David Goldberg, social studies teacher at Calhoun High School, knighted by Parte Guelfa


Extraordinary teachers can change a student’s life, and at Sanford H. Calhoun High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, David Goldberg is doing just that. The Parte Guelfa in Florence, Italy knighted the social studies teacher earlier this year for his commitment to humanitarianism.

The Parte Guelfa, a knighthood and brotherhood dedicated to world preservation, was established in 1266 by the Knights of Florence, which received official approval by order of French Pope Clement IV, who was the main European authority in the Middle Ages that confirmed the privileges of kingdoms and institutions. Today, it is regarded as a community of highly distinguished and accomplished people active in the building of a better world.

For more than seven centuries, knights and dames in the Parte Guelfa were traditionally Italian, and normally Roman Catholics. The Parte Guelfa is now a universal institution, represented by nearly 50 nationalities and various religious beliefs.

At Calhoun, Goldberg teaches Voices of the Past, a class offered to 10th through 12th graders. The class is a joint venture between the English and social studies departments, focusing on the Holocaust, genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, and looking at case studies of international human rights violations, such as those being committed in North Korea.

The interdisciplinary, yearlong elective course encourages students to use literature, first-person narratives and historical accounts to understand the causes of genocide, the rise of hate crimes and ways to prevent them in the future.

During a meeting of the Nassau County Legislature last month, Seth Koslow, a legislator representing parts of Bellmore and Merrick, recognized Goldberg for his accomplishment. The county honored Goldberg for “his commitment to environmentalism, peace and public education,” within the Bellmore-Merrick school community.

“Mr. Goldberg — or I guess I should call you Sir Goldberg — was recently knighted by the Parte Guelfa, a foreign order dating back to 1266,” Koslow said at the meeting. “Sir Goldberg has lived a life of humanitarianism, advocating for environmental preservation and for peace. He’s enriched the minds and souls of his students, bringing his passion for peace to the classroom.”

The ceremony in which Goldberg was knighted included marching through the streets of Florence, to the Basilica di Santa Croce, where artists Michelangelo and Dante are buried.

“Honoring the tradition from the 13th century,” Goldberg said, “new knights like me and Ladies of the Order of Parte Guelfa received knighthood in much the same way as they have for nearly 800 years.”

Koslow spoke highly of the class Goldberg teaches, and what its curriculum instills in students.

“In Voices of the Past, he taught students about human rights abuses, from the Rwandan genocide to the Holocaust,” Koslow said. “As a knight of the Parte Guelfa, he must further his longstanding commitment to humanitarianism.

“I’m humbled to give Mr. Goldberg this recognition,” Koslow added, “one with less grandeur than his investiture, but a recognition that I hope inspires the people of Nassau County to lead a life worthy of knighthood.”

Goldberg thanked Koslow and the County Legislature, and said he was “deeply honored” for the tremendous recognition.

“The Parte Guelfa, which knighted me in Europe with 26 other extraordinary people, are committed to sustainable development and to making a difference in the lives of others, so we leave this world a better place for those that come behind us,” Goldberg said. “It is a charge that I give to my students everyday right here in Nassau County, and it is a charge that I have to honor all of my colleagues with in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, who also challenge their students to that cause.”

Goldberg was inducted into the Parte Guelfa with others who have the same mission — including Father Bernardo Gianni, a spiritual advisor to the pope.

“It is a charge to keep empowering my students to reach new heights, and to make a difference for future generations,” Goldberg said. “It is my hope to do just that.”