Thursday, April 6, 2017


Michael "Mikey Bee" Berezny
When Maplewood Middle School math teacher Michael Berezny asked students to stay after school to help with a creative project, it wasn't the usual math game or club activity.

They broke loose with some serious moves.

Berezny, who joined MMS just this school year and teaches several seventh grade honors math classes, is also something of a side hip-hop fan and rapper. (He goes by the name Mikey Bee). 

He penned a song titled G.O.A.T., or Greatest Of All Teachers, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to his profession and a message of hope and motivation for students who may think they can't achieve things.

When it came time to shoot the video, he asked some of his students to take part last Friday after classes were over and shot it right in the hall and his classroom at MMS. Each student received parental permission, while Berezny also okayed it with the school.

See the finished product below:

"I hope I can reach out to those kids through my music. Lift their spirits a little bit," Berezny told "I like writing lyrics, but I can't really sing and I can't really play any instruments."  

But it's more than just fun and music at stake here. The video was entered in an online rap contest at One Take, sponsored in part by rapper Futuristic. First prize is $2,500 and the chance to work with him on another video. The competition ends Friday.

But Berezny, a New Jersey native who grew up in and still lives in Peapack, said he would pass on the prize money if Futuristic would come to MMS, visit his students and offer advice on creativity and following their dreams.

"The kids are awesome, they really want to learn," he said about his classes "I love being at MMS, I feel like the town itself is very close. I had a good feeling when I walked in here. I felt comfortable."  

A graduate of Kean University, Berezny previously taught at schools in East Orange and South Plainfield before landing in our town.  

He said he has loved music since high school, but "I never took it seriously, kind of just for fun. I think now I am taking it more serious because I see potential where I can maybe make music that had an influence for kids.

"I'm working on songs that would be more deep and passionate. I got a lot of stuff planned, a path to help kids get into learning and help to believe in themselves. I want to be the best teacher I can be, I am always trying to grow and improve."

See more of his videos HERE.

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