By Kenton Wu and Camellia Ye
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Social Studies Curriculum Associate and singing legend, Scott Eckers! Mr. Eckers’ voice fills the auditorium with a majestic tenor as he sings “Lift Yourself Up,” his most well known song, and the audience gives a standing ovation. Then he bows with a radiant smile as wide as a crescent moon and walks off the stage while the cheers have not yet begun to falter. What a voice. Can you hear it?
With a voice like that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mr. Eckers has been singing almost his entire life and has gone professional. What is surprising, however, is Mr. Eckers’ lengthy list of additional achievements. In addition to being a talented professional singer, he is an inspiring teacher, a camp director, the author of a book on the history of East Meadow, a member of the popular Jewish a capella group called Shir Soul, a master of the Yiddish language, and a stage lighting and sound designer.
The common thread among this web of accomplishments is Mr. Eckers’s desire to bring joy to the lives of others. When asked about the proudest moment in his brilliant singing career, he didn’t refer to the time he sang at Lincoln Center with the Binghamton Crosbys, his college a capella group that was a four-time national finalist, or to the time he performed the last act at the last family-run Catskill hotel. Instead, he takes pride in “bringing smiles to people” by singing at senior citizen and community centers.
Even as a teacher of a challenging AP course on U.S. History and the distributor of some pretty difficult DIRTs (Did You Read the Textbook?), Mr. Eckers still manages to spread his passion for learning and history. One notable instance where he achieved the impossible was when he roused a classroom packed with silent, sullen juniors still feeling the effects of a tough Monday and transformed it into a impromptu chorus. To elaborate, Mr. Eckers hand wrote a song titled “Foreign Trade” about the tedious economic theory of mercantilism and set it to the melody of the 2010 hit “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Just to give a hint of this creative genius and teacher extraordinaire, here are some of the most memorable lines. Good luck getting them out of your head:
That is what we do.
When you trade with other places,
Then they want to trade with you.”
As the cheery vessel of an infinite amount of history fun facts (Did you know that the sign “Ye Olde Shoppe” at the Renaissance fair is really just pronounced “The Old Shop”?) and having a background in the show business, Mr. Eckers never fails to produce a stimulating and entertaining history class. It’s almost like being in the front row and witnessing a seasoned performer’s perfect act.
Students everywhere can take a lesson from Mr. Eckers, a man of many talents therefore making him a very busy man. Besides teaching at Wheatley, he is currently completing a doctorate in learning and teaching and is a part-time professional singer with his own gigs and with Shir Soul. As a result, he is often up very late, a common plight familiar to many students. However, he has picked up many tricks in discipline and time-management, traits many of us lack, that help him manage his large load. From his years as a camp director he has learned how to plan ahead; immediately after eight summer weeks of pure happiness, he starts planning again in the fall for next year’s round of fun. He always stays on top of deadlines by keeping a good calendar and following through, and in his own words, “the most important thing in prioritizing is knowing how to manage different areas in order to succeed in all of them.”
Mr. Eckers is fully aware of the daunting task of multitasking through life so whether you need help with prioritizing, learning social studies, or even developing a singing career, a visit to Mr. Ecker’s desk in the social studies office is sure to do the trick. On the off chance that it doesn’t, at least you’ll leave with a kick in your step, smile on your face, and a song in your heart.