mr. Aymar. I love you always,” said Maria Taysha.
As he battled cancer, his everlasting faith and supportive family made his death purposeful with the creation of the Michael Aymar Foundation. The non-profit organization honors Aymar’s continuing spirit, creating unity within the community and sharing the passion of education for all to relish. The organization will be hosting an event on Saturday, April 23 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the home of Mrs. Michael Aymar at 16 Helen Ave. in West Orange. Please RSVP by April 19 to 973-454-2101- or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot attend, but would love to contribute to keep his efforts alive, please take the time to subscribe and/or donate.