November 4, 2016

The Man Behind the Beard

Etai Barash ‘18

In his first class with the 11th grade, Mr. Dennis Kozar’s experience shined through.
“Have you guys ever heard of the 22 pushup challenge?” he asked. “Strive for that.”
Typically after stretches, gym teachers encourage students to do 10 to 20 pushups. However, Mr. Kozar brought some excitement to the class. Junior Noah Brown immediately took note, saying, “now that’s a good sell.”
The newest member of Golda Och Academy’s athletics program, Mr. Kozar is an eight-year professional in physical education, health and driver's education. When asked how she thinks Mr. Kozar will do at GOA, Athletics Director Mrs. Janet Herman said, “Well, I am the one who hired him.”
Mr. Kozar serves as a physical education and yoga teacher, as well as coach for middle school girls soccer and boys Junior Varsity basketball. He has excelled in all fields and his eagerness to help shows in each activity he leads.
Those who have spent time around Mr. Kozar know that he has fit in well.
“He’s made a real easy entry and has mixed in well,” Mrs. Herman said.
Similarly, boys Varsity basketball coach and fellow gym teacher Sandy Pyonin said that “he does a good job” and is “looking forward to working with him.”
Not only does Mr. Kozar play and coach sports, but he is a fan of all sports as well. Mr. Kozar’s interests span across multiple leagues. He is passionate about all things relating to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Manchester United Red Devils, New York Red Bulls and New York Rangers.
Mr. Kozar’s accomplishments as a physical education instructor are impressive, but perhaps he is best known for his most outstanding quality – his beard.
“He must have a lot of cough drops because he’s got a beard like the Smith brothers,” Pyonin said, referencing the illustrations on boxes of Smith Brothers’ cough drops.
Many students are interested in Mr. Kozar’s beard maintenance, as it takes a lot of effort to keep in top-notch condition. He has many beard products, such as beard oil and a beard comb. It’s not easy to maintain, but it certainly pays off.
Mr. Kozar’s beard is approaching “yeard” status, the term for a year-old beard. However, the beard does not make him feel superior in a school with baby-faces everywhere. Rather, he said it makes him feel “distinguished.”
Because of his experience as a teacher and his majestic beard, Mr. Kozar has found a way to connect with the students.
“Talking with Mr. Kozar has left a huge impact on my life,” junior Jake Halpern said. “It was probably the beard.”
Another student of his, junior Yael Liebman, seemed to sum it up perfectly.
“Mr. Kozar knows so much,” she said. “That’s why his beard is so big – it’s full of secrets.”

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