Mr. Larry Kupferman Joins Faculty

Last year, SHP experienced a faculty “exodus” as many long-serving teachers bid a well-earned, if not bittersweet, farewell to their career at the Prep. Nowhere was this retirement surge felt more greatly than in the Theology Department. As one era of educators left the basement nook printed with “00” over its doors, another quietly settled into this subterranean confine. I interviewed one such new teacher, Mr. Larry Kupferman, who, while not a fresh face to the classroom, is imparted by a past of sundry experiences.
In fact, Mr. K did not always call New Jersey home–for the majority of his life, he resided and worked in Nassau County on Long Island. The man’s first (and still most passionate) calling, it seemed, lay in music. Out of high school, Mr. Kupferman strummed on as a guitarist, initially fronting a band but eventually moving on to conduct studio work and private lessons. Tested by the artistic struggle, he decided to leave the world of independent gigs and return to school as a student. Mr. Kupferman would go on to Molloy College and earn a slurry of degrees, including an associate’s in music, a double bachelor’s in music and theology, and the seminal Master of Divinity. One concentration that Mr. K used to meld these disciplines was a study of “music therapy,” a field that utilizes the aesthetic components of sound to augment its clients’ physical and emotional well-being. As a bonafide therapist subsequent to Molloy, he aided developmentally-delayed adults through holistic auditory methods.
Years dragged on, however, and Mr. Kupeferman soon faced a repetitive future writing grant appeals for the same agency. Stifled by this paperwork-rich environment, he turned to wife Debra who suggested the option of teaching, especially given her husband’s involvement in church education ministries. This blind motivation convinced Mr. K to enter the classroom full-time, first at a military academy and then at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset. For the next fifteen plus years, the man would teach theology, coach the school’s track and cross-country teams, and direct a number of plays there. He might have stayed even longer had it not been for a series of administrative changes that strained the relations of the job. Thus speaking, Mr. Kupferman made a leap from a state he had always known to the unventured recesses of New Jersey–Northfield Avenue, no less.
Though he did harbor some reservations about going single-sex, Mr. K finds the structure of our schedule as well as guidelines for giving tests reassuringly similar to those of a coed institution. In terms of personal affairs, he prefers to rent in Weehawken due to the town’s pivotal location near the freeway as well between West Orange and New York. As Kupferman veers down an untrafficked I-280 at 6 am, the fluid morning commute seems to offer some sense of permanent stability. In truth, the most protean facet of his career has been the personal theology governing it. To this vein, the man recalls sojourning the funeral of one of his former students, then a rising cadet in the Air Force. At the somber burial, he noticed that the boy’s fellow classmates–all members of the same eucharistic organization the former was a part of–had shown up in unison. An abiding sense of grace struck Mr. Kupferman. In our conversation, he admitted that God’s love does not always reveal itself in transcendentally grand or spectacular fashion. Sometimes, it requires the silence of observation to recognize the works of a higher power. Contemplating his own future here at the Prep, Mr. Kupferman hopes to fully acquaint himself with the visible parts of campus spirituality, particularly in regard to masses and Kairos retreats. If he is still teaching here in five years, he will certainly know what it means to be a Setonian.