Mr. Beidas doesn’t teach as many classes as he taught in the past, but he still has a great impact on students. After 18 years as a teacher at Proviso East High School, he now serves as chairman of the science department. Still, as you sit in his office, you will see students tapping on his door one by one. They come to see him—to get help with their science coursework, for encouragement, or just to be in his presence.
“He really helps me out, and he is very encouraging,” said Proviso East sophomore DeAndre Bady. DeAndre comes to see Mr. Beidas on his lunch period each day. “Even when you think you can’t do something, he helps you know that you can.”
Though DeAndre is not one of Mr. Beidas’ students, he is a regular presence in the department chair’s tutoring sessions. That is no wonder. If you sit in the physics teacher’s classroom, you see hands raised, students engaged, and minds opening to the world of physics and beyond. Students say Mr. Beidas is one of the best. His enthusiasm is contagious, and though the smart boards of his classes are filled with strange lines and big numbers, students follow every step.
“He is a great teacher,” said Brenda Rodriguez, a Proviso East High School senior and physics student. “He explains things perfectly. It helps us to understand because he is very visual. We can actually see what we are learning and relate it to the outer world. As a student, you can just tell that he is really excited to teach us. That makes us excited to learn.”
Her fellow classmate, Isiah Dunn, agreed.
“Mr. Beidas is good because he is very outgoing,” he said. “He keeps us motivated. He keeps our class interesting, and he always makes sure that we understand the material. He helps us to get better with things. He even offers us extra tutoring if we need it. He is just very inspirational to us.”
Needless to say, Mr. Beidas is a staple in the lives of his high school students. With over two decades of service as a teacher, he has contributed a great deal to Proviso. After 18 years, he has only missed about three days of work, and he has the perfect attendance certificates to prove it.
He has created many award-winning student clubs over the years including EnergyNet, a club where students work together on their lunch periods to develop ideas on how to make the school system more energy efficient. The students work with engineers, build models, and find real-world solutions to common problems. Then, there is the summer class he created for incoming freshmen to find fun ways to learn physics such as travelling to the city of Chicago to actually measure the height of the Willis Tower.
He also created partnerships with higher education institutions such as Lewis University where students study in university labs and earn college credit.
Mr. Beidas is also responsible for much more. He helped the school develop its first AP programs; he created the school’s aviation, physics, and meteorology programs; and he started Proviso East’s first chess club in 1996. He also created the Percy Julian Symposium to help students develop in research and presentation.
“I think it’s just in me,” said Beidas. “I have fun teaching. It’s a mission. It’s not just a hobby. I can’t think of anything better in life to do than to be a teacher. You help kids have a future. You help them to dream and then realize their dreams.”
The list of Mr. Beidas’ contributions could go on, and he certainly hopes that it will. He says that for him, it is all about the thrill of seeing his students succeed.
“The biggest thrill you can get is to see a student succeed,” he said. Through them, we succeed over and over again.”
Thank you, Mr. Beidas! You are a vital part of Proviso Rising!