Goodbye Mr. Kissel: A tribute to McNick’s Student Moderator

There are teachers who can make an impact on a person or class and then there are people who can affect a whole school community, like McNick Student Moderator, Mr. Gerard Kissel. If you see Kissel in the halls, you know you’ll always be greeted with smile and greeting of “How you doing, brother?” or “How’s it going, sweetheart?” and as some students said, he’s the only person who can make you feel good about getting a detention. Unfortunately, though, at the end of the 2015-2016 school year Kissel will be retiring from the halls of McNick.

Kissel started at McNicholas High in 1989 as a religion teacher teaching Lifestyle, Old Testament, and Morality and then in the early-90s, he became the Student Moderator as well. For the first couple of years he continued doing both jobs until the mid-90s when he became the full time Student Moderator. He has stayed as the Student Moderator since then and has become known as a friend and advocate of the students as well also being able to discipline them when they need it. He has chaperoned numerous field trips each year and in the winter, goes to Perfect North with Ski Club every Monday as their moderator.

Students and teachers reflected on Kissel’s years at McNick and why he will be missed. Religion teacher and ’04 alum David Sandmann said, “I always remember how he stands outside his door in junior hall every day and greets all the students walking past. He knows everyone’s name and he knows them personally.”

Junior Christiane Hazzard’s favorite memory of Kissel is when she forgot to put water in her mac and cheese and started a fire in the microwave. “Kissel made announcements to remind students to not forget to put water in their mac and cheese and even put signs up at the microwaves so we would never forget,” Hazzard said. “His five minute lunch marks will be missed as well” Hazzard added.

Senior Sierra Meyer said, “He was the nicest person ever to give me a detention,” while junior Valerie Lane said, “He actually cares about us. I can walk out of his office with a detention and a smile.”

“The thing I will miss the most about Kissel is his happy demeanor and hellos in the hall,” junior Jacob Robb said. “He reminds me of Santa Claus, since he’s always so jolly.”

Reminiscing about his years at McNick, Kissel said that every year he has wonderful memories. “It’s all been fun,” he said. Next year Kissel plans on doing “a whole lot of nothing” and wants to explore the options that present themselves to him. “I’d like to go back to school,” Kissel said. “Not for the grade but just to learn new things.” Kissel, who loves woodworking, and has even carved different pieces for the school such as the cross in the lobby and the coffins for the theatre, plans on taking woodworking classes to learn new techniques. He will still miss the students of McNick, though. “McNick is a great place to be,” he said. “I truly believe the students and community of McNick is the best in the city.”

Student Moderator Gerard Kissel is retiring at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Kissel started at McNick in 1989 and has become an iconic figure in the McNicholas community.

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