In Honor of Al Ruffini


By Stephanie Tulpan, Staff Writer

Former science teacher, Al Ruffini, was an educator in Wayne for 42 years, and spent 39 of those years working with Wayne Hills students and staff. He was a member of the Science Department, and specialized in teaching multiple types of science–physics, chemistry, earth science, and many more– and he especially loved biology. Upon his retirement in 2005, he continued contributing to Hills for many years, and even substituted long-term for a chemistry class; he never turned down an opportunity to help the community.

Mr. Ruffini was loved by the Wayne community. According to his former partner and teacher here at Wayne Hills, Dr. DeFina, “He had a unique quality and personality to guide and direct students from all levels and needs; to appreciate, grow, and absorb the wonders of science and life. He had, really, that magic touch.” Wayne Hills admired Mr. Ruffini’s dedication and passion; he not only educated his students about science, but he made them engaged, curious, and inspired them to explore the science world. In addition to being a science teacher, Mr. Ruffini was also involved in extracurriculars such as Ecology Club, Outdoor Club, Future Teachers, and his biggest service contribution, the Leo Club, in which he continued to serve and connect with students.

When Mr. Ruffini passed away in December 2020, Dr. Defina said that it has “created a void that will not be filled for quite some time–if ever.” His passing was devastating for the Wayne community as he was a teacher, colleague, and friend to many. His dedication about science and service was commendable, so the Science Department thought it would be appropriate to plant an American Holly tree outside of Wayne Hills’ main office to commemorate Mr. Ruffini’s good deeds.

Not only is the Holly tree dedicated to Mr. Ruffini, but the upstairs south science wing between rooms 228 and 235 is now remembered as the Al Ruffini Memorial Science Wing. In this hallway, four placards hang in honor of Mr. Ruffini, all crafted and designed by Gabby P., Rob Y., and Pam S.

Mr. Ruffini will be missed, though never forgotten. Wayne Hills students and staff: before you walk into the building, acknowledge the Holly tree; and while you are walking to science class in the Al Ruffini Memorial Science Wing, remember Mr. Ruffini’s dedicated years of science education and community service. Mr. Ruffini will forever be remembered as a passionate educator and kind soul who has inspired students and staff to reach beyond the ordinary boundaries of science and life.