Remembering Peter Pura

Peter Pura, July 10, 1932 – May 8, 2014
Gordon Bell Math & Computer Science

by Dennis Bayomi, GB’77

High school math teachers face the dual challenge of not only trying to teach young people at a time when they’re most resistant to learning but also teaching a subject that many students fear and avoid at all costs. Mr. Pura was one of those rare teachers who knew how to make math “accessible” and relevant, realizing that each student was unique and had unique needs and perspectives.

For the math-timid, Mr. Pura had the patience of Job, sitting down with a student and going through the step-by-step derivation of a proof, or simplifying the complexity of an algebraic expansion. For the geeks in the class like myself, Mr. Pura was an incredible coach and mentor, encouraging us to go further and challenge us on the yet more difficult problem.

Mr. Pura was a “late bloomer” to teaching, telling us of his previous careers at Canada Post and CPR and becoming a teacher by completing his high school in the evenings and later enrolling full time at the University of Manitoba. He started at Gordon Bell in 1970 and enjoyed a 27 year career, being part of the embryonic days of Computer Science, as the field moved from mainframes to micros!

In 2015 in memory of Mr. Pura, GB alumni established the Peter Pura Memorial Prize in Math & Computer Science, awarded annually to a graduating GB student intending to further her/his studies in math, computer science or another area of science. For more information, visit http://gb100.ca/donations-to-gb/

Memories from Students:

Dennis Bayomi GB’77 — I’ll never forget Mr. Pura taking a couple of us to the UM after classes for a walk-around of the campus, including a tour of the mainframe computer room up in the old Engineering building. And a stop on the way back at Pony Corral for dessert.  I’d made the decision in Grade 10 that Comp Sci was where I was heading but this tour just cemented it! I’m glad over the years I had a chance to return to GB and visit Mr. Pura on a few occasions, and thanking him for being my favorite teacher!