Farewell to Sahuaro’s Justin Timberlake


Mekayla Phan, Features Editor

The Math-Street Boys shot to fame at the last Spirit Week’s pep assembly after they sang a cover of Backstreet Boys’s hit “I Want It That Way”.  Their smart song choice and Mr. Van Gelder’s powerful vocals secured them a win in the battle of “Math vs. English”. However, now they are unfortunately losing their lead sinfer. Sahuaro’s Algebra II teacher of three years and beloved lead singer of  the “Math-Street Boys”, Mr. Bryan Van Gelder, is leaving Sahuaro.

Mr. Van Gelder is transferring to teach 7th grade math at Gridley Middle School. He says it is hard leaving Sahuaro, but it was an easy decision to make since his oldest son Kaden will be entering the 7th grade at the school next year. His youngest son Keeran will be going into the 5th grade. Mr. Van Gelder came across the job position by pure chance, and he is looking forward to being closer to his sons, and Kaden seems psyched as well.

“He’s actually excited for it. He thinks it will be fun, and it will be fun because we get to go to school together,” Mr. Van Gelder says of what Kaden thinks about going to school with his dad. “Usually if a teacher has their own child as their student, they tend to be harder on them. So, I said to him that ‘you might hope that you don’t get me as a math teacher’.” Of course, having your own personal math tutor is always an advantage.

“My plan right now is to work there as long it takes to get both my kids through middle school…I’m probably looking for four years. At that point if I love it I will stay, but if I miss high school I will look around and see what’s available,” Mr. Van Gelder explains. However, he says it would be cool if he could come back because he really does love Sahuaro and teaching Algebra II to the juniors.

He will especially miss the relationships he has here. “I have great friendships here, we have a band. I will still be a part of that, but we just won’t have the same close conversations where I can go next door…” Mr. Van Gelder says regretfully. One of his greatest memories at Sahuaro was at the pep assembly.  But not just an amazing baritone, a collector of Coca-Cola memorabilia, and Pearl Jam fan, Mr. Van Gelder hopes to be remembered as “someone who enjoys what they do, who can be a teacher and person you can have a conversation with…”

“I am going to miss this place a lot. I really do like it here so much. But I take comfort that I’m just going down the road, and I’m still teaching the same subject. And I’m going to be teaching students who will be coming to Sahuaro, so I feel good that I’m going to keep the relationships with the people here and I’ve already been talking to the teachers to see if we want to continue to work together with a larger plan to get students easily, nicely, and successfully to Sahuaro.”

The Math-Street Boys say farewell to their Justin Timberlake of the group:

Mr. Christian:We are going to miss him a lot because he’s a really talented teacher and a big part of our band. Hopefully we are going to work with him at Gridley. So we can contact with him and see how things are going there… Math-Street Boys aren’t the same without him.” 

Mrs. Stedman: “Hey Bryan, it’s Kathy from next door! Really going to miss popping into your class and making sure everything is okay, so best of luck to you. I know you made the best choice and the wisest choice. And you’re not a flake, you really aren’t. See you soon.” 

Mr. Collingwood:“I will miss him a lot. He was really a great teacher, we will miss him a lot at school.”

Mr. Wells: “In the famous words, until we meet again.” 

Link to Performance: https://youtu.be/6FnSpa8kGuk

Fun facts about Mr. Van Gelder: https://shsthepapercut.com/4453/features/gr8-fun-facts-about-mr-van-gelder/

Thanks to Mr, Van Gelder for the hard work you put here at this school. Once a Cougar, always a Cougar – we all wish you well on your new journey.