By Sophia Alexandrou
Last month, the White Plains High School community lost one of its most valuable members. Jim Barrego passed away peaceful on May 10, 2020 and has left behind a legacy that many will remember years after they graduate. He worked as a substitute teacher from 1978 to March 2020. In the years he spent with White Plains High School, he has won Teacher of the Year twice and had a yearbook dedicated to him. He could always be seen walking around the halls with his lunch bag in his hand and a smile on his face.
Mr. Barrego grew up in West Harrison, New York, and attended Archbishop Stepinac High School and Iona College. He received a Masters Degree in Education, specializing in Spanish. In addition, from 1970 to 1972, he served in the US Army. His passions included his faith, his family, old movies, and the New York Yankees. He could often be seen wearing his DiMaggio shirt to school.
Mr. Barrego had an incredible memory. He had memorized complete Yankee trivia from 1960s on and was extremely knowledgeable about movies, particularly Laurel and Hardy and Hopalong Cassidy. Using the digests found the Media Center, he would study every aspect of these films. He knew every actor, every credit, and every year the films were distributed.
His passion for teaching and lifting the spirits of students will never be forgotten. One student on whom Mr. Barrego has made an impact says, “Mr. B was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He gave us cookies during class, danced with us, and was always so sweet. He left a mark in every class he substituted for and he will be greatly missed. We will never forget everything he did for us.” Jim Barrego was unique in the sense that substitute teachers rarely make such a large impact on a school community. If you saw him sitting at the desk your teacher usually sits at, you knew it was going to be a good class. He was a valuable member of our community and our lives and will be greatly missed.