Al Siedlecki — or “Sie,” as his students call him — has been teaching science at Medford Memorial Middle School in New Jersey for more than three decades.
But a few years back, as Sie was helping a group of students study for a test, something happened that in all his years of teaching had never happened before:
As it turns out, the doctor on the phone was Lee Buono, who was one of Sie’s students back in the 1980s. Today, he’s a neurosurgeon. At StoryCorps, the two sat down to tell the rest of their story.
Click here for the transcript.
Al Siedlecki (AS): I picked the phone up and you go, "Hey, it's Lee Buono." I say, "Lee, what's goin' on man? I haven't heard from you since you were in high school." And you said: "I want to thank you." I was flabbergasted. I said, "Of all the people in your entire career, you want to thank me?" It was the same feeling I had when ... when my kids were born. And I started to cry. It made me feel really important that I had that influence on you. Lately, I almost am afraid to say that I'm a teacher to some people. But I'm not ... because you called me. I'm a teacher, and I'm going to help as many people as I can to find their passion too.