Teacher Nicknames

By David Kaminsky

“Ms. Alfonso” is a phrase rarely heard here at Briarcliff High School. Instead of abiding by tradition and referring to all teachers by formal titles and surnames, the custom of a more casual nickname has gradually spread, fostering a more comfortable atmosphere in which students feel at ease to converse with their teachers during class and approach them for help. This practice has diffused from one or two teachers to several of the faculty, perhaps most notably with Ms. Alfonso and Mr. Sandomenico.  Though occasionally to the teachers’ chagrin, these nicknames are almost unanimously cherished by the students and are considered an important addition to the Briarcliff community.

Arguably the most used moniker, especially among the seniors, is “B,” for Mr. Bordonaro. This is also one of the fastest to have caught on, from “my first day teaching” B elaborates. He continues on the iconic shortening, from the full “Bordonaro” to “Mr. B” to simply “B.” The name, which spawned roughly six years ago, has endured at school and is still in frequent use, if one were to ask nearly any senior or upperclassman.


Mr. Sandomenico, or Sandy, is perhaps just as common a nickname as “B.” Sandy, who is known for teaching earth science and physics, among other classes at Briarcliff, has perpetuated as a replacement for “Sandomenico” both in and out of the classroom. As to the origins of Sandy, Mr. Sandomenico expounds “My name is intimidating, a little long: five syllables, so people shortened it to Sandy.” He adds that given that he taught earth science, “sand” and “Sandy” went together too. Like Mr. Bordonaro, it was also established within his first year teaching. Mr. Sandomenico notes that the nickname can also be useful, as students can sense his mood and determine when the time is to revert to his full name.

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