Everyone who goes to C&C knows Gino Crocetti. No one could miss his outgoing attitude and hilarious T-shirts that say things such as “Geology Rocks.” He is one of the teachers who has been at the school the longest and deserves to be celebrated. Gino was a student in the Xs. He has become a huge part of C&C over the years.
Gino’s life started right before the Baby Boom of 1946. “I generally don’t have many complaints about my childhood,” said Gino. “I was an only human child, but my sister was an Old English Sheepdog. I had her from ages two to 17. She lived an extremely long life probably because she was always so happy.”
“Her common name was Pandy, full name was Pandora Waterfall Puddleby. Pandora because she always stuck her nose in everything, Waterfall because that was the kennel she was born at, and Puddleby because that’s where Dr. Dolittle lived. In Puddleby-On-Marsh.”
Gino moved around a lot before he attended C&C. “I moved seven times. Just a few of those places are Brooklyn, Pennsylvania, two places in New Jersey, and back to Manhattan.”
Gino attended P.S. 41 until 1955. “I left P.S. 41 because my mother and father had studied with John Dewey at Columbia University. One day my mother and I walked past C&C and she stopped and said, ‘I didn't know they were still around.’ I applied the next day.”
There were 196 students at C&C when Gino was a student here.
“My favorite subject was Math. I was in the group that went far in Math.” No surprise, but Gino’s favorite teacher was his XIs teacher, Georgia (Georgie) Burch. “Fantastic Math teacher. I learned a tremendous amount that year.”
Gino stayed at C&C for four years until he had to apply to high school. “After graduation, I moved to Baltimore since my parents were at Johns Hopkins Medical School.” There, Gino went to Baltimore City College, “which is a high school.”
After high school, Gino moved back to New York and attended Columbia for college. “I majored in Philosophy of Science.”
However, Gino also had other interests. “The first part of college, I was very active in the theater group, maybe even too distracted.”
By the time the Vietnam War had begun and Gino was drafted. “As an alternative to being drafted into the army, I worked at a psychiatric hospital. The hospital’s name was the New York State Psychiatric Institute.” This hospital was associated with Columbia Medical School. “I think I learned to a great deal there.” But after his two years of working at the hospital, Gino went back to school and finished college.
Since Gino was going onto the next step of his life, he did a variety of publishing, academic, and counter-culture activities then focused on test preparation for teaching and writing books. In addition to writing some test preparation books, Gino wrote a book on new food product development.
In 1980, Gino started working at C&C. “I had given some lab equipment to the Science teacher and asked him in the summer of 1980 if I could come and watch some classes that fall. He said the position was actually open since he was leaving for law school and I got the job as the Science teacher.”
Gino also helped Marty Nachbar with the introduction of computers to the school. “We just had one [computer] to start with.”
Now, most people may wonder what Gino does in his free time. “Read a lot. All kinds of things. Fiction and nonfiction. But I do a lot of miscellaneous stuff at school. Shop, Science, Math, APL. I was the Building Manager for a few years in the 1980s. It was much smaller then since we did not have the 12th Street side.”
“Aside from reading and finding out about things, I do a fairly good amount of scuba diving. I am an advanced open water diver with some specialties. I have dived a couple of thousand times. I started diving when I lived in the Virgin Islands which was from 1973 to 1975, I dove a lot there and I have dived fairly often since. My most recent major diving experience was six weeks in Australia. But a couple of decades ago I also went on three CEDAM trips to collect fish for the New York Aquarium.”
“I always liked telling people what to do,” Gino said with a smile. “My father and mother were both professors.”
Gino has become an important figure at C&C and has devoted much of his time to teaching and helping students succeed. “The best part of teaching is the students. I don’t have a family and I don’t have kids. I have been having a good time for 39 years.”