Robert Zechiel - Douglas Intermediate School

by Taylor Viydo, 
They call him "Mister Zeke." 
"I have been called [that] since I was in fourth grade when there were three 'Roberts' in my class," says Robert Zechiel. It's a name he has gone by for the past 35 years as a teacher at Douglas Intermediate School. 
35 years in Douglas has made for quite a career for Mr. Zeke, but it's an experience that has never gotten old. "One of the things about teaching that is wonderful is it seems like there's something new every day," he says. 
Zeke admits no one student is alike either. But if you were to ask any of Mr. Zeke's students about him, you would probably get the same response. "He involves every single kid and he really makes every single activity fun. And he's just a really good teacher," says Douglas 5th grader Noel Black. 
Other students take notice of Zeke's laid-back and sometimes humorous teaching style. "If we don't get our work done he'll knock on our heads and say 'Is anyone in there?'" says 5th grader Kaleb Cropper. "He's just a really great teacher." 
Believe it or not, some parents of Zeke's students might even be able to give you similar comments. "I have now taught probably the equivalent of a class or a class and a half of children of former students," says Zeke.
At the end of this year, Zeke plans to retire and go on "summer vacation" full time. While he'll have to leave behind the desks, lesson plans, and books, he'll always have the memories of making a lasting impact in the lives of hundreds of children in Douglas. "It gives me a great feeling to think that I made that kind of difference in their life and that they remember somebody that far back in their education."

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