Hartman worked at Christ the King for 10 years and coached the high school’s math team to a number one ranking statewide during the 2012-13 school year, among other achievements. His knowledge was only surpassed by his dedication to his students.
Two of his former students, Joe Pennolino, who will be a senior at Christ the King in September, and Alex Singh, a Christ the King graduate, were with Hartman during his final days and remember him for the unyielding support he gave to everyone who knew him.
“Mr. Richard Hartman was a man of pure brilliance with an unlimited passion for teaching,” Pennolino said. “He was always willing to help and was never too busy to [help] the next student in need of assistance. Though he was taken from us too soon, his love for teaching will never be forgotten.”
Over the years, Pennolino and Singh formed a strong bond with Hartman during the math tutoring lessons he would hold every day at the high school. That bond quickly transformed from one of student-and-teacher to a deep friendship.
“We developed a father-son relationship just because we were always together and anything that I needed or he needed we helped each other out, so we were always there for each other,” Singh said. “We always watched movies together. He would come over on the weekends…he loved game shows.”
Hartman cared for his students so much that he would hold tutoring sessions outside of the school and for students from other high schools in the area. He would be there for anybody who needed his help, the students said.
“His job as a teacher and his dedication to students never stopped…if a student called him and asked him a question he would stop whatever he was doing, wherever he was and make sure he found the answer,” Singh said. “He would always try to be there for the students.”
The dedication and care Hartman had for his students was returned as Pennolino and Singh visited the teacher while he was in the hospital battling cancer.
“The nights Alex and I were at the hospital were very difficult because we watched Mr. Hartman struggle to get better, but we knew how happy he was to see us there,” Pennolino said.
When they learned of Hartman’s death, his former students couldn’t believe the news.
“It was a shock because the day before I saw him and he was walking around the room. He was doing well. I couldn’t believe it,” Singh said. “It was a shock. Everything stopped for two days. I didn’t know what to do.”
“I didn’t understand it until the second or third day that he wasn’t going to be in school anymore,” Pennolino added.
Hartman’s legacy will live on in the students that he cared so much for and all of the people who knew him.