|27 Apr 2023|
|Written by Jennifer Law|
It is with deep sadness we share with the Stortfordian community the passing of recently retired Prep School Maths Teacher, Japyea Opperman. Joining the College in 2013, Jaypea quickly became a favourite teacher amongst pupils in his Form, his Maths Set and in his Rugby team. Sharing his passion for mathematics, sport and life in general in his own unique style he was also a cherished colleague amongst his Prep School & College colleagues.
Head of the Prep School, Bill Toleman,
'I am sharing with you the very sad news that JayPea Opperman, passed away over the Easter holiday after a short illness.
If you were taught by JayPea in the classroom, on the sports pitches, or had him as a Form Tutor, you will remember him as being relentlessly positive, child centred and an enthusiast for life and all it offers.
He was a fine teacher, always determined to support those who found his subject difficult, and an outstanding rugby coach at the College and for Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club.'
Messages received from Old Stortfordians echo Mr Toleman’s sentiments. Messages that are full of memories of a happy classroom full of Jaypea’s legendary cactuses and hundreds of precisely positioned GoGo figures and with gratitude for the care he took to ensure their maths progressed and they flourished in the subject, even if they found it challenging.
On the rugby pitch Jaypea brought out the best in his team. As a hugely experienced coach he taught skills and tactics, cultivating talents that the boys were only just starting to realise but never at the cost of sportsmanship. He taught his teams to be excellent players & exemplary representatives of the College but also he taught each individual player how to be an excellent team member. Building camaraderie and respect across the team and building the knowledge that a team is only successful as a collective of all its sum parts. Distilling in his teams a sporting ethos that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Upon his retirement in 2021, Dave Herd wrote a wonderful dedication to Jaypea within The Young Stortfordian, excerpts from the article include;
‘What a journey it has been from owning his own business, teaching MBA students, teaching in the state sector and last but not least teaching in BSC Prep School these last years.
I would like to share some iconic quotes and moments that JayPea has shared with us through his time in the Prep School. I hope that you all recognise some of them.
“It is not the winning that matters it is the taking part...as long as we are winning”.
JayPea also claimed to have the longest unbeaten record of rugby games won in the Prep School history. We are still carefully examining the results.
Political correctness has never been one of JayPea’s strong suits but passions, fairness, and community to name but a few have been known to feature now and again.
The pupils have always enjoyed JayPea’s Maths classes as they know where they stand. He has a unique ability to get his pupils to where they need to be with the minimum of fuss. Outside the Maths class he has inspired our academic scholars by pushing them outside of their comfort zone in a variety of projects and extension tasks.
Above all, he has the ability to instil belief were previously there was none.’
Jaypea will be so sorely missed by all those that had the great honour to know him, be taught or be coached by him. He was a one of a kind whose legacy will live on in all those whose lives he so positively influenced.
Our sincerest condolences are expressed to Jaypea’s Wife and Son, may they seek comfort from the knowledge that Jaypea was held in such high regard and that the academic, sporting and life lessons he taught will live on within the Stortfordian Community.
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