Before Your Favorite Teacher Dies

Marty Kaplan's picture

On City Cisco Island, Aunt Suzy saw funny men.

That sentence is a mnemonic that Mr. Jaeger taught us. The first letter of each word stands for a molecule in the Krebs citric acid cycle, the pathway that converts food to energy. The O in “On” stands for Oxaloacetate; the C in “City” is Citrate; the next C is cis-Aconitate — all the way to “men” and Malate, which circles back to Oxaloacetate.

Why do we need to know? Mr. Jaeger taught us that, too. Actually, he taught it twice. Once was in class, Advanced Biology, where I was one of a couple dozen Union (N.J.) High School seniors. The second time was before dawn. It was cold and dark out, but we made it to school, Mr. Jaeger drove in from Staten Island, where he lived, and for an hour before homeroom, every morning from winter to spring, he did everything humanly possible to prep us for the Advanced Placement test in biology.\

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